26 March 2013
Recently, the building of a new Burger King, on Clark and Howard, in Chicago's Rogers Park neighbourhood, was given the green light by an alderman. In this particular area anchored by a Dominick's and the Howard Red Line, the addition of a fast food business is a bad idea because of the impact it will have on the health of its residents. Hypertension, obesity, and diabetes will only add to the hardships many in the neighbourhood already face.
Jobs are crucial to the economic health of Chicago neighbourhoods, and the presence of new businesses can revive communities hit hard by the recession and crime. Am I being picky? Perhaps. But, I wonder if an eatery offering healthier, as well as affordable, options might be offered for Rogers Park's residents. It would offer employment opportunities, without having a negative effect on its customers' physical health. Also, a new business does little good when potential customers are afraid to venture out onto the street, out of concern for themselves and their families. Yes. Rogers Park needs jobs; but it also needs safe neighbourhoods, affordable housing, and quality schools for its youngest residents.
Perhaps I am not qualified to comment on this issue, but I can not help but wonder whether better alternatives - besides Burger King - are possible. Is this the best that our city and business leaders can do for Chicago's poor? Again, I wonder.