Join LVEJO Today!

Add to Google Reader or Homepage

Open Spaces

We are headquartered in the predominantly Mexican-American neighborhood of Little Village, Chicago. Little Village Land Organization works for a real voice in building democracy, including if, how, when and where any development of our communities takes place, as the basis for environmental, economic and social justice. Our environment is where we live, work, study, pray and play.

We work with, not against our Mother Earth and Nature to once again make our air healthy to breath, our water safe to drink, and to free our earth from poisons to grow healthy foods. As the dangerous, highly toxic remnants of the old Honeywell - Celotex facility are being abated and the city has finally agreed to provide a Green Space for the lacking community. Can you guess where they wish our children to play, our families to have picnics, or the community to gather and appreciate our Mother Earth ? On top of the Celotex remains which were only minimally abated to facilitate development and marginalize the damage done by Honeywell.

After 15 years of advocating for a new park in Little Village Park 553 is on its way. Last night the Chicago Park District introduced two concept ideas for Park 553. The Park will be built on a 23 acre former Superfund Site located between 27th and 31st between Albany and Sacramento. The Chicago Park District has brought on Smith Group JJR to design the park based on the community design and specifications of the Park District. Comments will be collected through the winter from community members to understand which design elements are best suited for the park. We invite you to submit your comments on what you like, what you would change or combine from both designs. Please submit your ideas to or drop them of at LVEJO’s Office 2856 S. Millard Ave.

Thank you to all the community members who came out to share their thoughts and gave there suggestions!

In the Fall LVEJO will be hosting a Skate Park Workshop with the Park District to begin the design process and the next Park Design Workshop will be in the Winter of 2012! For more info contact Carlos Terrazo or Fermin Meza at (773) 762-6991

Park-poor community’s first new green spaces in 80 years advances local solutions to open public spaces, obesity, climate change

One will host soccer fields and walking trails. The other will host organic beans and tomatoes. Both are former contaminated sites that comprise the first new green spaces in more than 80 years in a community that ranks second-worst in Chicago in available open space. And both are poised to be catalysts for local anti-obesity and climate change mitigation efforts.In the next phase of Little Village’s decade-long effort to transform these brownfields to greenfields, the nonprofit Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) unveiled plans today for the two adjacent sites, which total more than 24 acres. Featured guests at the event were 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, representatives of the City of Chicago Department of Housing and Economic Development, Angelic Organics Learning Center, LVEJO and local residents.

Community’s first large-scale community garden

Designed for gardening, learning, and gathering, the half-acre parcel at 2727 S. Troy will be a place residents can celebrate their gardening heritage. A central plaza, children’s garden, and gardening prep area, will complement raised planting beds where gardeners can grow vegetables. Plaza amenities will include a cooking oven, pergolas for shade, benches, and places for growing pumpkins or other vines. A community plaza will be a place for gardeners to showcase their produce. Special educational signage will interpret the garden.

The completed concept plan was commissioned by the City of Chicago as part of its effort to facilitate urban agriculture on city-owned sites. The plan was created by Chicago-based WRD Environmental with significant input by Little Village residents. Initially acquired by the city through a tax sale, the property has since been remediated. The city will convey the site to NeighborSpace, a nonprofit land trust that helps community groups protect and secure community gardens and parks. With the drawings in hand, LVEJO can begin fundraising to build Little Village’s first large-scale community garden.

New 24-acre park

Next to the garden at 2800 S. Sacramento is the 24-acre former Celotex Superfund site. In the culmination of a decade-long effort by LVEJO to remediate the site and turn it into much-needed green space, the City of Chicago acquired the property last month with intent to develop it with the Chicago Park District.

LVEJO and local residents have gotten a head start on the planning. Over the past three years, the organization has held several meetings with residents to enlist their input on the park’s layout and amenities. With the help of The School of the Art Institute, it has documented their vision in a preliminary concept plan, which will be a starting point when residents begin working with the Chicago Park District landscape architect.

Technology will play a significant role in the next phase of the park’s planning. MiParque, a new award-winning bilingual participatory web and Smartphone application developed specifically for this site, will help residents share their ideas for the park.

Fighting obesity and climate change

Both the park and community garden will play a central role in LVEJO’s local initiatives to curb obesity and climate change. By being able to grow and sell their own organic produce, Little Village residents will have access to no- and low-cost to healthy food choices. They will also reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions resulting from shipping produce cross country, an average distance of 1,300 miles. The park will offer opportunities for active recreation, while being a local model of recycling rainwater, reducing storm-water runoff, providing wildlife habitat and other critical conservation measures.