Community & Campus Seeks Vibrant Corridor Along 95th Street

CSU calls for investment that fosters college access, academic excellence, business development, community well-being as envisioned by campus, community leaders

CHICAGO (Oct. 16, 2023) - At an event on Oct. 16, Chicago State University (CSU), in partnership with the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development (DPD), unveiled the 95th Street Corridor Development Framework report aimed to generate long-term investment and create a vibrant university village in the Roseland community. Between the university’s programming, planned transit expansion of the CTA Red Line and 95th Street Metra Stop, and several other projects in the immediate area, the neighborhood is well-positioned for growth.

“As a regional public university, Chicago State University has consistently served as a driving force for graduating and supplying diverse talent for jobs in our region. Our economic development plan focuses on a new vision for 95th Street that prioritizes initiatives that will increase the growing vitality of the south side of the City,” said Zaldwaynaka (“Z”) Scott, Esq., president of CSU.

The initial study and the report focuses on 95th Street from Martin Luther King Drive to Cottage Grove Avenue. The economic development plan calls for investment from public, private, philanthropic, corporate, development and community partners to create a total of 35,000 - 45,000-square-feet of academic and street-level commercial space, and 220 - 240 units of student and family housing. Key needs identified by community and campus stakeholders include widening the pedestrian walkways to facilitate foot traffic, adding commercial space for restaurants, grocery, and retail, and expanding housing. Respondents also wanted the development to support a college town experience, celebrate local identity by highlighting elements of Black culture, and maintain much of the campus’ existing natural greenery.

In late 2020, CSU and DPD entered into a memorandum of understanding to study 95th street and future development of the corridor. The study, funded by the Chicago Community Trust, included community member input and feedback during four engagement sessions that reached more than 200 CSU and community members and 20 community organizations and leaders. Surveys were also distributed on campus and to the community, yielding more than 300 respondents.

At the Re-envisioning 95th Street Event held on Oct. 16 at the Gwendolyn Brooks Library, CSU presented the economic study and examined how the economic development plan would begin reversing decades of disinvestment in the South Side by

featuring special guest speakers:
  • Andrea Zopp, Cleveland Avenue, Managing Partner, CSU Board of Trustees, Chair
  • Karen Freeman-Wilson, Chicago Urban League, President & CEO
  • Michael Fassnacht, World Business Chicago, President & CEO
  • Andrea Saenz, The Chicago Community Trust, President & CEO
  • Rep. Nicholas Smith, Illinois House of Representatives, Dist. 34
  • Ald. William Hall, City of Chicago, Ward 6
  • Sen. Elgie Sims, Illinois Senate, Dist. 17

The university is well positioned to further support economic and real estate development with CSU’s recognition as a community anchor along with its strategic plan, location, and assets of the property. The campus includes 167 acres of land, with open land along 95th street. The campus sits along the 95th Street corridor, a State of Illinois thoroughfare, which is a major connector between Chicago’s South Side neighborhoods, key commercial areas, and the surrounding region. The area is particularly well-connected to public transit including bus routes with services provided by Pace and CTA with planned bus facility improvements, the recently renovated 95th Red Line station, the planned $3.6 billion, 5.6 mile extension to the CTA Red Line, and extensive renovations scheduled for the 95th Street Metra station. Nearby burgeoning employment and development hubs include the Discover Financial Services Call Center in Chatham, the Pullman Neighborhood commercial district, Imani Village, and the Roseland Medical District.


About Chicago State University

CSU, founded in 1867, is the oldest public university in the Chicago Metropolitan area. The University’s four colleges offer over 70 undergraduate and graduate degree-granting and non-degree programs. CSU is committed to equity in education, serving as the only U.S. Department of Education-designated four-year Predominantly Black Institution in Illinois and ranked by a Harvard economist in the top 4% of public and private universities nationwide in supporting our graduates’ economic mobility. The University serves as a prominent civic space on the greater South Side of Chicago by hosting a multitude of athletic, educational, cultural, and recreational activities. The University is located near public transit that provides convenient access to the campus.