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Showing posts from December, 2008

Resolve to play a role

The work of this year’s EVA board is almost done. EVA bylaws require a new slate to take office April 1. The president appoints a nominating committee of at least three members at the February general meeting. An election follows at the March meeting. The president is EVA's principal spokesperson, runs its meetings and appoints its board. The vice president assists the president. A secretary takes minutes of the general meetings, and the treasurer is in charge of receipts, disbursements and an annual report on EVA’s finances. All are charged with accomplishing the good works outlined at left. Resolve to play a role this year: Contact one of the current officers from the email links on the lower-left corner of the page.

Throwing out Christmas tree? Chip in for garden

Chicago residents can recycle their Christmas trees by turning them into mulch. Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1400 N. Sacramento, is the closest dropoff point, according to the office of Ald. Manny Flores (1st Ward). From Jan. 3 through 16, trees can be dropped off at any time. Mulch can be picked up Monday through Saturday starting January 9, from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For other locations, call (312) 744-7606. Trees also can be left with the trash and will be picked up on the regularly scheduled day. Daily permit cost rises Beginning Jan. 1, 2009 the price for daily permits in restricted parking areas will increase to $8 per booklet. Annual and daily permits for Restricted Parking Permit Zones are available on the City Clerk's Web site: www.chicityclerk.com . Online purchases are processed in two to three days. There is no service fee. The city is also taking applications for sidewalk repair. The city and applicant split the cost. Apply by calling 311. When the budget is exha

Rising property taxes? Learn how to push back Jan. 6

Think your property taxes are too high? It's time to do something about it: City properties get reassessed in 2009. Guests from county government explain property assessments and how to lower them at the Tuesday, Jan. 6 meeting of the East Village Association. The meeting is at 7 p.m. meeting in the Happy Village tavern , 1059 N. Wolcott. Dana Marberry, community relations manager for the Cook County Assessor's office , will describe the process, outline the tax exemptions available for residential properties, and suggest how to make a successful tax appeal. If the county raises your tax assessment, you may file an appeal with the assessor's office if you believe it's too high. The assessor's office says you should think about an appeal if the new assessment is higher than similar properties in your neighborhood or there is an error in the assessor's data — although not all changes end up lowering tax bills. The assessor's office is not the only route

Chicago Avenue property back for EVA vote

A building that a developer wanted to raze in 2007 is the proposed site of a dry-cleaning plant. A proposal to allow onsite cleaning is one of two zoning requests that East Village Association members will consider at the Jan. 6 meeting. Cleaners Depot, which operates the CD One Price Cleaners discount cleaning chain, has signed a lease at 1916 W. Chicago, said attorney Thomas S. Moore. The business is asking the East Village Association to support a zoning change to commercial zoning to allow a dry-cleaning plant on the premises. EVA expended great effort to rid the area of such zoning years ago, said Scott Rappe, EVA's planning and zoning chair. Moore contends the Cleaners Depot process is more environmentally friendly than typical commercial methods. In October 2007, EVA turned down a proposal from Ranquist Development to demolish the building for condominium construction. In another zoning request, Jim Boatman requests support for a zoning change at 1744 W. Augusta . B

St. Boniface preview: Another date with wrecking ball?

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Closed for nearly two decades, St. Boniface Church again is in danger of demolition. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago rejected a purchase offer from Egyptian Coptic Christians and in December put the site at Chestnut and Noble on a three-month track toward demolition. A representative of the Coptic Assembly of America told neighbors that her congregation is still willing and able to restore St. Boniface as a house of worship. Support for reuse of the building across from Eckhart Park is on the agenda of the East Village Association's Jan. 6 membership meeting at Happy Village tavern, 1059 N. Wolcott. ( Update: Concerned residents were asked to contact Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. ) When the Roman Catholic archdiocese attempted to tear down the church and school nearly a decade ago, EVA fought for its preservation. Its research traced the parish to German immigrants who first developed West Town. Its buildings were the design of Henry J. Schlacks, a noted church architect and

St. Boniface history

The website saintbonifaceinfo.com makes the case for preservation with text from the East Village Association newsletter of December 1998. An excerpt: Rising majestically from its corner location, St. Boniface stands guard over Eckhart Park as it has for almost 100 years. It was constructed in 1902-04 and designed by architect Henry J. Schlacks. The park itself acts as the church’s forecourt and thereby creates its northern wall. Viewed across the park from the south, the full dimension of this important structure becomes apparent. Rendered in a solid Romanesque style, the church and its adjacent school building dominate the block on which they sit. The church is defined by its three soaring bell towers; their steeply pitched clay tile roofs provide an instantly recognizable symbol for the surrounding neighborhood and are visible for miles around. The base is made of rusticated ashlar block intersected by canted buttresses that extend down to the sidewalk. Its brick exterior

Architects tour St. Boniface, find it in promising condition

This article originally appeared in the EVA newsletter in 1999. By Scott A. Rappe, AIA Principal, Kuklinski+Rappe Architects In a welcome gesture towards finding a mutually agreeable approach to saving St. Boniface, the Archdiocese of Chicago extended an invitation to Alderman Jesse Granato and five community representatives to tour the church on May 5, 1999. Several representatives of the Archdiocese, including Father Baldwin, Thomas Brennan and Gregory Veith joined the Alderman, representatives from the Eckardt Park community, respected preservation architects John Vinci and Ward Miller, and myself on the walk‑through. We were prepared for the worst, having been warned of structural damage and being required to sign releases prior to entering the church. I am pleased to say that our worst fears were not realized. While weather, pigeons and the lack of an ongoing maintenance program have left their mark, the building has survived a decade of abandonment with little apparent ir

Christy Webber on NPR

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Longtime East Village landscaper Christy Webber was interviewed by National Public Radio senior correspondent Ketzel Levine for her Morning Edition series "American Moxie: How We Get By." The Dec. 22 report tells the history of Webber's business and her business' challenges in the current recession. The interview includes appearances from her son Oliver Webber and partner Jennifer Rule. The following day's story focuses on Webber rebound from a challenging contracting job, the installation of Millennium Park . The series on surviving economic setbacks has its own back story. NPR laid off Levine before the reports aired.

Times change, community endures

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President Message by John Scheer  Change and tradition. So many things change in our lives. Seasons change, and we are into a cold one now. Politicians change — at least they change offices. The stock market sure has changed. The East Village Association has changed, and I want to believe that this change mirrors the neighborhood's growth. EVA membership has added a number of new residents while losing a few older ones. While it may be difficult to say goodbye to those longer-term members, it's exciting and energizing to say hello to new members who have recently located to the East Village neighborhood. Their fresh excitement, new expectations and personal views keep our community group fresh and current. And then we have the traditions: the EVA holiday dinner and our family and friends celebrating the holiday festivities. As individuals, we reach out to neighbors that may be older or in need of help for either snow removal or helping them with daily activities that becom

Opinion: Zoning change at 1744 Augusta

By Greg Nagel In last month's article the owner of 1744 W. Augusta, Jim Boatman, announced his request for a zoning change from R4 to RT4.5. However, since his lot is 40 feet shorter than the requirement, he actually needs a zoning change to R5. Since the lot will be downzoned back to R4 and the need for the additional R5 verse Rt4.5 zoning is a mere technicality in my estimation. I believe I represent a moderate voice on the board and within the community. I'm pro- development and growth, but I want it done in a responsible way and balanced with the need to maintain a neighborhood that preserves quality of life. This project does exactly that. Its a more livable space for the tenant, its upgrading a 100+ year old building into a upscale rental property with all new mechanicals while preserving the historic orange brick exterior, its a green rehab which is good for the environment, and lastly it will raise property values within the community. There are arguments t

Library books a 2009 move to Goldblatt's

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The Goldblatt Bros. Department Store was declared a Chicago landmark in 1998 with active East Village Association support. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. By Aaron Bilton   Despite the city's financial problems, Library Commissioner Mary Dempsey confirms that the West Town branch will move in 2009 to the Goldblatt's Office Building at Chicago and Ashland avenues. The small storefront branch at 2300 W. Chicago will be closed and folded into the new library. "We are prepared to move ahead in 2009 on the new West Town Library and I understand that Consumer Services is planning to vacate in early 2009 so that we can do our buildout and get in there," Dempsey said in a letter. "I'll know more about a timeline probably after the first of the year. We are anxious to be in there as soon as possible." The full service branch library will be about 20,000 square feet, roughly 5,000 square feet larger than the new Bucktown-W

Make it happen: Join your neighbors in East Village Association

By Greg Nagel   It has been another successful year for the East Village Association and we are proud of our accomplishments and contributions to the neighborhood. We have received official word that a new West Town library should open next year in the Goldblatt building. EVA was instrumental years ago in saving this building at Chicago and Ashland from demolition. We have sent a loud message regarding the desires of the community to Walgreens and continue to influence the nature of the development of the old Pizza Hut site at Ashland and Division. We have had numerous great speakers in our meetings from the police commander to master gardeners, environmental speakers, and Aldermen Flores and Waguespack. And we have had some very fun events, including a great summer barbecue and a holiday dinner at The Boundary. We do need everyone to renew their dues for the year. We know that economic times are tough, which is why our dues remain unchanged. This little bit of money helps us
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