Seven Beautification Projects Announced for Neighborhood Enhancement

Seven Beautification Projects Announced for Neighborhood Enhancement

CHICAGO (June 6, 2022) – The South East Chicago Commission (SECC) is pleased to announce seven 2022 Neighborhood Enhancement Awards. The Neighborhood Enhancement Grant program is an initiative administered by the SECC and sponsored by the Elizabeth Louise Smith Fund, Small Business Advocacy Council’s (SBAC) Neighborhood Revitalization Coalition and individual donations. 

The SECC awards micro-grants to neighborhood organizations to support beautification projects that enhance the quality of life, work together as community partners and enhance the physical attractiveness of the Hyde Park, Kenwood, Oakland, Washington Park and Woodlawn communities. Since 1999, the SECC has collectively granted more than $1,000,000 in beautification funds. 

“This is a great opportunity for all of us to work together as community partners to improve the aesthetics of our neighborhoods, strengthen civic pride, and enhance the quality of our urban living.”

Diane Burnham, Executive Director of the SECC

The grant selection committee, comprised of community members from the five footprint neighborhoods, selected the following community groups for the strength of their proposals and the breadth of potential impact: 

  • 2016 Ma’at will enhance the 53rd and Calumet site with the addition of several flower beds, a sitting area with tables and, enhancing its esthetics, adding split rail fencing to frame the garden. (Washington Park)
  • Friends of Ray PTO will be creating a natural play-space in the rundown and unused part of Ray school’s lot, located at 56th and Kimbark, using reclaimed wood and other natural materials to encourage open ended play, exploration, and physical development. (Hyde Park) 
  • Hyde Park Union Church, located on 56th and Woodlawn,will improve the visual impact of the lot, redesign foundation plantings, introduce more native and pollinator-friendly species, and replace infrastructure to create a more inviting façade for the entrance to our historic church, which is designated as contributing to the Hyde Park-Kenwood Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places (Hyde Park) 
  • Jessie “Ma” Houston Park Advisory Council plans to install 4 permanent chess tables to nurture a nascent interest in chess and diversify the activities at the park, located on 50th and Cottage Grove.​ 
  • Oakland Cultural Alliance will be building new concrete sculpture pads and installing the donated University of Chicago stone pavers utilizing community labor at the 41st and Lake Park location. (Oakland) 
  • William Hill Center for the Art will be creating unique pathways to view a collection of plant species utilizing wheelchair accessible pathways; along with making improvements for a sustainable butterfly garden on 63rd and Stony Island.​ (Woodlawn) 
  • YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, located on 66th and Cottage, will add a sensory garden to the site that will act as a source of calm, promote bodily awareness, support cognitive development, and improve communication and language skills.(Washington Park/ Kenwood) 

Please contact the South East Chicago Commission via email at to learn more about the 2022 Neighborhood Enhancement Grant awardees and their projects.