Polish Triangle renovation update

Plans for improving the Blue Line station at Division and Milwaukee and other Polish Triangle features will be reviewed at the June 1 East Village Association meeting.

Katherine Darmstadt and Kristen Moreau of the Latent Design architecture firm have been involved in "placemaking" efforts to create a more pleasant and lively plaza. They'll speak to EVA members at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

The Chicago Department of Transportation, which controls the park above the CTA station, is planning renovations with EVA and other community groups in the Polish Triangle Coalition.

Separately, Centrum Partners plans a walkway between Division and Milwaukee, as part of a retail and apartment development at 1660 W. Division St.

The coalition's Tuesdays at the Triangle events have started for the summer. June 2 activities include sidewalk games and an Adventure Stage Chicago performance. The schedule through September includes jazz, folk and ethnic music, dance and dramatic readings. Entertainment starts at 6 pm, with food trucks on hand.

Shakespeare's Greatest Hits at Eckhart Park

Chuck Osgood photo for Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks returns to Eckhart Park this summer with "Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits," a durable adaptation of Shakespearean scenes by Chicago Shakespeare Theater founder Barbara Gaines.

The troupe presents its 70-minute mashup at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 14 and 15 at the park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave. It's one of the final stops in a summer tour of 17 parks that starts July 21.

Part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's touring repertoire for 25 years, "Shakespeare’s Greatest Hits" combines popular music with scenes from "Romeo and Juliet," "Macbeth," "The Taming of the Shrew," "As You Like It" and other plays.

The production is staged by Jeff Award-winning director Dominic Missimi, and presented by the City of Chicago, the Chicago Park District, Boeing and production sponsor BMO Harris.

Ashland Church apartment plan extends transit zone


Ashland Church of God, 1062 N. Ashland

East Village Association board minutes for May 11, 2015, submitted by Michael VanDam

Planning, Preservation & Development

1062 N. Ashland: PP&D heard prospective owner Mark Sutherland's proposal for new apartment construction around the Ashland Church of God's existing fa├žade. Such a plan would require the city to change its zoning map, expand its new transit-oriented development zones and further loosen parking requirements.

The PP&D committee and board felt the proposal was too preliminary to weigh in. Concerns revolved around added height and lack of interior preservation.

1838 W. Chicago (Fifield Cos. development): Fifield has obtained building permits and has begun marketing the development as Luxe on Chicago. Construction should start soon.

Upcoming General Meetings

A representative from the city forestry service is scheduled as speaker for EVA's June 1 meeting.

A representative from the Active Transportation Alliance is interested in “taking EVA’s temperature” on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) plan for Ashland Avenue.

New Business

EVA may consider developing a long-term development plan. Given the city’s financial situation, it was pointed out that any plan in the current environment would need to be revenue positive.

Chess for children at West Town library: It's your move

By Caleb Nolan, Chicago Public Library children's librarian

Weekly chess lessons return Thursday at the West Town Branch Library, 1625 W. Chicago Ave. Classes from 6 to 7pm through June 11 are supported by East Village Association fund-raising.

Segun Kamara, instructor from Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation, heads the drop-in program through March 3. Segun Kamara led a loyal following of 40 kids in 6 weekly lessons last fall.

Sessions are recommended for children 7 and up, or children ages 5 and 6 accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Alderman-elect Brian Hopkins at Happy Village



The new 2nd Ward alderman speaks to the East Village Association before his May 18 inauguration. Brian Hopkins plans to spend most of his time at a ward service office west of Ashland Avenue; Streeterville residents can reach him at City Hall.

East Village Association minutes for May 4, 2015, submitted by Michael VanDam

Brian Hopkins, the newly elected 2nd Ward alderman, was the primary guest. Among the topics he addressed in his presentation and Q&A session:

  • He has not selected a ward office location yet, but would like it to be on the west side of the ward, potentially on Ashland Avenue.
  • He is currently hiring staff and meeting with all neighborhood associations affiliated with the 2nd Ward. Particularly in such a sprawling ward, he considers neighborhood associations crucial in his decision-making regarding zoning and development issues.
  • Other topics addressed by Hopkins include his stance on the Ashland Bus Rapid Transit plan, cross-ward cooperation, the redistricting process and local school issues.

Margie Isaacson gave a presentation on the Frankie Machine Gardens at Haddon Avenue and Wood Street. EVA was instrumental in getting the community garden started 30 years ago, and is still affiliated, although the land is owned by NeighborSpace, a Chicago community land trust. Currently 42 people have plots at the garden.

Planning, Preservation & Development, CAPS and Website/Newsletter had no substantive updates.