Villegas gives migrant aid, public safety update

Alderman Villegas at kitchen island.
Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) offers information on volunteer donations.
By Jennifer Goldsmith

In a joint meeting with the Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association, EVA members met with Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th), discussed Augusta Boulevard bike lanes and rezoning options for Damen Avenue, and learned about a new local restaurant.

Ald. Villegas Q&A

Villegas joined directly from City Hall and was excited about the passing of a new paid time off ordinance, which he called the most progressive in the country. Discussion turned to housing Chicago's migrants. Chicago has received over 22,000 migrants since last year with little state and federal support. A new shelter is going in at 526 N. Western Ave. to house 55 families, including 55 women, 45 men and 100 children. Assessments are in progress to discover areas for volunteerism, donations and other needs. Please stay tuned to the 36th Ward social media channels for information.

Villegas was host to a public safety meeting on Aug. 15, but he didn’t feel satisfied with the information provided, so he invited police Superintendent Larry Snelling and Mayor Brandon Johnson to a follow-up meeting on Nov. 14 at the Ukrainian Cultural Center. Neither will be able to attend, but each will send representatives from their offices. Villegas also partnered with Ald. Daniel La Spata (1st) and Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) to send a letter to Snelling demanding a new police satellite office in the Goldblatt’s Building at Chicago and Ashland Avenues to bring a larger police presence to the neighborhood. Villegas also introduced an ordinance to re-establish pursuit restrictions in 90 days. This gives CPD enough time to undergo training, which Villegas hopes the State Police can provide.

The new Augusta Bike Lane Working Group is currently being formed by Kimberly Shannon, UVNA President, with invitations coming soon to those who are appointed. There will be 10-12 people in the group who will work directly with the 36th Ward office to provide feedback to the Chicago Department of Transportation. Villegas stressed the need for a citywide strategy for micro-mobility from CDOT.

Finally, Villegas informed attendees to be on the lookout for more information regarding questions on the March 2024 ballot. Questions are still being formalized, but there will be three most likely related to the Bring Home Chicago property transfer tax plan, flood mitigation and a cap on asylum seekers.

Damen Avenue Zoning

EVA board member Neal McKnight presented information about possible zoning changes to Damen Avenue as residents near 820 N. Damen Ave. have concerns about the buildout of the old Grace Auto Body garage into a restaurant. As it seems the restaurant that was planning to open there, Shake-It, will no longer be moving forward, some neighbors are requesting rezoning. The change will affect Damen Avenue between Chicago Avenue and Thomas Street and could impact businesses already in the area. More information will be forthcoming, and members may be asked to vote on a recommendation EVA gives to Villegas and the city’s planning committee.

Feld Restaurant

Chicago native Jake Potashnick has come home to open a new farm-to-table fine dining establishment at 2018 W. Chicago Ave. The focus will be on featuring local product by using daily deliveries to create unique tasting menus. Potashnick will offer 1 or 2 seatings per night Wednesday through Saturday, with a classic wine and beverage menu. Construction has started and is slated to finish in time for a May 2024 opening.

EVA and UVNA are excited to host a joint holiday party on Dec. 14 beginning at 6:30pm at J&M Tap. Please join us for food, friends, and fun!

Tom Tomek business card
Anselmo @properties business card,
Ask Nagel business card.

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