By Arlene Jones
Like most people, I have become overwhelmed by the onslaught of negative news. Day after day, tragedy after tragedy, heinous crime after heinous crime. Together they have combined to fill my mind with negative knowledge that pollutes my conscious mind and permeates my subconscious mind. And just when I think nothing worse could ever happen, it does.
What I, and a lot of other Chicagoans like me, need right now is a distraction. Something to focus on that momentarily takes our mind off the weight of the negativity that is our reality. Previously I had hoped the Chi-gator (the alligator enjoying life in the Humboldt Park lagoon) would be the catalyst to bring the city together for a joyous occasion. Sadly, Mayor Lightfoot and her team didn't know how to milk a positive situation to the max. I would have put that alligator on display, charged people an admission fee, and raised at least a million dollars for the park! The gator who was bringing Chicagoans together to laugh and enjoy a neighborhood park was unfortunately quickly caught. Then the poor fella was not even kept here, but shipped off to Florida. The Lightfoot administration blew a golden opportunity right under their noses!
So what distraction could the mayor and her team come up with to unite this city? I have a suggestion: The 100-year anniversary of the Chicago bungalow is approaching in 2025. I don't know if that is really the actual 100th year. But most bungalows when the realtors list them have 1925 as the year the house was built. So it's time for the city to start focusing and highlighting the housing stock that made and defined this city. It would also be a motivational force to get people that own a bungalow — to show their pride in them.
It has been almost 20 years since I had the roof cut off my bungalow and a second-story addition added. I took a house that was growing too small for my family and made it into a comfortable and roomy environment that should last another 100 years. Yes I know the Chicago Historical Bungalow Association is a major naysayer of what I did. But traveling all over the north side of the city, I am seeing bungalows replaced by ugly modern buildings that don't have any character to them. So whatever we can do to save the bungalow, I'm all for it.
Let's start planning the centennial birthday celebration for the bungalow. With almost every ethnic group in the city living in one, let's showcase that sturdy little square building that at one time defined the city. I'd like to see the city begin an initiative so that by 2025, tour buses will be passing through our neighborhood looking at these houses. And with each tour bus that comes, the potential for the neighborhood to make money off of tourists is limitless — from offering paid admission to see the inside of a bungalow, to offering tourists the opportunity to have dinner in one, cooked by the local residents, the city needs to be proactive in thinking of initiatives to put forward that unite this city and give everyone in it opportunities beyond the downtown corridor.
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