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North Center Senior Campus Receives Award for Livability

By Laura Pearson | Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Ald. Gene Schulter and the development team with their Livable Communities Award. Photo: Laura Pearson.

Yesterday AARP presented an award to the team that developed North Center Senior Campus: Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th), the City of Chicago, Catholic Charities, TACH Development, and the Lakota Group. The Livable Communities Award recognizes projects that improve people?s everyday lives by incorporating convenience, comfort, energy efficiency, and access to community services. North Center Senior Campus was one of four 2009 national winners.

The mid-rise senior housing development, located at the intersection of Western Ave. and Irving Park Rd., was once the location of Martha Washington/Ravenswood Hospital. Advocate Health Care owned the vacant hospital and donated the land to the city for the project. The campus now features two buildings of rental units and a mixed-income condo building, the latter of which Schulter described as an affordable option for seniors ?who want to own their own piece of the rock.?

In accepting the Livable Communities Award, members of the team stressed the uniqueness of the project. ?It?s a model unlike any other in the U.S.,? Schulter said. ?Seniors from different walks of life, different income groups, can come together and share their values and lives.?

Alicia Aviles, Property Manager of the North Center Senior Campus, said that what sets the urban development apart is its design and green spaces. The buildings are surrounded by stately fountains and pillars, walking paths, a green commons area, and a corner park. ?The campus itself is attractive. You don?t get to see these kinds of campuses in the city,? she said.

For residents Ben and Remy Magahis, who?ve lived in Chicago for 40 years and moved into one of the buildings (The Martha Washington) two years ago, a highlight of the residential campus is its emphasis on community. ?We?re like a family here,? Remy said. ?We get together and share food, we exercise. We even formed a dance group.?

Schulter emphasized that seniors should be able to stay in the communities where they?ve lived most of their lives. ?I hope this is a model that will be replicated by other organizations all over the country,? he said.

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