Loop Tavern to tap brighter facade

Loop Tavern, 1610 W. Chicago Ave.

Loop Tavern will add lights and cameras in a planned facelift. Manager Steve Kontos says at first there was interest in exposing the original facade. But even with the arrival of upscale neighbor Beatnik restaurant and Hoosier Mama Pie Co., customers argued for keeping the retro exterior cladding.

Kontos pledged not to serve single beers, malt liquor or fortified wines in a plan of operation the EVA board reviewed Jan. 14. (This sentence has been corrected.) The liquor store and bar at 1610 W. Chicago Ave. plans to transfer ownership and management to the current owner's son. The board had no objection.

Candidates Forum Feb. 4 at Roots Pizza

Candidate's Forum
Chicago's election for mayor, alderman and other city offices is Feb. 26. Instead of the monthly East Village Association meeting, the first Monday in February will be a Candidates Forum upstairs at Roots Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. Candidates in ward and citywide races will give short statements, mingle and answer voter questions. The Feb. 4 event starts at 6:30pm. EVA is co-sponsoring with Chicago Grand Neighbors Association, Smith Park Neighborhood Alliance, Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association and West Town Neighbors Association.

Congressman Quigley, 311 upgrade, CDOT bridge construction fill EVA January agenda

Rep. Mike Quigley speaks Jan. 7 in the monthly EVA membership meeting at the Happy Village (starting at 35:45).

Chicago Avenue, Division Street bridges

Soliman Khudeira of the Chicago Department of Transportation presented tentative plans for bridge construction at the Chicago River.

A wider Division Street bridge at the North Branch accommodate two lanes of traffic each way, plus a left turn lane and riverwalk. Work should start in the third quarter of 2020 and finish at the end of 2021.

On Chicago Avenue, a temporary bridge will be in place next month to replace the Halsted Street viaduct now being removed. The permanent bridge will be similar to the Division Street project. Expect construction to extend from the start of 2021 till mid-2022.

311 service upgrade

Nelly Benitez of The William Everett Group demonstrated the new 311 Chi mobile app, part of city call center improvements rolled out in December. The app will take service requests, send alerts when work is being done and take feedback. All service calls in a neighborhood can be shown on a map.

Congressman Quigley

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley has a track record of showing up at EVA meetings since his days on the county board. He says he'd rather go back to talking about constituent services, but as a member of the House Intelligence Committee he has work still to do in investigating foreign influence in the 2016 election. An open question: Was the president compromised?

East Village 2018 year in review

A proposed design for facade improvements at the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Traffic to the East Village Association marked the year's big neighborhood events. These posts drew the most attention:

  1. Happy Village sale would put renovations on tap (July 31). Ald. Brian Hopkins has not yet acted on an Oct. 1 advisory vote to allow a change of owners at the bar, 1059 N. Wolcott.
  2. Beatnik restaurant seeks rezoning (April 7). Members backed a full restaurant license with bar and amusement license for the restaurant at 1604 W. Chicago Ave.
  3. 'Road diet' would reshape Chicago Avenue (Feb. 6). Chicago Avenue would be trimmed to three motor-vehicle lanes in a West Town Chamber of Commerce proposal.
  4. Polish Triangle builds on CTA plans; police launch tech center (March 6). Architect Drew Bayley of the volunteer Polish Triangle Coalition proposed physical improvements for the plaza at Ashland, Division and Milwaukee. The CTA plans elevator and escalator access in its 20-year accessibility plan.
  5. 4th District Illinois House candidates press their agendas (Feb. 24). Eventual victor Delia Ramirez squared off against three challengers in a debate recorded by CAN-TV.
  6. Neighbors OK Happy Village dining plan (Oct. 2). "There are still some questions," said Ald. Hopkins. "If you live near Happy Village we absolutely want to hear from you."
  7. CTA opens Blue Line repair bidding; neighbors press for more at Polish Triangle (March 5). The CTA's 2020 plans call for a Blue Line entrance canopy at Division Street.
  8. Parents reject underperforming neighborhood schools (Nov. 19). The Mid-North Side region has lost 13% of its student population in four years, according to a Chicago Public Schools presentation.
  9. Hermitage rezoning sought to build apartments (July 3). Members agreed not to oppose rezoning at the Tropikava Kafe juice bar, 1115 N. Hermitage Ave.
  10. EVA Monday: Happy Village vote (Sept. 29). Buyers Andrew Miller and Addison Thom shared plans to build out the bar's patio with a sunroom and sell the building next door, which houses the pingpong room.

New Year's condo resolutions

Even small condo boards shouldn't let one person do all the work, says Michael Pyrchalla of Integrity Law Group. The real estate lawyer shared best practices for boards in a presentation to East Village Association members.

Condo rules can be formal or informal, but boards should have a way to amend them--preferably simply requiring a majority vote. A big job is to plan for future repairs, and keeping owners up to date on assessments to provide for them. "You are stuck from the moment you own to pay assessments," Pyrchalla says. A straightforward way to predict spending over 15 to 30 years is with a reserve study, which can cost as little as $500.

The Jan. 7 meeting at Happy Village will feature updates on the Chicago Avenue repairs, the city's upgraded 311 work request system, and a vote to ease EVA voting restrictions.

Students on the move as parents reject underperforming neighborhood schools

Chicago Public Schools career-office director Rita Raichoudhuri and CEO Janice Jackson present the report at Wells High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave.

A Chicago Public Schools study suggests that more than elsewhere in the district, families here reject local schools for top-tier alternatives nearby.

The Mid-North Side region has lost 13% of its student population in four years, according to a Nov. 15 presentation by Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson at Wells High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave. High schools are half-full; 58% of high school students travel outside the region, and only 16% attend their designated neighborhood school.

Turnarounds are a challenge when more families are leaving the city than are moving in, Jackson admitted. Combined with birth-rate trends, she expects Miami-Dade County to overtake Chicago as the third-largest public school district. With state funding still tenuous, Jackson says long-term capital plans will require a stronger fiscal footing.