Woodlawn news: Apostolic Church of God promises to celebrate black culture with Woodlawn Central Development Project

CHICAGO (WLS) — A church is investing in both the spiritual and economic growth of a South Side neighborhood.

Dr. Byron T. Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God, is proud to carry on the legacy of his father who once led the church, located in Woodlawn. Her father wrote a book promoting black self-determination.

“He puts a paragraph in there that talks about the responsibility of the church to support the community where it is,” he said.

The church sits on 18 acres at 63rd & Dorchester. Dr. Brazier and his son, J. Byron Brazier, plan to transform this area into a cultural center for the community with offices and businesses, housing, a performance hall and a hotel. Most of the area planned for redevelopment is currently parking lots.

“If we really want to become a cyclical economy within our community, we really need to focus on black business infrastructure,” said J. Bryon, who is the lead developer for the Woodlawn Central Development Project.

This community is predominantly black. J. Byron thinks it is important that black culture be taken into account in any development.

“You’re going to see what you would see in any developed community like a Chinatown or a Greektown,” he said. “There’s going to be a cultural understanding of where you are.”

The south and west sides of the city have suffered from decades of divestment. The church is mobilizing its resources to change that.

“As we approach this, we look at how a community is built,” Dr. Brazier said. “And what makes a good community. If you have a good education and you have good economic development, you tend to have low security needs and low social service needs.”

They plan to launch the project next year.

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