Police dinner marks station closing

By Anne Shaw

On Sept. 8, local community groups and the 13th District Police Advisory Committee will be hosts to a 13th District Officer Appreciation Celebration. The event from 6:30 to 10 pm in St. Helen’s School hall, 2345 W. Augusta Blvd., will have door and raffle prizes, food and music.

A special video tribute to the 13th District police station and its officers will debut. The Wood Street police station is slated to be demolished in October when the new 12/13th District is finished at 14th Street and Racine Avenue, 4 miles south of the Wood Street station.

Steal away with burglars Tuesday

By Molly Murray

Another Keepin' it Real forum is being held at 6:30 pm this coming Tuesday at 1012 N. Noble St. on burglaries. For those that have not attended before, this is a panel of convicted burglars who will tell you everything from why they do it, time of day, how they got in, where do they look first, how can you protect yourself, etc.

These forums are different every time so if you have attended in the past, the information you receive will change based on those that have chosen to come and talk to you. Please join us – it promises to be enlightening.

Rehab tax breaks at Sept. 10 EVA meeting


By Scott A. Rappe

Tax incentives at the county, state and federal level can save money for rehabbers in a city landmark district, such as the East Village, Ukrainian Village or Wicker Park districts, or the National Register of Historic Places (as is most of East Village).

The East Village Association on Sept. 10 will be host to a presentation on preservation incentives from Anthony Rubano of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Tax incentives have supported more than $2.3 billion worth of historic property renovation in Illinois over the past decade, which the agency says created 37,000 jobs.

Learn how your next renovation project might benefit at 7 pm at the Happy Village tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

EVA at 30: Back to Goldblatt's for free Sept. 13 event

By Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo

On Sept. 13, the East Village Association celebrates 30 years of volunteer work in the West Town community with a free reception for EVA members.

Significantly, the celebration also will focus on the 2nd anniversary of the West Town Branch Library and the community’s efforts to raise funds in support of programming. Landmark Illinois will re-present the 1997 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award to EVA and the library for their Goldblatt’s preservation work.

The library stands as a testament to the commitment of community residents in the preservation battle that prevented this neighborhood landmark from being demolished, and now is the home of the West Town library.

The celebration will be at 6 pm at the library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave. There will be a video presentation of highlights from the community's last 30 years, and food and beverages will be served. Non-members may join at the event to attend, and all are encouraged to contribute to library programs.

EVA was officially established as a nonprofit community organization in 1982. It was created from a partnership between a block club and a group of new residents. The common bond was an appreciation of the neighborhood as a good place to live. EVA’s charter cited the desire to maintain their diverse community while making it cleaner and safer.

As part of the 30th anniversary celebration, EVA is issuing a special newsletter with an emphasis on the community's future.

The organization will also be the featured speaker at noon Sept. 20 at the free Landmarks Illinois Preservation Snapshots lecture in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Blvd.

This year’s celebration seeks to honor all those neighbors and businesses that have made a commitment to this community over the last 30 years, but also to welcome new residents and business owners and to recount the history of their neighborhood as they now become a part of the fabric of this community.

Circus in the Parks returns Oct. 6-7

By Ronda Locke

We were lucky last year to get Circus in the Parks at Commercial Park and will have it for at least one more year: Oct. 6 & 7. It is an incredible two-hour performance with top-notch performers from as far as Montreal and Europe. Last year we sold out two of our four weekend shows and expect to sell out this year.

Ticket proceeds are split between seven participating parks for improvements. Commercial Park's advisory council, for which I have volunteered for the last eight years, offers free weekly programs such as gardening, storytime, art sessions and free annual holiday parties. We strive support park staff in improving Commercial Park at 1845 W. Rice St. plus three local playlots; Snowberry (Huron & Wolcott), Superior (at Hoyne) and Honore (just north of Iowa). While Commercial has a new playground as of 2008, the three pocket parks need help.

Please give back to your community by attending and sharing show details with anyone who wants to see an incredible show here in your neighborhood. Tickets are available at CircusInTheParks.org.

East Village summer block party photos


Click for more photos by Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo from the Aug. 19 EVA summer barbecue on the 800 block of North Winchester. Thanks to food and drink contributors — Dominick's Finer Foods, Roots Handmade Pizza, Three Floyds Brewing Co. and your neighbors — to the bounce house from the city and to the visitors who stopped by and said they wished they lived in a neighborhood like ours. More block party photos on Facebook

SSA tax spreads to Damen

East Village Association board minutes for Aug. 13, 2012 submitted by KK Goh

Guest speaker for September

The next meeting will be on Sept. 10 and we have a speaker, Anthony Rubano of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Still looking for a business minute.

Block party

EVA summer event is a block party on the 800 block of North Winchester. Tasks were assigned for food and entertainment, beer, barbeque, bag toss, karaoke, face painting for kids, street signs, member signup table, banners and fliers. $100-$200 was allocated for the event.

SSA expansion

The Special Service Area 29 business district is expanding its borders to cover additional areas in East Village, including Damen, Ashland and Milwaukee avenues, resulting in a tax increase to residents. Ukrainian Village would likewise be affected by an expansion on Western and Grand avenues. 

Ronda Locke of the 1st Ward office advised in an email that the Damen extension between Chicago and Augusta is entirely within the 32nd, soon to be 2nd ward. A public hearing is to be conducted in late October with a final vote at the November city council meeting. At that meeting, the new ward map will be in effect. The SSA covers parts of the 1st, 2nd, 26th and 27th wards.

EVA at 30: East Village timeline


By Marjorie Isaacson and Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo

When EVA began, all Chicago had one area code, 312. Some people still used names instead of numbers for the prefixes, like Evergreen 5-1234.

EVA regularly held potluck suppers.

Alyce Gilewski, the former matriarch of the Happy Village Tavern, held court every night until bedtime, then asked whoever was their to leave, everyone left quietly.

September 1983: The first newsletter appears, a handwritten two-pager called The No-Name Neighborhood News.

EVA newsletter was originally hand-written, but for many years afterward, hand typed (computers weren’t in common use) and articles were hand-pasted up.

We used to have a mystery contributor to the newsletter who wrote about the real olden days, for example when there were 7 or 8 movie houses in the area. The writer also recounted songs of the day.

Dues were $3, $2 for seniors.

Due to the mix of languages in the neighborhood, the EVA newsletter often had a “Welcome” in English, Spanish and Polish on their first page. This concept was expanded upon with translations of helpful phrases such as “Hi,” “Thank you,” ”Please don’t play with the fire hydrant,” “Please don’t litter” and “Please put that back.”

EVA at 30: An anniversary gift


Take a closer look among the real-estate ads, discount circulars and copies of the Onion at East Village shops and offices. Look for the flier pictured here, with a photo of the corner of Chicago and Ashland circa 1927. It's the front page of a revealing survey of the neighborhood's past and future: the East Village Association 30th anniversary newsletter. Pick it up there or download it here.

The free eight-page leaflet views East Village from several angles: Dave Vavra recalls its days as the No Name Neighborhood; Scott A. Rappe comments on the changing streetscape; Marjorie Isaacson digs into the Frankie Machine community garden; Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo and Lisa DiChiera reflect on EVA's successful 1976 grassroots campaign to save the Goldblatt's Building, and Annie Miskewitch tells about its new life as the West Town branch library.

The glossy color publication was produced by Alcazar-Anselmo, Isaacson and graphic artist Joe Hunniwinkel. The format recalls the monthly hand-lettered, typewritten or desktop-published newsletters that preceded this blog as a unifying forum for a diverse neighborhood. Find examples of past newsletters in EVA's online archive.

More photos and recollections from East Village's past will be featured in a video presentation to debut during the EVA 30th anniversary event, at 6 p.m. Sept. 13 in the Goldblatt's Building, 1625 W. Chicago Ave.

Follow this site for more posts to mark EVA's 30th anniversary. What are your thoughts on how East Village has changed? Leave your comments below.

City to raze 13th District station

Chicago will demolish the Wood Street police station in October to make way for a city park. "The city determined that it was too costly for anyone to renovate the 13th district building," Moreno said in an Aug. 9 statement.

Architects Peter Frisbee and Grace Rappe set a ballpark estimate of $4 million to $6 million to upgrade the building at 937 N. Wood St. As members of the alderman's working group with Catherine Garypie, Ronda Locke, and Audrey Rath, they met Aug. 7 with representatives of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the park district, police and the city's buildings and Housing and Economic Development departments.

A majority of 351 respondents to the working group's online survey would raze the station for outdoor use, Moreno noted.

The group will lead community meetings and poll residents on park uses. Its report is due as police move in October to a consolidated station house at 1412 S. Blue Island Ave.

The goal is to have a new park installed this spring, with a ribbon cutting early summer, said Locke, Moreno's community outreach director. Garypie, Locke and Rappe gave East Village Association members a preview of their presentation at EVA's Aug. 6 membership meeting.

Saving Goldblatt's: Sept. 20 Loop lecture

East Village Association's 1996 campaign to save the Goldblatt’s Building at Chicago and Ashland is marked in a free Sept. 20 noon-hour lecture at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington Blvd.

EVA director Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo will recall the preservation campaign's creative and often humorous methods, and their continuing effects. The lecture in the Claudia Cassidy Theater is part of Landmarks Illinois' Preservation Snapshots series.

1st Ward property tax workshop Aug. 15

Sept. 8 walk benefits Eckhart Park



By Nick Fotis

Eckhart Park's second Walk for Fun will step out Sept. 8 with a 2-mile walk through the neighborhood. Last year 100 walkers strolled past local parks that have made improvements and took a peek at changes planned for Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave.

Proceeds will go towards a new playground, bringing more people to the park and creating a more vibrant community. A $30 entry fee covers T-shirt, a sampling of snacks and coupons to local businesses.

The walk will start at 10 a.m. and is stroller and pet friendly. Kids 12 years and younger can participate in a 100-yard dash afterwards; registration is $5.

The walk will coincide with the park's fall programming kickoff, sampling games and activities for adults and children, including a bounce house.

Register for the Sept. 8 walk

EVA Monday: 13th District police station alert


The working group charged with finding new uses for the 13th District police station will be looking for feedback from East Village Association members Aug. 6, the night before an appointment with City Hall.

The site's disposition has not been settled, and no demolition permit has been issued for the station house. But the 1st Ward working group has identified a range of uses for the site at 937 N. Wood St. and is circulating an online survey to gauge support for ideas that have surfaced so far.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno meets Aug. 7 with the working group and representatives of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Police. The Wood Street station is set to close in late fall when officers move to an expanded Monroe (12th) District station house at 1412 S. Blue Island Ave.

"Ald. Moreno secured a commitment from the mayor that the space will remain 'for the benefit of the community,'" said Ronda Locke in a statement as Moreno's community outreach director. Locke is a member of the working group with Peter Frisbee, Catherine Garypie, Grace Rappe and Audrey Rath. Locke and Rappe are former EVA officers.

The building requires several million dollars in accessibility renovations to remain viable, the survey states. Fundraising likely would be required, as well as city and ward capital. Potential reuses named in the survey include a police substation, police or children's museum, arts studio, community language facility, exhibition or meeting space and shared offices for nonprofit groups.

The park district will be asked to look at outdoor uses, which could involve razing the building. The survey gathers public input on a dog park, walking track, playground and courts for tennis and other games, as well as an amphitheater, community garden, shared bicycle or auto station and electric vehicle charging site.

Private development of the Wood Street site is also an option, judging from the survey. A land swap for Chicago Avenue property is one option in the online poll.

EVA is co-sponsor of a 13th District recognition event Sept. 8 at St. Helen Church, 2315 W. Augusta Blvd. A planning meeting is set for noon Aug. 5 at the police station.

EVA members can bring their questions and preferences to the working group at 7 pm Monday in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott. The August meeting is not a barbecue as in past years: Watch for details on the Aug. 19 EVA block party on the 800 block of North Winchester Avenue. Members of neighboring community groups are invited to the late-afternoon event.

Take the online survey here.