Bar Biscay opens; Polish Triangle builds on CTA plans; police launch tech center

Drew Bayley updates EVA members on Polish Triangle plans.

East Village Association membership meeting
March 5, 2018
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.
Presiding: Michelle Hayward, VP

By Neal McKnight

Business Minute

Bar Biscay is a Spanish brasserie restaurant at 1450 W. Chicago Ave. that features cuisine from the northern coast of Spain and western coast of France such as Galicia, Gascony and Brittany. Partner Scott Worsham explained the restaurant's concept and passed out menus. Bar Biscay’s chef is Johnny Anderes, previously of Avec.

  • Pintxos: Tues - Sat 3pm-5pm
  • Dinner: Tues - Sat 5pm-10pm
  • Bar open until 1:00 am
  • Telephone: 312-455-8900
  • Web:
Main Presentation: Polish Triangle Coalition

Design for the Polish Triangle (Ashland, Milwaukee and Division)

Stephen Rynkiewicz, EVA board member, webmaster and Polish Triangle Coalition representative, explained that that the coalition is a group of neighborhood organizations dedicated to activating the Polish Triangle with arts and performance programming as well as improving the infrastructure on the Polish Triangle.

Drew Bayley, architect with Moss Design Studio, presented and explained renderings for physical improvements to the Polish Triangle. The design was created through a pro bono contribution from Bugaj Architects, whose offices are at 1223 N. Milwaukee Ave. on the Polish Triangle.

CTA opens Blue Line repair bidding; neighbors press for more at Polish Triangle

Bugaj Architects drafted Polish Triangle conceptual drawings.

As the CTA plans Division Street subway station repairs, the Polish Triangle Coalition is floating a proposal for long-term improvements at the Ashland-Division-Milwaukee intersection.

"The CTA has told us that 'we can't build this," said coalition board member Drew Bayley, who on March 5 showed EVA members the conceptual drawings presented to the city. Transportation planners consider the improvements "a heavy lift." Nevertheless, the coalition hopes the city will adopt similar design features in capital plans 5 to 12 years away.

East Village Association officers 2018-2019

The East Village Association has elected its current officers to serve for the next year.

President Michael VanDam is the only officer who has served a full year in his position; three have been appointed to vacancies. A nominating committee of VanDam, Dan Johnson and Neal McKnight recommends that current officers serve till March 2019.

The slate was elected by acclamation March 5 at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave. The meeting included a presentation by members of the Polish Triangle Coalition on plans for the Ashland-Division-Milwaukee plaza and CTA station.

EVA board members are appointed by the president.

Here are short biographies on EVA's officers:

Michael VanDam.

Michael VanDam, president

I've lived in East Village for more than 10 years, and in Chicago for more than 25. I grew up in Michigan and attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, before coming back to the Midwest. Living directly on Chicago Avenue, I'm particularly interested in promoting responsible development on the commercial corridors of East Village, and also serve as a commissioner for our local Special Service Area. Professionally, I'm a real estate agent with Ask Nagel Realty on Division Street.

4th District Illinois House candidates press their agendas

Candidates for the 4th District House seat in the March 20 Illinois primary election share a progressive outlook. But the four women had time to spell out their differences during a Feb. 21 forum at Rowe Middle School, 1420 W. Augusta Blvd.

CAN-TV recorded the event for cable broadcast. Organizer Our Urban Times posted candidates' answers to off-camera questions.

Here's the "too long, didn't watch" guide to how Iris Millan, Alyx Pattison, Delia Ramirez and Anne Shaw responded to questions from East Village Association members and an overflow audience of about 125.

Top priority

Millan and Pattison put revenue first, largely from a progressive income tax that would require amending the state constitution. Ramirez and Shaw stress the need to raise school subsidies.

'Road diet' would reshape Chicago Avenue

East Village Association membership meeting
Feb. 5, 2018
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Chicago Avenue would be trimmed to three motor-vehicle lanes in a "road diet" proposed by the West Town Chamber of Commerce.

Program manager Kace Wakem told East Village Association members Feb. 5 that the Chicago Department of Transportation and Chicago Transit Authority are studying the proposal, part of the West Town Master Plan produced in 2017. CDOT has identified Chicago Avenue east of Paulina Street as a "high-crash corridor" in its Vision Zero safety plan, while the CTA is tracking performance of the #66 bus route.

The plan would reduce the two center lanes to a single left-turn lane. Bike lanes would be added in either direction. Chicago Avenue was identified in the city's 2012 plan to create crosstown bike routes.

Grants for tree planting, considered in meeting a sustainability goal, would require volunteers to plant and care for trees. Other master plan objectives are preservation and business and arts development.

Candidates Quigley, Mustafa, Pattison speak to EVA members

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (40:18) speaks to East Village Association, Jan. 8 at the Happy Village. Other speakers included Sameena Mustafa (0:54) Mike Skoulsky (14:13) and Alyx Pattison (23:51).

East Village Association membership meeting
Jan. 8, 2018
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Three candidates in the March 20 primary election answered questions from EVA members Jan. 8, and the builder renovating St. Boniface Church as condos gave a progress report.

Sameena Mustafa gave a critique of incumbent Rep. Mike Quigley. Although Mustafa agrees with the Democrat on many issues, Quigley voted to increase military spending and accepts PAC donations from from companies like Caterpillar that support fracking.

Developer Mike Skoulsky is awaiting city review of a redevelopment agreement. St. Boniface church at 1358 W. Chestnut St. to 17 condos. A new building next door would have 24 condos. All would be 2- and 3-bedroom units. The former rectory lot will become a two-story building for Northwestern Settlement with office space and affordable housing.