An east side location helping ex-cons reintegrate will continue to operate thanks to a zoning change.
The location, which doesn’t have a name, is on 11th street just north of South Grand. It’s run by Calvin Jones, who Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson says runs a tight ship.
“There’s no loitering around the facility,” says Simpson. “He makes sure everybody there follows the rule. He has a zero tolerance for those who do not.”
The zoning relief changed the location from business to residential, because people live there at night. The city took notice after the House of Rainbow halfway house on the north end started getting attention.
Some aldermen were surprised to learn the facility existed. Ward 7 Alderman Joe McMenamin, for example, says he used to take his daughter to concerts in the area all the time. The intersection of 11th St. and South Grand Ave. E. is known for its alcohol-free music venues that attract teenagers from around the region.
“Had I known that there were ex-cons literally next door to that location where we’re dropping off our teenagers, I would not have done so,” he says.
Simpson says that’s the point — you’re not supposed to know the facilities exist; they’re supposed to integrate into the community.
Another facility for ex-cons in Ward 3 got similar zoning relief.