Mccutcheon school gym
How can Uptown neighbors work together to find
equitable solutions for local challenges?
In July 2018, city officials announced that McCutcheon Elementary School in Uptown would receive a multi-million dollar investment to fund the construction of a new school gymnasium.
School leaders celebrated this move, as McCutcheon is one of only five elementary schools in Chicago without an on-site gym. Further, the investment for construction came with a $10 million grant for a Community Learning Center, with 5 years worth of financial support for before-school, after school, and weekend programs making the school a designated Community Hub under Chicago Public Schools' Community Schools Initiative.
However, local residents expressed concerns about the gym's impact, citing fiscal issues, public safety risk, and danger to the historic designation of nearby homes on Castlewood Terrace and the impact this may have on property values. As a result, the local homeowner's association filed suit in 2019 to block the construction of the gym.
CUE was invited by the local alderman's office to conduct a Racial Equity Impact Assessment to evaluate the potential impacts of this proposal. After meeting with local groups and community based organizations, we began planning a Racial Equity Impact Assessment process to engage community residents in resolving this issue while promoting a more just and equitable solution.
Vanessa Lee, Rebecca Levin, Sara Shaw, 2018 CUE Fellows