Brightening Our Neighborhoods: Check Out Our Newest Placemaking Project in Uptown

As REALTORS®, we provide people with homes and create strong and vibrant communities. Our placemaking efforts enhance this, by enabling us to work with community stakeholders to help build comprehensive communities for neighbors to live, work and play. Thanks to the National Association of REALTORS® placemaking grants, we’ve worked on a variety of placemaking opportunities around the city. Our newest project, a plaza at the corner of Leland Avenue and Broadway Street, promises to brighten and add vibrancy to Uptown.

On the southeast corner of the intersection, you’ll find what used to be a dark, uninviting corner covered by the Red and Purple L lines. Uptown United, part of the Uptown Chamber of Commerce and the neighborhood’s community economic development organization, saw an opportunity to make this intersection more vibrant and inviting; it’s a popular congregating point, with the Uptown Farmer’s Market and a variety of storefronts and restaurants within the surrounding blocks.

Our funds supported two art pieces. A vibrant double-door mural on the Fine Food Mart, called Tree of Life, was created by local artist Rodney Duran who specializes in murals and canvas and has other work throughout the neighborhood. The ground of the plaza was painted by Joe Miller, another Chicago artist, in an explosive dot design. Both murals are a retro, neon ’80s design as a way, Duran says, to bring people together with color.

We also contributed to expanding the bike infrastructure, including a new bike rack to accompany the paths already in place along the roads, and benches for community members to sit and relax. Uptown United plans to expand this project in the future and believes it will bring increased vitality and property values to Uptown.

We’re excited to continue our placemaking efforts around the city. Have a project in mind? We’d love to hear it! Share your insight and expertise with our Director of Commercial Services Jacob Knabb so we can continue to support our communities.

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