Economic Downturn and Potential of Bridgeport, Chicago

Ramova Theatre, out of business since 1985.
Photo by Lauren Yard

By Alheli Garcia, Stephen Ruiz, and Lauren Yard

Bridgeport, a community of nearly 32,000 people located on the South Side, is known for its blue and white collar workmanship and diverse community developed nearly 200 years ago.

Neighborhoods in Bridgeport historically thrived mainly on local businesses including restaurants, convenience stores and department stores.

The once thriving community is now primarily filled with vacant storefronts as shown in the story map below. Due to a deteriorating economy, many storefronts are now vacant. This causes local market values to decrease significantly.

“Businesses were better back then, when the stores weren’t vacant here,” said Elaine Sakellariou, owner of George’s Restaurant located down the street from Guaranteed Rate Field. “All the kids in the neighborhood had a job back then and would start working at 14 years old. The storefronts were full; if you needed shoes or a dress for a party, there were stores to go to.”

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Chicago Homicides by Year (1990-2016)

By Lauren Yard

Interactive Graphic

The graph above shows the number of murders per year from 1990-2016. While the number of homicides steadily decreased since 1994, there was a dramatic increase in 2016 when the number of murders jumped by 58 percent from 492 in 2015 to 779.