The Andersonville Development Corporation is in the process of being renamed the Andersonville Sustainable Community Alliance, according to Brian Bonanno, the sustainability programs manager for the ADC.
The overall mission of the ADC is to promote sustainable, long-term economic development in the Andersonville neighborhood. Originally, the ADC was founded around supporting minority- and women-owned businesses and affordable real estate and housing, but the neighborhood has changed since then. It is no longer a low-to-moderate income neighborhood, he said.
“We are trying to make sure that the neighborhood still develops in a sustainable way,” Bonanno said. “This means to be inclusive of all people, socially and economically.”
eco-Andersonville, an initiative of the ADC, developed out of that concept. Its goal is to promote social, environmental and economic sustainability. Some concrete examples of eco-Andersonville’s successes include a streetscape-recycling program, the only one of its kind in Chicago, Bonanno said. “We have 15 bins along Clark Street, and we collect, on a weekly basis, paper, plastic, glass and aluminum,” he said.
The blue and grey bins are stationed on both sides of the street around intersections and trashcans from Winona on the south side of the neighborhood all the way to Olive Avenue.
Other projects include trash collection, street sweeping, planter boxes, and sidewalk washing every spring. These efforts seek to help maintain the commercial corridor, Bonanno said. Additionally, empty on-street parking spaces are converted into mini-parks, or parklets, that contain benches to enhance the community living experience. There is also dedicated space for bicycle parking. Two parklets have been established at the intersections of Clark and Olive and Clark and Farragut.
eco-Andersonville also has a residential composting service that collects food scraps from roughly 115 homes in the neighborhood. A company from the south side of Chicago collects the compost once a week and brings it to farms in Englewood and Bronzeville. “The goal is to try to close that loop and capture the resources that are coming out of the neighborhood and put them back into food for other residents or develop resources for other community programs,” Bonanno said.
“We are really big on that,” he added. “There are people doing interesting things and work all over the city. People often isolate themselves, and they never know there are people down the street they can learn from or help with. You have to reach out to those people.”
All of these improvements are part of the reason why Andersonville was named No. 7 on real estate website Redfin’s annual list of the hottest neighborhoods in the United States for home buyers in 2015.
Victoria Grabner Marty has written for newspapers and magazines for more than 15 years and recently moved to the Lincoln Square, Chicago area. A frequent runner who loves learning and exploring new places, she has perfected the art of getting lost while simultaneously finding unique landmarks, boutiques and out-of-the-way nooks worth writing about. Her blogs are geared toward the newly transplanted who want to learn as much about Chicago as they can, as quickly as possible.