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Vote early! 1st Ward participatory budgeting

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A snowplow clears the Polish Triangle at Division and Ashland. A participatory budgeting proposal would explore plaza beautification. Here's your chance to spend $1 million on street work. By Marjorie Isaacson It’s time to vote! No, not in that election, the one for mayor and alderman on Feb. 28. For 1st Ward residents, this is an opportunity to spend $1 million in ward infrastructure money. Participatory budgeting is a resident-led vote to identify and fund projects that are important to the community. Ideas are solicited, then a team of volunteer residents reviews them and develops them into proposals, then residents can choose their preferences. Voting is underway now and closes Feb. 5. The highest voted-on projects listed are what the alder will spend the money on, maybe with some adjusting to stay within the $1 million limit. Whether the projects get done will be subject to many things, but straightforward ones will be done&mdassh;if more votes come in for street r

Participatory budgeting returns in 1st Ward

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By Marjorie Isaacson Do you have an idea for an infrastructure improvement in the 1st Ward? Some of your neighbors do, and they are trying to get them funded in next year’s city budget. Here are some of the proposals from the 1st Ward Participatory Budgeting process: Alley repairs along Western and Artesian, north of Wabansia Curbs and sidewalks on the 1300 block of North Moorman Playlot or dog park at 1607-11 W. Chicago There are 76 proposals registered on the Participatory Budgeting website. The time for submitting ideas has been extended, and additional ideas can be added until Oct. 5.

Ald. Villegas gets to know East Village

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36th Ward Ald. Gilbert Villegas meets East Vlllage Association members Sept. 12, 2022 at Roots Pizza. East Village Association membership meeting Sept. 12, 2022, at Roots Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. Presiding: Dan Johnson, director East Village again is split in Chicago's City Council redistricting. Ald. Gilbert Villegas introduced himself to East Village Association members Sept. 12. In turn, members sounded him out on how he works with community groups on neighborhood issues. The remap pushes Villegas' 36th Ward boundaries east along Grand Avenue from Belmont Cragin into East Village. A West Town satellite office at 2246 W. Chicago Ave. is staffed Tuesday through Thursday. "I ran in 2019 under an acronym that I still use today, which is PEACE—Public Safety, Education Accountability, City Services and Economic Development," Villegas told EVA members before taking questions. "I'm not an alderman that's about defunding the police. I'm an alderma

Chicago Police commanders field questions

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Chicago Police commanders Beth Giltmier and Elizabeth Collazo meet for EVA's July 18 Q&A session at city offices in the Goldblatt's Building, 1615 W. Chicago Ave. Community Chicago Police commanders Beth Giltmier (12th District) and Elizabeth Collazo (14th District) fielded questions from West Town residents July 18. The 14th District is working to secure an additional remote camera to monitor violence and vehicle crime, Collazo said. Blue-light cameras are constantly monitored from a strategic decision center. Last year, Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st Ward) helped secure funding for cameras and license plate readers on Milwaukee Avenue at the Wood and North-Damen intersections. Police are also making more traffic stops, Giltmier said, and squad cars may turn on their blue lights for added visibility. "In government we're always going to be fighting for resources," Giltmier said. "What's your priority for this area? If you're thinking you're

Crime puts La Spata on the spot

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Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st Ward) speaks to East Village Association members June 13, 2022. Weekend gunfire turned a scheduled meeting with Ald. Daniel LaSpata into an hourlong discussion of public safety. Residents pressed the alderman on police response to calls and his own response to violent crime. The June 13 meeting was streamed on EVA's Facebook page . La Spata stated that the number of aggravated batteries and carjackings had fallen in East Village's two beats but a rise of robberies had been "frustrating." In weekly calls with 12th District Cmdr. Beth Giltmier, La Spata said he pushed for Chicago Avenue foot patrols. Residents asked if more street cameras would be installed in the ward, noting that early morning shots fired on their block two days before had no police response for more than an hour. La Spata said cameras were funded from the ward's discretionary "menu money" but he would not commit to funding cameras without consulting Giltmi

Wood Street bike lane update ahead

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Plans are in motion to repave Wood Street, but with few details about separate bicycle lanes. East Village Association membership meeting May 2, 2022, Roots Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. Presiding: Bob Zwolinski, treasurer Wheels are turning on Wood Street's proposed bicycle lanes. The Chicago Department of Transportation has not presented a plan and EVA has been unable to connect with CDOT, but Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st Ward) expects details to emerge in the next month. "On the Wood Street bike lane, please know that CDOT continues to have this project under review," La Spata wrote EVA via email. "All of the feedback we receive from residents continues to be passed on. Whenever CDOT comes back to us with design alternatives, we will make sure to notify the public." La Spata asked for time to present to EVA members at the June meeeting and expects by then to "have clarity" on the project. One group of neighbors are circulating fliers for an onlin
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