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Showing posts from February, 2009

Another round for Chicago-Winchester neighbors

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The two buildings at 1916-24 W. Chicago continue to be topics of community discussion. The properties would have been razed for condominiums in an unsuccessful 2007 proposal. Both addresses came up in a meeting that Ald. Manny Flores (1st Ward) called Feb. 26 to get neighbor feedback on the 1916 property. Flores said he had not yet made a decision. CD One Price Cleaners and landlord Kenneth Lebovic both have asked the East Village Association to revisit its recommendation that Flores not allow a dry-cleaning plant there despite the prevailing storefront zoning. Board members feel the issue was thoroughly aired before the January membership vote. The alderman's meeting discussed parking and environmental concerns with about a dozen neighbors. The newer chemical One Price uses is a neurotoxin and skin and eye irritant, but less toxic than traditional solvents and handled in cartridges for safety. Flores rejected claims that this was a "green" process, but said the Env

SoKo boutique stays on Chicago Avenue

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A message from SoKo Fashion, 1925 W Chicago , was forwarded Friday to the CAPS Beat 1322 e-mail list, with a comment from beat coordinator David J. Stumm Sr.: “You have done a GREAT job of helping a neighborhood business!” Within days of announcing the closing of SoKo Fashion, customers came out in droves searching for answers & of course seeking out some amazing deals. It was sad to explain to customers that fear had invaded the air and the economy was raining on our parade. Lucky for SoKo Fashion though, 2 things happened: 1. Customers shopped like their lives depended on it (this was the much needed x-mas that didn't happen in December) and 2. SoKo was presented with 2 offers from customers who were just unwilling to accept that SoKo was shutting its' doors. The first offer was to buy the business. The second offer was to partner with owner, Sheri Roney. WooHoo! We decided to go with the latter and partner with our long-standing customer who has also bec

Postmaster to deliver an update on Wicker Park station

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Postmaster Gerrie Barnett Cambell meets Monday, April 6 with East Village Association members to give an update on a planned move of the Wicker Park post office. Plans to move the 60622 post office from 1635 W. Division will be discussed at 7 p.m. Monday at the Happy Village Tavern, at Thomas and Wolcott. Options may include separate retail and operational stations. The postal update is rescheduled from March. Previous stationmaster Carlos Johnson told EVA two years ago that finding a larger space was a priority in efforts to improve mail delivery. Service concerns have been a hot topic even before that year, when a postal audit gave Chicago low grades for overnight mail delivery and the postmaster general called the city's delivery service the worst in the nation. Since then, a new 60642 ZIP code was carved out east of Ashland Avenue (still served by the Wicker Park office) and a 1st Ward Customer Advisory Council was set up. (Its website indicates no meetings since l

Alderman Burnett supports landmarking St. Boniface

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By Scott A. Rappe A large group of East Village, Noble Square and Eckhart Park residents converged on the Chicago Avenue office of Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. on the evening of Thursday, Feb. 19. Their appeal to the 27th Ward alderman, one that they have made several times previously, was simple: Request landmark designation for St. Boniface Church before it’s too late. Suprisingly, Ald. Burnett agreed to do so, and even signed the Commission on Chicago Landmarks’ Landmark Suggestion Form. But the fear is that it’s already too late. The 90-day demolition delay expires March 4, and Burnett’s request won’t be on the commission’s agenda until the April meeting. The archdiocese could legally demolish the vacant building at 921 N. Noble St. in the intervening time. It is difficult to know whether this is a cynical last-minute attempt by the alderman to sign on with preservationists to avoid blame if the church comes down, or whether word of a potential development deal has made land

Casual dining planned for Chicago and Winchester

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By Billy Loumbardias I am interested in opening up a restaurant at the property my family has located at the corner of Chicago and Winchester. The Winchester, at 1924 W. Chicago, will be an inviting establishment catering to the needs and demands of the neighborhood. The space will include an elegant and open layout with a large dining area, bar and a gourmet kitchen featuring food prepared by Chef David Gray and my mom. The sidewalk will be fixed up beautifully with the exterior of the building. Flat-screen televisions and music set our overall ambience. We are looking to cater to neighborhood functions as well as charitable events, so I am requesting an incidental liquor license from the city, along with a "public place of amusement" license. I need the PPA for fund-raisers in the dining/private room. To collect any cover charge or money you need that license. Also, I need a music controller/dj for some events or if there is a game going on where the TVs will

February 2009 minutes

General Meeting minutes for February 3rd, 2009 Membership Meeting Submitted by Joe Hunnewinkel Attendance 18 Members: 11 Non-members: 7 Presentation by owners/investors of 1659 W. Division for zoning change to allow proposed boutique hotel. 1. Dan Sheehy of Third Coast Construction presented plans: 1. Business would consist of small hotel, restaurant and lounge. 2. Hotel would have maximum 14 rooms for low impact neighborhood. Hotel staff would be 10-15, restaurant up to 40 positions. 3. Construction would begin at least 10 months after approval. Stressed Green building focus. 4. Vote was proposed, motion passed 11-0 not to oppose zoning change. 2. April board elections were discussed. Membership showed no interest in forming a nominating committee. 3. Some discussion on progress of St. Boniface. Members are encouraged to contact Alderman Burris to landmark the church and school facade. 4. Members discussed ch

2009 East Village Association officers

John Scheer – President My name is John Scheer and I moved to the East Village in 1995. Since that time I have reached out to EVA for support on numerous occasions and in return I have invested my own time and energy toward a number of neighborhood initiatives. Most recently, I have become more active in a number of the neighborhood associations that border the East Village to establish a broader and more inclusive view of policies and directions for our members. I have also had the fascinating opportunity to learn firsthand how similar neighborhood groups are addressing some of the same questions in Milwaukee. I continued to see the value of the EVA organization to facilitate communication and a venue to allow the residents to manage the change within our neighborhood. I have been EVA president for the past year and would appreciate your confidence in supporting me as the next President of EVA. Greg Nagel - vice president My name is Greg Nagel and I’m running for EVA vice p

Brief campaign gets one day shorter: Next meeting Monday, March 2

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President Message by John Scheer  Just when you thought all of the campaigning was over and the election run-offs were behind us, it’s time for the East Village Association membership to exercise their voting rights one more time and vote for the EVA officers for this next year. We are not going to spend any money on TV spots and there are no town hall meeting scheduled. It's a much shorter election cycle than we've been used to lately. The March meeting is the annual EVA officer election and this year. It should prove as interesting as any prior one, if for no other reason because new members are stepping forward to volunteer their time and energy to be part of the East Village. We have two new candidates running for secretary and treasurer. Dana Palmer and Brodi Cole (be sure to read more about their biographies ) are both newer to the East Village and both have very good roots within our neighborhood. Both are women, which enables us to improve our diversity in this

Let's meet and vote on absentee ballots

By Marjorie Isaacson The East Village Association will be voting on an amendment to the Bylaws at the March General meeting on Monday, March 2. The purpose of this amendment is to restore the voting procedures to their original status. I reviewed this issue in an article in last month's newsletter, available here . To summarize the motion: I am proposing that our Bylaws be amended to remove the proxy and absentee voting. The vast majority of large and small democratically run organizations only permit voting by those in attendance. Furthermore, quoting Robert's Rules of Order, “proxy voting is incompatible with the essential characteristics of a deliberative assembly in which membership is individual, personal and nontransferable.” An essential point here is that an individual needs to be present for the discussion about an issue in order to make an informed decision on the vote. At our meetings, EVA goes to some trouble to provide a forum for stakeholders in issues to in

Poll tracks Polish Triangle from many angles

A 10-page online survey asks neighbors how they would change the Division-Ashland-Milwaukee intersection's uses and aesthetics. The canvass starts with rating the Polish Triangle's lighting, safety and comfort, followed by open-ended questions about the triangle's pluses and minuses. Participants make choices on landscaping and other decorations, kiosks and space for fairs or other events, CTA access, traffic lanes and surrounding stores. Finally, the poll links to a Facebook-style comment wall where readers register to post messages, photos and videos. The survey is part of a renovation initiative in early stages. A mid-March open house will solicit more comments, said Karin Sommer, project manager for the Metropolitan Planning Council, which drafted the survey. East Village Association planning chair Scott Rappe is on the steering committee for what he calls a "brainstorming" effort to improve the streetscape. The Wicker Park & Bucktown Special Service

January 2009 landmarks conditions for East Village & Ukrainian Village

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The following permitted work has been reviewed and approved by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, during January 2009. For a comprehensive list of approved work, by address, please go to: news.eastvillagechicago.org/search/label/Landmarks East Village District 1030 N. Winchester Exterior only: Replace 19 windows and 1 door. All work same as 1/22/2009 existing. All window replacement to be located on rear building. No window replacement to front building. No other work permitted with this approval Ukrainian Village District 847 N. Oakley Exterior: Replace 2 existing enclosed porches with 2 open wood 1/7/2009 porches as per Landmarks stamped drawings dated 01/07/08. No work permitted to any street facing facades, windows, or roofline with this approval. 1101 N. Damen Exterior: Rooftop solar panels serving one unit only, and remove 1/15/2009 and replace siding only on existing penthouse as per Landmarks stamped plans dated 1/15/09. Plumbing work associated with solar panels pe

East Village armed robberies alert

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The 13th District police commander, Judith G. Martin, distributed this safety alert on Feb. 11. Seven crimes that fit this description later were reported online this month on the everyblock.com website. There have been recent robberies reported in the area of the Division to Augusta/Wood to Leavitt. Various days of the week, various times of the day. General description: Male black, 30 to 45 years of age, 6'00" to 6'04", 200-230 lbs, brown eyes, dark hair, light to medium complexion. The offender approaches a victim, displays a handgun and demands proceeds from the victim. The offender then tells victim to walk in the opposite direction. The offender has been described as having a calm demeanor during the robbery. Safety tips: Call 911 when you see anyone fitting this description or anyone you feel is suspicious. Do not confront the individual. Should a robbery occur, take no action which would jeopardize your personal safety. If you feel you are being fo

Chicagoans get new furnace rebates

By Marjorie Isaacson Free money! The Chicagoland Natural Gas Savings Program is offering rebates on energy efficiency. The program is designed to help you purchase the most energy-efficient new furnaces, boilers, clothes washers, water heaters, and insulation. The maximum rebate amounts are: $750 for insulation, $600 for boilers, $450 for furnaces, $400 for water heaters and $100 for clothes washers. Here's how it works. You may be considering purchasing a new furnace. That's a good idea, since if your current furnace is more than 10-15 years old, it's using more gas than it needs to, and with natural gas prices where they are, you're really wasting money. When you start looking at new furnaces, you'll find that they operate at different efficiencies. It's common for people to install furnaces that are only 80% efficient, even though furnaces that are 90-95% efficient are also on available. A new furnace is a relatively expensive investment, and high-effi

Developers pump Division-Paulina hotel idea

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Neighbors met prospective builders of a restaurant and boutique hotel for Division Street at the February meeting of the East Village Association. A vote was unanimous not to oppose a special use for 1659 W. Division . But even if Ald. Manny Flores slates the project for City Council approval, the principals said it will be 14-16 months before anything happens. Pump Shoes and Accessories has a long-term lease at the southeast corner of Division and Paulina. Dan Sheehy of Third Coast Contstruction hopes to help relocate the shoe salon and upstairs single-room occupancy tenants. The city would have to approve the site for the restaurant and 13-room hotel, which likely would have rates near $200 a night. Sheehy is a contractor on "green building" projects and plans to build to LEED certification standards. "We've seen the neighborhood grow from kind of a sketchy place to a thriving neighborhood," said Terry Alexander, a partner in the Division Street venture w

2008 landmarks conditions for East Village & Ukrainian Village

These conditions were placed on building permits during 2008 in Chicago's East Village and Ukrainian Village landmark districts. Although the city Landmarks Division does expect neighbors to watch for potential violations, it does not post these conditions on site. East Village District 1110 N. Wolcott Exterior 100219662 Exterior only: Rebuild rear open wood porch, same size in existing location, front building only 1/24/2008 as per Landmarks stamped plans dated 1/24/08. No window replacement or other work permitted with this approval. 1134 N. Wolcott Exterior 100221917 Exterior: Revise existing 4-car masonry garage per Landmarks stamped plans dated 1/31/08. 1/31/2008 New Chicago common brick sample to be submitted to Landmarks staff for review and approval prior to ordering and construction. No other work to occur with this approval. This is a modification of Appl. #100179355 previously approved. 1139 N. Winchester Exterior 100228290 Exterior only: Replace 5 front windows (w
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