West Town school enrollment falls short: CPS report

West Town schools don't have enough students, according to a Chicago Public Schools assessment, with 11 of 16 schools considered "underutilized."

Wells High School, 936 N. Ashland Ave., is at one-third capacity, the analysis says. The neighborhood high school for East Village is angling for designation as a citywide language academy to fill classrooms. In the past, CPS also has addressed space needs by removing temporary structures and "co-locating" separately run schools in the same building.

Another designated neighborhood high school, Clemente at 1147 N. Western Ave., was rated only 24% full. Chicago Arts, Prologue and Ogden high schools also on the underutilized list.

Two East Village elementary schools that feed Wells also are deemed "underutilized," with Talcott at 58% and Otis at 63%. Chopin, De Diego and Lozano also are on the low-enrollment list. At 120% of targeted enrollment, Columbus is rated "efficient." So is Mitchell, at 83% capacity.

EVA members review Ace on Ashland condo plan


The construction fence shows a building design for the former Ace Hardware site.

Developers of a condominium building will ask East Village Association members Monday to support a zoning change at the former Ace Hardware site, 1023 N. Ashland Ave.

Owner Ross Babel plans a new four-story building with first-floor commercial-retail tenants and 33 condo units. The floor plan requires B2-3 zoning; the lot's now B1-2. Attorney Sara K. Barnes calls the upzone "more compatible" with buildings to the east and west.

After reviewing early plans, members of EVA's development committee suggested adding 3-bedroom units for a more diverse mix. Here's how the units now stack up in size:

  • 6 – 1 bedroom, 1.5 bath (720 square feet).
  • 9 – 2 bedroom, 1 bath (850 square feet).
  • 6 – 2 bedroom, 2 bath (920 square feet).
  • 6 – 2 bedroom, 2 bath (950 square feet).
  • 6 – 3 bedroom, 2 bath (1,280 square feet).

The plan earmarks two 2-bedrooms units as affordable to median-income buyers. Rules in place when the project started would normally require four affordable units for this size building.

A vote is expected after the developer's presentation, at 7pm in Happy Village, 1058 N. Wolcott Ave.

Cleos makes case for late-night license


The Cleos street view extends from 1935 W. Chicago Ave. to the building next door.

A late-night license at Cleos pub, 1935 W. Chicago Ave., will be reviewed at the Feb. 1 East Village Association meeting.

Cleos managing partner Scott Floersheimer will make his case, which is likely to echo his Jan. 19 presentation to the Chicago Grand Neighbors Association at Output lounge, 1758 W. Grand.

Ald. Proco Joe Moreno's office requested the CGNA review; an EVA vote is not scheduled. Both Moreno and Chicago Police Cmdr. Edward J. Kulbida must approve the license.

Kulbida also seeks neighborhood feedback. Residents can contact Sgt. Rebecca Arguelles, who reviews liquor applications, by e-mail or at 312-746-8306. The 1st Ward office can be reached via email or at 773-278-0101. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, which issues liquor licenses, is at 312-744.6249.

Building may incorporate Leona's storefront


Volunteers are researching construction of the closed Leona's glazed-brick front.

East Village Association minutes for Dec. 7, 2015, by Michael VanDam

Business Minute

Aussie Pet Mobile provides mobile pet grooming services to the larger West Town area. In addition to offering his services, owner Tim Shannon is looking for experienced groomers to join his team.

Planning, Preservation & Development

Leona’s update: While the Landmark Commission did not designate the Leona’s property at 1936-44 W. Augusta Blvd. as significant and contributing to the East Village district, Ald. Brian Hopkins continues to work to preserve the building, and EVA members are researching its history. While the developers’ final plans have not been released, they may try to integrate the fa├žade into the final project.

East Village issues, from taverns to transit

A feisty exchange between East Village Association members and a local alderman drew wide interest in 2015.

Efforts to reopen the Club Foot bar drew a crowd to EVA's September meeting. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno expanded the debate, saying he'd consider opening East Village to new tavern licenses. The 1st Ward alderman warned EVA members that he doesn't feel bound to follow the group's guidance, and signaled his vote for a city budget that increased taxes and fees by $755 million.

Posts on the Club Foot site at 1824 W. Augusta Blvd., including audio of Moreno's comments, drew links from Facebook groups, EveryBlock, DNAinfo and Chicagoist.

The East Village freeze on tavern licenses sprung from EVA's longstanding role advising local aldermen on zoning and licensing. The moratorium encouraged East Village's growth as a restaurant hotspot, and community votes approved of exceptions such as the Forbidden Root taproom planned for 1746 W. Chicago Ave.