East Village liquor moratorium: Last call?


Join the discussion about liquor moratoria at the May 7 East Village Association meeting.


By Scott A. Rappe, AIA

Liquor has been on the minds of many East Village residents, and not just since St. Patrick’s Day. Conversations are effervescing in front yards, in sidewalk cafes, on Facebook and through email about the pros and cons of new liquor establishments in East Village. It’s no wonder, in recent months, that EVA has been asked to consider lifting liquor moratoria in four different locations, and has addressed other contentious liquor issues.

A generation ago, the residents of East Village set out to address the problem caused by alcohol sales. The issues had changed very little since the 1950s, when Division Street bar fights were the backdrop to Nelson Algren’s writing, and problems went beyond loitering, noise or litter. Police saw liquor sales contributing to drug crimes, robberies and prostitution, And real estate agents had good reason to believe liquor establishments were crowding out other businesses and adding to safety concerns of home buyers.

Community concerns led the City Council to place two kinds of liquor licenses on hold. A moratorium on "packaged goods" prohibits new liquor stores (green on map), and a "consumption on premises" moratorium bans new taverns (red on map).

Graffiti removal day Saturday

By Molly Murray
The West Town Chamber of Commerce, Ald. Proco Joe Moreno and the SSA29 tax district are looking for volunteers to help with a two-hour graffiti removal action effort.

Meet at 1pm at the corner of Ashland and Chicago avenues on Saturday April 28, at North Community Bank. All supplies will be provided -- just bring your superhero cape and elbow grease.

Cleaning will be primarily west along Chicago Avenue and possibly north and south on Ashland. For more information, contact Orlando Moreno in the 1st Ward office at (773) 278-0101, or (773) 727-3768 the day of the event.

Wood Street police drug dropoff Saturday

Drug Drop Off April 28, 2012

Chopin Theatre screens Occupy documentary Wednesday

Chopin Theatre provides a forum Wednesday, April 25, for "#whilewewatch," a film about the Occupy Wall Street social media team. With little money, protesters rallied support via Twitter, texting, Wi-Fi, posters, Tumblr, live streams, YouTube and Facebook. Following the 38-minute film, director Kevin Breslin will tune in via live feed.

The free event is at 7 pm on Chopin Theatre's main stage, 1543 W. Division St. Donations go to Occupy Chicago. Free parking at Holy Trinity Church, 1118 N. Noble St.

Coming May 23 and 24: "Theatre of War," an artistic investigation of the contemporary disconnect between citizens and those directly affected by war. The event follows the NATO summit in Chicago and aims to raise funds for the Vet Art Project.

Free Wicker Park Athletic Club classes Wednesday

Wicker Park Athletic Club will open in May at 1635 W. Division St. East Village Association members are invited to a preview tour on Wednesday, April 25. Sign up for a free Workout Challenge class at 6pm or free Vinyasa Yoga class at 7pm. Club tours are available between 6pm and 9pm. Call to register you and your guests at (312) 850-4668.

Earth Day cleanup at Commercial Park

Join us Saturday April 21 to help clean up our neighborhoods, from Division to Grand and Ashland to Damen.

Groups check in at 9 am for a block assignment at Commercial Park 1845 W. Rice St.

Demonstrations and activities at the park will entertain the young and young-at-heart from 10:30 am till 12:30 pm:
  • Guinness Book of World Records great cloth diaper change at 11:30: Come participate or just learn.
  • Live chickens and plantings from the Christy Webber Landscapes farm and garden center.
  • Sun safety crafts and sunscreen samples with a local dermatologist.

A 12:30 pm lunch is sponsored by 1st Ward Alderman Moreno. The Earth Day cleanup's sponsors are Moreno, East Village Association, Christy Webber Landscapes and Commercial Park Advisory Council.

Get to know your neighbors and be kind to your ‘hood. Call or email to volunteer or get involved: Ronda Locke (773) 960-7212 or rondalocke@sbcglobal.net.

Earth Day cleanup at Polish Triangle

The Polish Triangle Coalition needs your help for a cleanup at the Polish Triangle (Ashland and Division) on Earth Day, Saturday April 21.

The coalition includes the East Village Association, Wicker Park Committee, Pulaski Park Neighbors Association and surrounding schools. The event runs from 9 am till noon, so stop by to push a broom or pick up trash, even if only for a half-hour. 

Meet your neighbors and help improve this historic community asset. We will bring out food (Polish, of course) at the end of our labors.  Looking forward to seeing you at the Triangle.

EVA at 30: Your photos wanted

By Marjorie Isaacson

How old is the East Village Association? I was there at the beginning, but nevertheless this anniversary came as a surprise to me: It has been 30 years since Dave Vavra invited a small group of residents to meet and talk about the "no-name" neighborhood.

The ensuing years have brought a lot of changes, many of which were the direct result of the vision, commitment and tenacity of EVA members. That’s a legacy worth celebrating, and a new committee is already at work planning the party.

In preparation for the event, we’re taking a look back at our past. If you’re new to the neighborhood or the Association, you can look forward to a series of newsletters where some of our history will be highlighted. If you’ve been around awhile, we want to hear from you.

We invite you to contribute your memories. We’re especially interested in photos, or if you’d like to write. Please forward your information to me at marjiei@yahoo.com or 773-384-6088, or committee chair Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo, galcazar@earthlink.net.

Thorntons plans to fill up WaMu site


A design for Thorntons Urban Market at 1555 W. Division St. by Ideation Studio

East Village Association board meeting minutes for April 9, 2012
Submitted by Meghan Quinn


Transition to new board

Neal McKnight and KK Goh planned to meet April 12 regarding banking. Meghan Quinn is now in possession of electronic membership lists; she will email minutes to Stephen Rynkiewicz for approval and posting on the website.

Membership meetings

The board approved the SquareUp.com processing system so that we can more easily sign up new members at meetings and events.

McKnight suggested that in cases when we have no guest speaker we substitute with an update of ongoing developments in the neighborhood (most likely given by Scott Rappe or Neal McKnight). Someone from Comrade Cycles will be presenting at the May meeting. Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo suggested we have Chicago Athletic Club speak at the June meeting as the chain is opening a location on Division. She will contact the management.

Video boosts Eckhart Park fundraising


A promotional video will help raise funds this year for improvements at Eckhart Park. Nick Fotis of the Eckhart Park Advisory Council sees the video as a way to introduce the Jens Jensen-designed park in a Kickstarter-style social media campaign.

The work of neighborhood residents Cheston Bogue and Lucas Daniel, clips will be screened in a craft-beer and charcuterie mixer April 19 at Leopold restaurant, 1450 W. Chicago Ave. Tickets and information are on the advisory council website.

In December, Martin Klaeschen and Carl Ray Miller won a contest to design a marker for contributors: a Corten steel berm for the Noble Street side of the park.

An Earth Day park cleanup is set for April 21. Volunteers will meet at 9 am under the flagpole at the park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave.

Popup art, street fences, liquor applicants


Bernard Williams artwork in a Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA art project at 2001 W. Division St.


East Village Association membership meeting minutes for April 2, 2012
Submitted by Meghan Quinn


Ald. Robert Fioretti began the meeting with a presentation described here on the 2nd Ward and its redistricting to include East Village.

West Town Street Lab

Meghan Quinn, the new secretary of EVA, presented an arts initiative called West Town Street Lab, which proposes using vacant storefronts along West Chicago Avenue to hold popup art galleries and community workshops.

The project seeks to bring art and culture to our everyday experience and show the creativity of West Town residents. This initiative could also generate economic development in the neighborhood. EVA president Neal McKnight mentioned that Ken Kosinski might be interested in doing something on his vacant lot between Wood and Wolcott.

Quinn said Katharine Wakem, program manager for the city's Special Service Area 29, has expressed interest in the project but was concerned about insurance: The West Town Chamber of Commerce tried to do a community art presentation on vacant storefronts but could not get proper insurance. A couple of members mentioned that the Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA has been able to do similar projects, and McKnight suggested that Michelle Starks of State Farm may be able to help with insurance.

EVA members voted and decided to write a letter of support for the project.

Ald. Fioretti minds crime, capital needs

By Meghan Quinn

Ald. Robert Fioretti carries three things in his car: paint to cover graffiti (he doesn’t always wait for 311 to do it), a scraper to remove posters, and clippers to remove illegal signs.

"With 73 gangs and 80,000 to 150,000 gang members in Chicago," said the 2nd Ward alderman, "we have to be tough on crime."

Chicago's 2nd Ward was redrawn Jan. 19 to include parts of East Village. In his first meeting April 2 with East Village Association members, Fioretti said Chicago has to build up its infrastructure and schools. Fioretti stated that we must collaborate to move our communities forward. New city landmark districts include the 2nd Ward's Motor Row and Music Row, joining the Prairie Avenue district created in 1979.

Every home should have a tree, Fioretti said. He said his ward has removed every dead tree and planted 1,600 trees over four years.

The ward has obtained resurfaced 250+ blocks of streets, and secured funds to improve parks and schools. There are 26 parks in the 2nd Ward, he said, with 3 new parks under construction. In visiting this neighborhood, Fioretti said he has seen outdated lighting that needs to be upgraded for safety.

Miller Lumber apartments peel back layer

Smith Partners has downsized its proposal for an apartment building to replace L. Miller & Son Lumber Co. at 1815 W. Division St.

The new set of drawings under East Village Association review show a four-story building with 39 apartments above ground-level retail space. A 1st Ward hearing last month indicated 52 units in a five-story building.

The plan still would require a zoning change. Another 1st Ward hearing is set for 6 pm April 26 in the LaSalle II gym at 1148 N. Honore St.

Three 2-bedroom corner units have been added in architect Adam Berkelhamer's plan, each with 1,202 square feet of space. The 1-bedroom units now range from 651 to 800 square feet. Honore Street apartments overlooking LaSalle II school are a bit roomier, at the expense of a 597-square-foot studio on each upper floor.

Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has not committed to the retail space, says Bill Smith, the longtime Smithfield Properties partner involved in this venture. At the March hearing, the restaurant chain founded by Rich Melman was said to be developing two restaurants for the ground floor.

Car thefts rise in 13th District

Car thefts have risen 9% in the Wood Street police district compared to last year, according to Chicago Police, and 36% compared with 2010.

A community alert dated March 30 states that most auto thefts have been reported in the Milwaukee Avenue corridor between Division and Lake streets and on the Near West Side beat stretching roughly from Western to Kedzie and Kinzie to Madison.

Through April 1 there have been 131 incidents this year, according to a police CompStat report. Most thefts were from passenger cars, the 13th District alert says, but Dodge Caravan and Ford Econoline vans have been the "most popular targets." In several cases, vehicles were towed away.

Free carpentry job training for West Town workers

West Town residents are eligible for free green carpentry and weatherizing training to be offered starting April 23 by the Local Economic and Employment Development Council.

Classes cover carpentry and job-hunting skills. They're aimed unemployed and underemployed workers with home improvement experience who want to to begin a carpentry career. The five-week course runs from 9 am to 1 pm Mondays through Thursdays at 1866 N. Marcey. To register, call Ebony McLaurin at (773) 929-5552, ext. 228.

Burglars on burglary April 12

By Sgt. Juan Clas

The Keepin' It Real seminar is a panel of actual convicted burglars who, as part of their community service hours, will answer questions about burglaries and safety. They will go into detail as to how they pick a home to target, what works and what doesn’t work as far as security. You think your house is secured? Come to the seminar and when you are done listening to the information given by these burglars, you may want to recheck your security.