Business district takes stock, neighborhood watch organizes
Dave Ecton stopped by to introduce himself and talk about the Dominick’s Finer Foods store at 2021 W. Chicago Ave., where he has been manager for 10 months. Ecton made sure to point out that if there is anything you would like the store to stock and don’t see when you’re shopping, feel free to ask. He's in his office at the front of the store most days from 7:30am to 5:30pm, and wants to be very accessible to the community.
The store just completed a remodel and brought 1,000 new ethnic items to the shelves. The store is five years old, and recently retrofitted lighting on Lee Street behind the building will help ensure safety and security for customers.
Tiles on the exterior façade with artwork by local children are unfortunately no longer there. EVA would like to see the reinstatement of some public art on the façade, and plans to send along pictures of the previous installation to get a conversation going about what could go up next.
Illinois enabled cities to create SSAs in 1970. An SSA is similar to a business improvement district and uses money from a special tax on business and residential properties within its bounds.
The Wicker Park Bucktown SSA started in 2004 and adopted a master plan in 2008, which can be seen on their website at wickerparkbucktown.org. The group is making a five-year review of that plan and looking to the community to help assess their work and suggest innovative ideas for the next five years. Go to the SSA website to fill out a survey and participate in this re-evaluation.
SSA #33 has a budget of close to $1 million per year, which goes to things such as public way aesthetics, façade rebates, advertising and promotion. There are five committees (Arts, Clean Green & Safe, Guide Development, Promote WPB, and Transportation) that anyone can be a part of. Paige said the SSA always looks for more people to get involved. Since 2007, it has given $500,000 in more than 80 grants to programs and events in the community.
An extensive parking study will inventory existing spaces, appraise demand and explore strategies to address transportation and parking in the area.
Open Streets was a new event that the SSA helped to bring to the neighborhood this year, with the help of Active Transportation Alliance and Chicago Loop Alliance. It was brought up that taking over the parking meters for an event such as that is often an impediment to making it happen, but ATA and CLA were able to help with that.
McKnight pointed out that EVA would like to see more proceeds from festivals go back to neighborhood institutions such as schools, as well as more outreach from event organizers throughout the planning.
Some concerns were raised about tree pits being bricked in along Division. While WPB SSA is now responsible for the care of the trees, there has been discussion as to whether they can reinstate these tree pits. EVA plans to join forces with WPB SSA and other groups to determine the proper agency to regulate what is and is not allowed, and to work on a plan to prevent businesses from encroaching on the tree pits. Things like uniform design standards and plantings around the trees can help.
2013 winter mixer
EVA’s annual party will be 6-8pm Friday, Jan. 25 at Banco Popular, 1445 W. Chicago Ave. Tickets are $10 and can be bought at eastvillagechicago.org. Appetizers & drinks will be provided. Bring a dessert to share. You can also be entered into a raffle if you bring a new member with you. All are welcome, and there will be hot cocoa and treats for the kids.
Neighborhood safety phone tree
Now that the 13th District Station is closing, a group of neighbors are setting up Ukrainian Village, East Village and Chicago-Grand neighborhood phone trees to help reduce crime. Anne Shaw is heading up the East Village area phone tree.
The trees are contact lists on a block-by block basis to have local contact with neighbors around you. When one of your neighbors see something that needs attention, such as a suspicious person, an open garage door, etc., call or text the phone tree to alert your local neighbors (after calling the police, if appropriate).
This will be a private list/group with an optional private online forum on Facebook for additional communication. All information is confidential and you share only what information you want to share. If you would like to join, contact organizers Anne Shaw (773-549-9500, EastVAnne@gmail.com) or Steve Niketopoulos (630-284-2617, firstname.lastname@example.org) and provide your name, your nearest intersection/address, and your best contact phone number and/or email address.
The CAPS beats are still being updated. More info to come.
Planning, preservation & development
1822-1850 W. Chicago Avenue: No update since last meeting. Chris Fifield will present new 1822-50 W. Chicago Ave. plans to the EVA board, tentatively at 6:30pm Monday in Leona's restaurant, 1936 W. Augusta Blvd.
Public Place of Amusement licenses allow establishments to charge a cover, as well as have live music and/or games. Fatpour has requested one as well as Bob San. There are usually signs posted on the storefront, so bring them up at EVA meetings if you see a notice and are concerned, and we can discuss. There may need to be some strategic planning around this issue as many businesses have been applying for them after opening as a restaurant.
The principal, Suzanne Velasquez-Sheehy, has resigned to start five new charter high schools, which Chicago desperately needs. The school is looking for a replacement.
The Facebook stream is now on the website, and there is another subscription so you can be notified when new items are posted. You can also buy a ticket for the 2013 winter mixer for only $10.
There is a Skate Party for kids on Jan. 21. Suzi Wahl will put a post on the East Village Facebook page with more details. A Family Movie Night is coming up in February. Don’t forget about yoga at 6:30pm every Thursday for a $5 donation. Check out the website commercialpark.org for more on all activities.
Meeting commenced at 7:05pm, adjourned 8:15pm in Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott: Board members Neal McKnight, Peter Locke, KK Goh, Meghan Quinn, Scott Rappe, Stephen Rynkiewicz, Gladys Anselmo, Tom Tomek; also Suzi Wahl, Marjorie Isaacson, more.