Gentrification and it’s Effects in Pilsen:
By Edgar Flores
Charles Roberts, 40, has lived in Pilsen for 10 years and is now manager of a vintage store in the neighborhood.
Franchises such as Dunkin Donuts, Subway, and Giordano’s have come into the neighborhood, along with University of Illinois in Chicago, they have left many looking for a new place to call home.
“I moved here from Boston 10 years ago, it was the only neighborhood I could afford at the time… now it’s not affordable,” Roberts said.
Roberts is one of many Pilsen residents being forced to move out because of gentrification.
Other residents like Ty Kolup, 53, owner of a car wash and a garage liked the idea of gentrification.
“It is good. When gangs were here, every Wednesday we had to go to funerals…. People that are saying Pilsen is not for sale are the rentals, they don’t own property,” Kolup said.
Aurelio Barrios, 69, resident and owner of a small building shared a similar experience.
“When I came here there was a killing about every weekend… Pilsen is changing and it’s gonna keep changing nothing is going to stop.” Barrios said.
Many residents believed that the gentrification was killing the culture.
Roberts believed that if anything, it was helping the culture.
“A lot of it is done for the sake of the tourists, when I moved here there were no sugar skulls in the bakery now they’re all over the place.” He said. (Sugar skulls being a part of the Mexican day of the dead celebrations).
Roberts along with others are going to try to stay in Pilsen as long as possible with the quickly rising prices.
“I’ll stay here as long as I can, because I really like this neighborhood a lot I’m really trying to stay here,” Roberts said. “There are always going to be places that are affordable it’s just getting harder to find them.”
Videos Throughout the Week:
People of China Town
HS Digital Newscast 2016: Edgar, Rachel, and Erin
People of Pilsen
WLUW 88.7 Radio Segment
(Masian Ramblers ft. Edgar Flores and Daniel Xhang)