I have always wondered what makes Dennis Rodkin tick? Ever since I first met him on his Ravenswood stoop back in the early nineties (eighties?), I've wondered! I mean, what a cushy job! Is he wined and dined by the other neighborhood realtors? Woo'd and Coo'ed by socialites in need of a little satisfaction on the deal estate exchange? Spoiled and oiled by mortgage brokers looking to suck in another $20Gs on the next 'cook the books' closing? Whose to blame for the mortgage mess?
Meanwhile, he gets to dice, slice, and dictate to us. The statistics are with questionable rationale. Pure numbers without any ability to determine what is going on in one neighborhood or another. What do the statistics on home buying really mean? I admit that reporters must remain objective. Perhaps, some of this speculation should be turned upside down. Now, I get to do it to some extent. Where to buy now? Buy where you want to dwell. Don't get fooled, again.
The Rogers Park statistics really mean less than they seem. In all, a measly 17 homes were sold from 7/1/07 to 6/30/08. What does that tell us? Rodkin surmises that it means that the value of our homes plummetted by -13.45%. I disagree. Few want to sell their home unless they are in foreclosure, perhaps. Most of us know that there is not much stock in single family homes in Rogers Park. That is a legitimate factor.
Presuming so, who wants to sell their home below market, when the neighbors know RP life is worth more? The average sale price of those 17 homes is $419,818. Were these distressed property sales? Perhaps, the housing stock stinks? Who wants to buy a home unless it fits expectations? Some may want to buy to fix it up. Others, to live closer to their jobs, the sights, the Lakefront, Loyola, NU, and public transportation.
The natives know that the new Howard Street Terminal is like a lit Menorah at Night. It is a major modern transportation hub. The Terminal is within walking distance of Ridge Boulevard for the more religious on Friday. This, combined with the Evanston Condos to the north will bring further revival to Howard Street. At night, there is always a taxi waiting to bring me home when I'm lazy and arrive after midnight. It is not a matter of if, just a matter of when!
Rogers Park homes have gone up at least 159.81% since 1994. We are not selling any time soon unless distressed. The average Rogers Park Condo sells for $221,452. One example; we visited the Casa Bonita's Spanish Revival Pool with the sliding glass doors, among other significant amenities. There is style and value. The photo is from a property on Hoyne north of Jarvis.
The attractiveness and size of the average RP Condo is a significant improvement over what many see elsewhere. The buildings are much more vintage. More buildings were gutted, renovated and subdivided. We have also seen teardowns and build ups on Touhy, but in so doing the replacements have really brightened up our neighborhood.
Chicago has many neighborhoods. This means that some neighborhoods will remain unknown gems ripe with value. There will be those who think that they can improve the quality of life with pessimism. They may discourage others. They will put fear into the ignorant and rookies. They will make Lakeview and West Ridge Boosters gleem with pride. I am not one of them. It is okay to bring reality to light. However, using a sledgehammer encourages outsiders to poke fun at the natives. I can live with a little humility.
Being the one who walks home late and varies the routine, I find that the walk is worth the exercise. How do you integrate with your neighborhood? Yes, there is security in numbers, but some of us feel secure and others don't. I am sure that they are reasonable. I can read fear a mile away. I think that if you fear fear, then you bring on stupidity. I realize that some areas are in need of better lighting, but some have it. Some of us should pick up the litter and push landlords to retain reliable maintenance contractors.
I realize that there will be apartments. We will have to questionable the ignorance of management from the Long Kogen folks, among others. There is a telephone number at 7239 N. Ridge. Iif you don't like the shrubbery or what is left of the grass (more glass), then contact Sandy and let her know. Her telephone number is strapped to the bricks just aching for attention.
The Challenge of Density v. Ignorance
Rogers Park has density, and with it, the challenges of city living. We are not looking to change the price as much as the quality of life. We need to work with those who have access to the brains of others when they are young. Why more neglect to volunteer or work just a little with the local school councils at Armstrong, Gale, Jordan, etc. confuses me. Perhaps, the kids can start influencing their parents.
Imagine if a kid rebelling against his mother by telling her to 'stash the trash,' only to get hit with a shoe? Imagine what you can do to influence those who need it the most. When kids have kids, then they 'may' develop generations of ignorance. That means that intelligence is often held by great grandma, not the other two generations that proceed her.
I hope that some of us wake up instead of living life through CSI. I am on maggot overload. Perhaps, some of us might learn something from those whom we least expect to learn. Maybe taking a walk is healthier and safer than couching your potatoes? Maybe getting noticed may get your neighborhood noticed? Perhaps a few more merchants and writers will smell the Starbucks and wake up. However, than again, maybe our neighborhood is better off a Duncan Donut Kingdom?