The East Side Historic District- Elgin’s, IL Oldest Neighborhood

For the Elgin East Side Historic District I used Geneva as the western border, Park as the northern border, Liberty as the eastern and Villa St as the southern.

The East Side Historic District is the oldest portion of the city, and contains mostly residences and churches. The historic district was created in 1983 and includes a set of 697 buildings, of which, 429 contribute to the district’s historical integrity. The East Side Historic District is for the most part a stable residential, walkable neighborhood. Few retail amenities exist within the district, but most residents are able to walk to Dwtn in 10-15 minutes, which has a good concentration of retail and cultural amenities. The district is generally safe with good walkable school options, plenty of parks, and comfortable tree lined streets. In order for the East Side Historic District to become a great urban district it needs better public transit and bike access, more retail and cultural amenities mixed in, more density and rental options. One sensible way to urbanize the neighborhood is use the western edge with Downtown to prioritize mixed-use dense in-fill. This area also has the least number of historically significant structures alleviating concerns of widespread demolition as the district densifies.

Click here to view my East Side Historic District album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good ADA curbs and sidewalk infrastructure.
* Good density.
* Good diversity indicators especially economic. Racial make up is about 70% Hispanic.
* Good number of schools in and around Downtown with a nice mix of grades and private versus public school options.
* The East Side Historic District is overall pretty safe.
* Several nice small and medium sized parks.
* Solid tree canopy.
* Really nice historic homes from the turn of the 20th century.
* Urban massing is generally good with few parking lots and auto centric uses. But not much retail amenities here.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* So so public transit
* Bike infrastructure is very limited.
* Rentals options are pretty limited but generally moderately priced.
* Not too much for sale housing diversity but housing is generally affordable. 2-beds sell btwn 100K-215K, 3 & 4 beds sell btwn 100K-400K. A handful of condos options as well.
* Modern in-fill is really non-existent.
* Pedestrian traffic is pretty limited.
* Cultural amenities within the East Side Historic District are limited to the Elgin Historic Museum, some historic homes and a couple bars. But most of the neighborhood has walkable access to all the cultural and retail amenities of Dwtn.
* Retail amenities within the East Side Historic District are limited to a drug store, a couple boutiques, a couple gyms, and a couple of salons.

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