Hermitage rezoning sought to build apartments

1115 N. Hermitage Ave.

EVA members will vote July 9 on a zoning change for the building that houses the Tropikava Kafe juice bar. Rezoning would allow conversion to 7 apartments with limited parking.

The owner of 1115 N. Hermitage Ave. plans to convert the 4-story building from a storefront and 3 apartments. Plans submitted for EVA review would renovate the storefront as a new apartment and build 3 apartments over the existing garage.

The vote would advise Ald. Proco Joe Moreno on whether to support a zoning change in the City Council. The EVA meeting starts at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave. The meeting also features presentations from Delia Ramirez, Democratic candidate for 4th District state representative, and Elizabeth Nungaray of Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Pack a Sprite and go: Shakespeare Aug. 3 in Eckhart Park

Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings a puckish summer production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" to Eckhart Park.

Artistic director Barbara Gaines directs the 75-minute abridged production, in which four young lovers, an amateur theater troupe and the spirits of nature meet in an enchanted forest. Elizabeth Nungaray of Chicago Shakespeare Theater gives East Village Association members a preview at the next membership meeting July 10 in the Happy Village beer garden at 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.

Chicago Shakes is known to take liberties in its family-friendly performances: "I'm pretty sure the Bard never said 'dude,'" the Tribune noted in reviewing the play's spring Navy Pier performances, which later toured Chicago schools.

Skate to where Puck is going, and stake out a stretch of lawn for the 6:30 p.m. Aug. 3 performance at 1330 W. Chicago Ave. The summer revival opens July 25-28 at Navy Pier and tours for the next month. Other stops include Humboldt Park Aug. 9-10 and Dvorak Park Aug. 16.

Faith Servant and Christopher Sheard reprise their roles Aug. 3 as Hermia and Lysander in Chicago Shakespeare’s short version of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night’s Dream" in Eckhart Park.

Dial up energy, property tax savings

Amy Bobel displays a free showerhead available through the ComEd-Peoples Gas energy efficiency program.

Energy-saving swag was featured at the June 4 East Village Association meeting. Lightbulbs and showerheads weren't being given away. But they are free to homeowners who sign up for an energy efficiency assessment.

Amy Bobel, outreach coordinator for the local utility program, displayed samples of the freebies in a Happy Village patio demonstration. Owners of houses, two-flats, condos and town houses qualify for free thermostats, power strips, pipe insulation and other items.

An adviser will visit the building and make energy-saving recommendations. Renters may participate with landlord permission. Participants who buy smart thermostats from the utilities get free installation. To sign up, visit the Peoples Gas or ComEd websites or call 1-844-367-5867.

Continuing the money-saving theme, real estate agent Greg Nagel advised EVA members how to cut their property taxes. The owner of Ask Nagel Realty, 1919 W. Division St., says the best bet is to pre-file for an appeal with the Cook County Board of Review. The board no longer requires homeowners to do research, and will not penalize them by raising assessments. Meanwhile, check for available homeowner and senior exemptions. To get an alert on filing dates, call 312-603-5586

Summer jazz, pop and youth performances have begun at the Polish Triangle, the CTA Blue Line plaza at Ashland, Division and Milwaukee. For a schedule, visit the Polish Triangle Coalition website.

Tuesdays at the Triangle​ free concerts​ resume

Jazz bassist Matt Ulery performs June 12 at the Polish Triangle.

Tuesdays at the Triangle concerts begin June 5 at the Polish Triangle, the intersection of Ashland Street, Division Street and Milwaukee Avenue.

Jazz guitarist Ishmael Ali and Je'raf open the sixth season of free concerts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Division stop of the CTA Blue Line. Scheduled performers for the month include Matt Ulery (jazz, June 12), Cremona (chamber music, June 19) and Przybysz Quartet (jazz, June 26).

The plaza performance are organized by the Polish Triangle Coalition, a volunteer group organized by West Town community organizations and institutions. The coalition works for programs and improvements to make the Polish Triangle a welcoming and nurturing destination.

Be bold, city gardeners. Go big, business owners.

A storefront mural stands out at Chicago Truborn, 1741 W. Chicago.


East Village Association membership meeting
May 9, 2018
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.
Presiding: Michael VanDam, president

Sprout Home: Urban Gardening

Chicago presents challenges for the gardener, according to Stephen Hill, general manager at Sprout Home, 745 N. Damen Ave. Nevertheless, "be a little daring," Hill told members gathered at the Happy Village patio.

The city is more plant-hardy than the rest of northern Illinois, and four hours of sun most likely will support "full sun" plants. For inhospitable backyard decks, trees and shrubs can thrive in big pots insulated with foam board.

Chicago Truborn: West Town Street Art

A mural from Rotterdam artist Eelco van den Berg makes the storefront stand out at Chicago Truborn, 1741 W Chicago Ave. Gallery owner Sara Dulkin described how the West Town SSA business district administers grants to support murals on buildings, scaffolds and the railroad underpass at Chicago Avenue and Lessing Street.

Ald. Hopkins: State of the 2nd Ward 2018

Paul Nickerson of the Tree House Humane Society and Ald. Brian Hopkins prepare to address members at Happy Village.


East Village Association membership meeting
April 2, 2018
Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave.
Presiding: Michael VanDam, president

Business Minute: Cats at Work

Paul Nickerson of the Tree House Humane Society gave a presentation on the Cats at Work program. Nickerson shared personal anecdotes of his introduction to the program and how it addressed a severe rodent problem in his neighborhood. Feral cats are trapped, neutered and released in proper shelters where there is a rodent problem.

Nickerson noted that feral cats are usually placed in groups of 2 or 3. The placement by Tree House comes with appropriate shelters that can be placed in garages, under porches or in unused gangways. Placement costs $725 for 3 cats and $650 for 2 cats. A cat eating a rat who has been poisoned is unlikely to suffer ill effects. More than 650 feral cat colonies and more than 3,500 feral cats have been placed through Cats at Work.