Polish Triangle prompts call for unity; Chicago Bowl 'dead'

Native Foods Cafe, 1484 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Minutes of Oct. 3 membership meeting submitted by Stephen Rynkiewicz

Business minute
President Greg Nagel gave a brief summary of the East Village Association mission to start the meeting at 7:07 pm at the Happy Village.

Holladay Allen gave an introduction to the vegan restaurant Native Foods Cafe. The chain that Chef Tanya Petrovna started in 1994 in Palm Springs, Calif. has moved its headquarters to Chicago and the 1484 N. Milwaukee Ave. location, open from 11 am till 10 pm, is the new flagship. The chain donates a portion of revenues to local nonprofits during Tuesday and Wednesday community days.

Wicker Park and Bucktown
Current business initiatives for the area from Division Street to Fullerton Avenue and the Chicago River to Western Avenue were outlined by Jessica Wobbekind, program director for the WPB Special Service Area, and Adam Burck, executive director of the WPB Chamber of Commerce. Coming soon are an updated website and a new traffic plan and lights for the confusing Milwaukee-Wood-Wolcott intersection, to be implemented next year.

Vendors have been upbeat about the Thursday afternoon Polish Triangle Marketplace farmers markets, and Near North Montessori School is interested in landscaping and pigeon control at the Polish Triangle, the Milwaukee-Ashland-Division intersection. Vice president Neal McKnight asked if Bartlett Landscaping data on Division Street plantings could be incorporated in EVA's tree census.

Jessica Wobbekind and Adam Burck

Nagel sought details on WPB business development activities. Burck explained that sales-tax and credit-card data are used to identify and recruit particular types of business, but the Chamber board has not set priorities or design guidelines.

Nagel and planning co-chair Scott Rappe suggested that community groups should confer on a common strategy to encourage appropriate businesses at the Polish Triangle. They gave three examples:

• Kung Fu Pizza seeks a tavern license and C1 zoning at 1225 N. Milwaukee, even though restaurants do not require such zoning. Pulaski Park Neighborhood Association brought the request to EVA's attention.

EVA worked with Ald. Jesse Granato to eliminate the area's commercial zoning in 2007. Rappe said C-class zoning allows many uses inappropriate to the Polish Triangle, and tavern licensing is nearly impossible to reverse. EVA also requests that the former Washington Mutual bank location at 1555 W. Division return to B-class zoning.

• The Wicker Park Chamber approved a pawn shop at 1227 N. Milwaukee. EVA directors consider the use a step backward. Burck said its potential to improve the building swayed the WPB board.

• EVA sought a more active Chamber role in encouraging development at 1601 W. Division that fit the WPB Master Plan. Burck said developers of the former Pizza Hut site had not contacted the Chamber. Rappe said EVA prefers to weigh in early and head off costly missteps.

For the Division-Ashland site, Nagel said early intervention helped the developer identify a joint parking agreement with Wendy's that made apartments more practical. Representatives of other community groups applauded EVA's role after the developer presented a pro-forma plan Sept. 19.

Handbill contest
Attendees brought advertising fliers to the meeting to present to Ald. Moreno as encouragement to enforce the city ordinance on nuisance handbills. Sarpino's and Bella's are among businesses that may be subject to fines for improper menu leafleting. Tom Tomek, with the most fliers, won a Dominick's gift certificate.

East Village signs
1st Ward chief of staff Raymond Valadez is investigating how to install streetcorner markers, Tomek said.

Polish Triangle facing Milwaukee Avenue

Planning, preservation & development
A Polish Triangle working group includes EVA, Pulaski Park Neighborhood Association, Noble Square Co-operative, Near North Montessori School and Holy Trinity High School. Students would clean and landscape the park and keep pigeons from being fed, Rappe said. An informational kiosk is envisioned, and the Chicago Department of Transportation is pursuing a process to plant tree pits and license food carts.

Chicago Bowl is looking for other sites after soundproofing and environmental remediation for the performance venue and bowling alley proved too costly at 1850 W. Chicago, 1st Ward community outreach director Ronda Locke said. (In an email after the meeting, Locke said Ald. Moreno declared the development "dead.")

The city is evaluating whether to privatize blue bin recycling pickup. Waste Management is servicing 1st Ward alleys south of Diversey, Locke said.

The Ruxbin restaurant is seeking to lift the city liquor moratorium at 851 N. Ashland and is expected to address the EVA board, Rappe said. The meeting is at 6:30 pm Oct. 10 at Leona's Restaurant, 1936 W. Augusta Blvd.

The local CAPS beat will meet Wednesday; graffiti and theft of personal electronics are recently at issue, Tom Tomek said.

Ald. Moreno has asked to see the official plan to close the 13th District police station, Locke said, and a save-the-station flier was dropped on doorsteps this week. The discussion is reported here.

City incentives to lengthen the school day give local schools latitude in how to use the time. Locke said recess and lunch are being considered at LaSalle II Magnet School, 1148 N. Honore. Ald. Moreno supports the longer school day.

Kahil El'Zabar is scheduled to perform Feb 10-11 benefit concerts at Pritzker School, 2009 W. Schiller, said Stephen Rynkiewicz.

Commercial Park
Midnight Circus will give benefit performances at 2 and 5 pm Oct. 15 and 1 and 4 pm Oct. 16 to benefit the park at 1845 W. Rice, Locke said.

New business
The city is seeking ways to adjust alley lighting for better performance, Locke said. EVA is seeking a venue for the Dec. 5 holiday conference, Nagel said.

The city has suspended tree planting to cut costs but 311 continues to take requests, Locke said. The 1st Ward has helped place a half-dozen donated trees. McKnight hopes the EVA tree survey will give the neighborhood an edge in claiming forestry resources.

Meeting adjourned about 8:40 pm.
Tom Tomek business card
Anselmo @properties business card,
Ask Nagel business card.

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