West Town restaurant sets table for outdoor dining

As Chicago began considering street closings for restaurant patio seating, Roots Handmade Pizza asked EVA to support its application to close from Winchester Avenue from Chicago Avenue north to the alley.

Members in the June 1 meeting on Zoom had questions about days and hours of operation, emergency vehicle access, table setup and takedown, supplier dropoffs and delivery driver pickups. They were generally supportive of discussing a limited trial.

With looting in West Town stores the weekend after the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association vice president Grant Chamberlain suggested staging a neighborhood cleanup once disturbances end.

The scheduled speaker, state Rep. Delia Ramirez, did not attend the meeting. EVA will not meet in July.

Quigley: Time to fund infrastructure

Congressman states his priorities in Zoom session

U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley says recovery from the COVID-19 lockdown might require $2 trillion to $3 trillion in infrastructure spending–not only roads and bridges but also schools, parks, Blue Line improvements, broadband access and shoreline protection.

"It's a little surreal we're over $3 trillion right now" in federal aid, Quigley told EVA members from his Washington office in a May 4 Zoom meeting. Quigley offered his staff's help navigating the Paycheck Protection Program and other small business initiatives. "They say it's a stimulus bill and it's not. It's really a survival bill."

Nursing home residents and people at high risk will need more protection, he said, with summer COVID-19 transmission expected to drop by only 20%. Quigley noted the budget sent to his House subcommittee cuts Centers for Disease Control funding by 18%.

The coronavirus poses global threats, he says–it could destabilize governments (one African nation has three ventilators, he noted) and invite terrorism. Quigley says federal priorities need restructuring, including immediate Postal Service support to sustain voting by mail.

"Trying to coordinate in the middle of this," he said, "is trying to rebuild a battleship as we're turning it around in a small lagoon."

Zoom meeting considers COVID-19 comeback

As restaurants closed in the coronavirus outbreak, EVA members met in an April 13 Zoom video conference

EVA's first Zoom meeting likely won't be the last. Members logged on in an April 13 video conference to brainstorm ways to support the West Town community in what promises to be a slow transition from lockdown to the new normal.

President John Gantner said donations to support local COVID-19 relief drained half the EVA treasury, and solicited feedback on other intitiatives to support. Members noted restaurant closings and delayed openings, and cancellation of the Do Division and West Fest Chicago street festivals. A thread on the Community Page for Ukrainian Village lists restaurants still open for takeout and delivery.

In a long lockdown, some temporary closings are likely to become permanent. Openings may come with lower occupancy limits, as in Austria and Denmark. And vulnerable groups will stay at home, holding down demand. Zoom participants recalled EVA's roots to suggest how the group might support smart neighborhood growth.

Future EVA meetings and Facebook posts will provide information on paycheck protection, resources for renters and other COVID-19 responses.

East Village Association to donate $3,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts

Organizations supporting local healthcare professionals, hospitality workers and artists to receive $1,000 each from neighborhood group

The iBIO COVID-19 PPE Response Fund donates protective medical products to Illinois healthcare workers and first responders.

The East Village Association, an organization of residents in the East Village neighborhood of Chicago, today committed $3,000 to help alleviate the economic impacts of the fight against the COVID-19 virus.

The donation is to be split among three charities:

  • Arts for Illinois: The Arts for Illinois Relief Fund provides support for artists and performers impacted by COVID-19;
  • The Lee Initiative: Working in collaboration with the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group Charities, The Lee Initiative is providing food support for Chicago-based restaurant and foodservice workers unable to work during this crisis; and
  • iBIO COVID-19 PPE Response Fund: The iBIO COVID-19 PPE Response Fund coordinates direct purchase of protective medical products to support Illinois-based healthcare workers and first responders.

“We selected these charities for their direct impact on those most impacted by this crisis,” said John Gantner, president of East Village Association. “Our mission as an organization is to ‘to work together for the common good of the community with a positive community spirit’ and this seemed like the best way to achieve that goal in these challenging times.”

Scott Weiner, co-founder of the Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, was appreciative for the donation: “East Village has been home to Roots and West Town Bakery for years and we’ve developed a great relationship with our neighbors. Their financial support for our program to feed restaurant workers will go a long way in ensuring we are able to continue for the duration of this crisis.”

The funds to make these donations were raised through membership fees over previous years. Membership in the organization is $15 a year for an individual or $20 for a household. More information can be found at eastvillagechicago.org

Ukrainian Village group presses to preserve worker's cottages

A developer withdrew demolition plans for 2047 W. Augusta Blvd. after discussions with the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association

Worker's Cottage Preservation in Ukrainian Village

Kimberly Shannon, treasurer of the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association, discussed efforts to expand the Ukrainian Village landmark district. In discussions with UVNA, a developer agreed not to raze a worker's cottage at 2047 W. Augusta and to place the house back on the market. Other worker's cottages and 3-flats are worth preservation as well.

Shannon asks EVA to support preserving such buildings by extending the Ukrainian Village Landmark District along Augusta Boulevard from Leavitt to Damen. A proposal has not been submitted, but the Department of Planning and Preservation Chicago indicate that Chicago may be more willing to consider blocks that mix new and old properties. Residents would be allowed to make renovations that aren't visible from the street.

Quigley, Hopkins give tag team report

Ald. Brian Hopkins and U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley talk to EVA members Feb. 3 at Homestead, 1924 W. Chicago Ave.

"A congressional report should sound like an aldermanic report," said U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (5th) on his annual East Village Association visit, this year shared with Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd). But Quigley slyly noted the difference: His office handles requests for White House tour reservations, but lately not so many.

"You will be angry you will be frustrated," Quigley said Feb. 3, anticipating the failed Senate vote to remove President Trump, "but accountability lingers and it does matter." Oversight from federal prosecutors and House investigators continues over money laundering and other issues, Quigley said. "Little land mines are going to pop up." He noted that Congress had appropriated $420 million for election security.

After pledging to target funding for the CTA Blue Line, Quigley fielded questions, suggesting that Illinois would have one or two fewer congressmen following the 2020 census and making a case for securing leadership posts. (Quigley chairs the Financial Services subcommittee.)