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About Secc

The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) was founded in 1952 by the University of Chicago. In its early years, the Commission focused its efforts on reducing crime in the Hyde Park neighborhood around the University. Among other initiatives, the Commission improved street lighting, established a police observer corps, inspected local taverns for legal compliance, targeted specific blocks and buildings for redevelopment, organized block groups, worked to reduce gang violence, and developed partnerships with other agencies, including the Chicago Crime Commission and the South Side Planning Board.

Within a few years, real estate concerns began to dominate the SECC's agenda, and the Commission developed an urban renewal plan designed to simultaneously meet the University's needs for expansion, reduce density in Hyde Park-Kenwood, and raise the quality of life in the communities around the University.

In 1958, the City of Chicago approved the plan and funneled more than $30 million in federal and local urban renewal funds into Hyde Park-South Kenwood-a large percentage of the total urban renewal funds available to the City of Chicago.

As the plan for urban renewal came to fruition, the SECC shifted its focus toward broader questions of development. Over the years, the Commission gradually became an independent voice on development issues in the neighborhood.

In 2008, the SECC expanded its service area to encompass the neighborhoods of Woodlawn, Kenwood, Oakland, and Washington Park in addition to Hyde Park. At the same time, the organization engaged new leadership, including a 20-member board of directors. Today, the SECC pursues a mission of enhancing the quality of life in its neighborhoods through an array of programs and initiatives that promote responsible neighborhood development.

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