New Target opens at old Cabrini Green site, creates 200 jobs - FOX 10 News | fox10phoenix.com

New Target opens at old Cabrini Green site, creates 200 jobs

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There was a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Tuesday night to celebrate the opening of a new big box store near downtown Chicago. While many new retail outlets are popping up, this one is in a neighborhood notorious for 80 years for violence and murder.

What became the Chicago Housing Authority's Cabrini-Green development was, in the 1920s, filled with impoverished Italian immigrants; the site of so many murders that one intersection was "dubbed Death Corner." In the 1960s, African-Americans took over. The killing continued. Now, at Division and Racine, that's all in the past.

As he toured the new big box store that is opening on the former site of Cabrini-Green, 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett said he felt a flood of memories of growing up in that huge public housing development -- some good, but many memories were not.

"It makes me want to cry," Burnett says. "Because they were shooting outside, my mom threw us in the tub. ‘Get down! Get Down!'"

Where hundreds were shot over the past century, Burnett joined other dignitaries at a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Outside the new retail outlet, commuters on bicycles glided by a firehouse that still bears bullet holes from the bad old days. The new store will employ about 200, and has so far hired 65 former residents of Cabrini-Green.

New apartments and town homes -- integrated racially and economically -- are gradually replacing the more than 3,000 crime-ridden public housing units that were torn down. Those who remember the old community marvel at what's emerging.

Still, a CHA spokeswoman told FOX 32 the agency has built only 434 of the 1,200 replacement units it promised. And there is no timetable for completing the rest. Former resident Valencia Williams was hired as a cashier at the new store, but now lives 11 miles away at 67th and Eberhardt, because she can't afford anything closer.

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