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Pullman draws on its past to shape its future

Even though construction on the model Pullman community began in 1879, there’s always room for more. Pullman has plans for the future that have direct philosophical ties to George Pullman’s creative lines of thought. He meant “his” town to be a showplace to be toured and enjoyed while serving as a beacon for the future.

Today, Pullman is indeed a showplace that many people are interested in seeing, while it continues to create a progressive, inspiring and inviting community that’s rooted in its past while reaching for the stars.

The two projects that will have the most direct effect on the Pullman community are the National Park Service work on the administration building, generally known as the “clock tower,” and the Pullman Artspace Lofts. These two projects both began construction as we casually rolled into the winter season and have both been active construction sites throughout the past winter months.

Scaffolding has been up at both sites and it looks like we’ll be seeing the scaffolding around the clock tower for a number of months. Including the outside work on the roof, the clock tower is getting new windows. Hopefully, in my April column, I’ll be able to post a few interior photos of the ongoing construction. The construction activity at the Pullman Artspace Lofts is taking place behind a cyclone fence with a barrier screen. I did manage to sneak in to take some photos before having to leave the premises.

The National Parks Monument is having extensive work done to the interior from the ground up. As many of you may recall from your visits and tours, the ground floor of the building was actually stones and pebbles. The floors throughout are being completely rebuilt and the rooms are being redone into exhibition, classroom and display spaces.

According to the Pullman National Monument, National Park Service LiveWire Construction’s current six-month contract has begun with the replacing of the roof and windows on the historic Administration Clock Tower Building.

There will be four construction phases to this project. Following this initial phase, there will be site development to create a public park and other enhancements, concluding with building a visitor center and exhibits inside the facility. The project team is targeting to have all phases complete by the summer of 2020.

This project will give visitors a place to learn about industrial innovation and urban planning that started in the 1880s. Visitors will be able to explore labor relations, with an emphasis on both the 1894 Pullman strike and the first African-American labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

Pullman Artspace Lofts’ 38-unit living/working space site has been behind a construction barrier for the safety of the community and workers. Two layers of lead paint have been removed from the historic brick through the use of environmentally safe processes. Concrete foundations have been poured and scaffolding has been put up in advance of the bricklaying. The unseasonably warm winter weather that we were having created the opportunity for continuing progress on this important addition to Pullman’s future.

Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives’ David Doig was quoted in an article by New City Design’s Aaron Rose; “Pullman Artspace will create the historic district’s first new residential housing in decades, and one of the first private projects in Pullman National Monument. We know that art-making and arts programming generate economic and cultural vitality for a community. We also look forward to the synergy between working artists and visitors to the park—the kinds of activities the National Park Service seeks in a community partner.”

St. Anthony of Padua parishioners are awaiting the selection by the Chicago Archdiocese of a replacement for Rev. Fr. Mark Krylowicz. Fr. Mark is scheduled to complete his assignment to St. Anthony’s this June. Back on Nov. 29., a number of meetings were held seeking input from parish committees, parish organizations and parishioners. The basic process for the selection begins with these meetings, followed by what is essentially a job fair-style presentation by parishes to pastors that might be interested. Those pastors are then reviewed for suitability by the archdiocese and narrowed down to a few. Those few are then thoroughly vetted and an offer is made to the candidates most suited to the job description.

The archdiocese is expected to name the new pastor some time in April. The time between the naming of the new pastor and Fr. Mark’s leaving will ensure a solid and meaningful transition. St. Anthony’s, with its charter school and its many organizations, looks forward to a positive transition and ongoing positive relationship.

Fr. Mark’s 12 years at St. Anthony’s have been a remarkable period of re-growth for the entire parish: parish committees, organizations, catechism classes, receiving of the sacraments, and the feeling of belonging are direct results of Fr. Mark’s efforts to create a “family” of spiritual worshippers. Any information on Fr. Mark’s next assignment will be shared as it becomes available.

“Becoming” by Michelle Obama is a best seller and, in my opinion, a must-read of positivity and hope. It is also a must read for the fact that Mrs. Obama mentions Roseland at least twice and, without directly naming it, Holy Rosary Irish church. When Barack Obama first met Michelle, he was a community organizer and asked her to accompany him to a meeting on the Far South Side — in a church. She did join him and was gratified by the fact that the attendees were no-nonsense women from the community who Barack won over. The earnest hope those residents of the community displayed had a profound effect on Michelle. Read the book — either buy it or get on your library’s waiting list — and have an enjoyable, moving read that mentions Roseland.

Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com; or visit Roseland Roundtable on Facebook.

About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.