Emotional involvement with Dearborn Village

haven't had a feeling like this for 15 years

08/01/2012 2:24 AM

By Bonnie McGrath

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About 15 years ago, there was a real estate craze in the South Loop. Dearborn Village--a mews-like collection of almost 200 town homes at 18th and State was to be built. Fast. They were priced to sell, you might say. A three-bedroom, two-bath, two-story home with outoor space and a garage built around a grassy, tree-lined courtyard was priced at way less than $200,000. And small ranch-style homes all on one floor were not much more than $100,000.

The sales were brisk; they were all sold in just a few weeks.

Today, the complex is a mature community of large trees, lush grass, wizened homes and people with deeply planted roots.

And earlier tonight I got a chance to experience the feeling of the full-blown wholesomeness and neighborliness when I visited the complex for the first time since it was fairly new and a few friends were settling in. Tonight I was with friends who were truly settled in.

My pal Diana Turowski invited me and my daughter Molly for dinner--we've lived through some rough days lately after a major death in our family. Joining in were Di's housemates, and her neighbors, the Smiths--Kathy, Dion and their talented school-age sons Austin and Judson. We had a ton of food on the front patio at the front of the second floor entry--not on the deck which is too cut off, upstairs and in back. Sitting in the front we faced the courtyard, the trees--which they call "a forest" now--and the neighbors, who frequently strolled by and said hi. Dearborn Village is a gated community but done in a way that famed urban planner Jane Jacobs would approve.

We dished about everything from life under the NATO regime at 18th Street in May to the grassroots "Reuse Jones" drive. We talked about the secret marinade that adorned the deliciously barbecued chicken. And the flourless chocolate cake purchased at a Viennese bakery that was billed as "gluten-free" by the proud young staff at the cafe. And the huge pickle slices for the hotdogs. We took pictures and posted them on Facebook and tagged them up a mile a minute.

I saw what I had only dreamed would be the destiny of the Dearborn Village buyers 15 years ago. Now, it has arrived.

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