As the connecting spine of Austin, the Central Avenue Corridor will integrate the other commercial corridors throughout the community and hopefully serve as something more than a main thoroughfare. These corridors include the Soul City Corridor along Chicago Avenue, the Arts, Culture, and Town Center along Lake Street, the Anchor for Commercial and Economic Revitalization along Madison Street, and the Austin Gateway at Interstate 290. 

“By serving as the main vein of Austin, we hope Central Ave maximizes connectivity all throughout our community, especially with the work of the other community projects in motion”



A welcoming flag for Austin’s Soul City Corridor on Chicago Avenue.

The Soul City Corridor will revitalize a 1.6-mile-long stretch along Chicago Avenue in the Austin community and focuses on guiding the development of underutilized land. Its main goals are to promote  Black culture, arts, and entertainment, as well as heighten economic development, job creation, and new development that serves neighborhood residents. Many nearby community assets, such as Forty Acres Fresh Market, Laramie State Bank, many thriving businesses, and available CTA options will help to enhance the unifying character of the Central Avenue project. The Austin African-American Business Networking Association (AAABNA) is leading the charge in the Soul City Corridor. Noted for its more intimate, small business ecosystem, Soul City aims to attract people from Central Avenue with a variety of local shopping options.   


Austin Town Hall Park and Cultural Center at 5610 W. Lake St. sits on 3.69 acres and offers outdoor basketball courts, an auditorium, fitness/dance studio, programming through the Park District, and more. It is also the site of the Austin Town Hall City Market, an outdoor farmers market accepting Snap/Link that runs on Thursdays in June through October.

With what is likely the central-most location, the Arts, Culture, and Town Center corridor at Lake and Central will help illuminate many of the historic landmarks, artistic riches, green spaces, and architectural marvels that have long stood in the community. Namely, Austin Town Hall Park (which is the only Town Hall in the City and has been a youth-led safe zone), the Austin Branch Chicago Public Library, Austin High School, Fraternite Notre Dame Church, and Levin (John) Park are on that list. And with the Green Line train running along Lake Street, commuters that pass by get the chance to see what’s happening in Austin.  


A rendering of the Aspire Center for Workforce Innovation at the corner of Central and Madison, which will house a variety of workforce training programs and resources.

The location at Madison and Central is an especially unique piece of the Central Avenue Corridor and the revitalization of the Austin community as a whole. Nearby assets like the Kehrein Center for the Arts, the Walser House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Columbus Park, and countless businesses help amplify the many commercial and economic development opportunities surrounding the area. Yet compared to other community corridors like Soul City, Madison Street is notable for a wider range of commercial activity. Larger businesses, big box stores, and other commercial endeavors are what can attract people from Central Avenue. Beyond that, the intersection of Madison and Central is home to one of the most prominent development projects in the community: The ASPIRE Center for Workforce Innovation. The Center will repurpose the former Emmet Elementary School into an anchor for commercial revitalization and a destination for top-notch workforce training. An inspiring feat of community organizing, the Center was largely made possible by the firm commitment of Austin residents who stepped up and donated their own money to the cause. 


Columbus Park is one of Austin’s most prominent features with its beautiful green spaces, lagoon, playing fields, playgrounds, gardens, golf course, and more.

When driving into Austin from Interstate 290, the Central Avenue Corridor will serve an important role as the Austin Gateway. With nearby assets such as Columbus Park, Loretto Hospital, and CTA Blue Line, the gateway aims to welcome people into the neighborhood as they venture up Central Avenue and connect to other destinations.

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