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Joilet Teacher Says City Needs More Black-Owned Restaurants

by  CN Team on August 10, 2017
Joilet Teacher Says City Needs More Black-Owned Restaurants

This growing city has a lot to be proud of. Plans are rolling along near Interstate 55 and I-80 to create the multi-million dollar Rock Run Crossings outdoor mall. Innovation Pavilion, a Colorado investment firm, wants to create a downtown technology and innovation campus. Yet, at the same time, there's a growing perception that Joliet has not done enough to encourage more black-owned businesses, particularly restaurants, to flourish.

Ernest Crim, who teaches social studies at Joliet Central High School, recently brought the issue to the Joliet City Council's attention. Crim hails from Chicago before moving to Joliet six years ago.

"I have to say that being a resident of Joliet now, I really love the city," he told the Joliet City Council at its July 18 meeting. "I love food, and I think everybody here can say the same thing."

As a teacher, Crim said he's active in mentoring, including some of his former pupils. But when he wants to take others out for lunch, despite living in a city of nearly 150,000, his options are slim. "I like to eat soul food, and it's hard to come by in Joliet," Crim told the city.

"I find myself often taking my money to other towns ... I'm taking my money elsewhere."

In Joliet, black residents make up nearly 20 percent of the city's population, Crim told the council, but there's only a handful of black-owned restaurants throughout the entire city.

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