Visit City Chickens!

This is the 5th year of the Windy City Coop Tour, a free, self-guided event featuring 29 coops in the backyards of Chicago and some suburban locales. The tour runs this Saturday and Sunday, September 20 and 21, but on Saturday only, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., you can visit chickens in our own ‘hood, at the Farmessori at 1110 N Wood Street.  

The Farmessori flock just added three new members: a Buff Orpington, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and an Exchequer Leghorn; in addition to the fabulous Polish Crested hens. If you’re not a chicken enthusiast, and haven’t visited the Farmessori, it’s worth the trip to see the garden. Farmer Joe Phillips and students and families from the Near North Montessori School will be on hand to welcome you.

The Tour Map and details about all 29 Host sites are on the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts’ website ( and its Windy City Coop Tour page.  It’s an opportunity to see more than fowl: First-time Host Eric Staswick’s urban farm/yard in Albany Park is home to chickens, ducks, dairy goats, and assorted vegetables and fruits. He says, “We keep chickens because we believe it’s important to understand the food cycle and where our food comes from. We want our kids to understand that food is grown, not manufactured.”

Angelic Organics Learning Center and the Chicagoland Chicken Enthusiasts organize the Tour so visitors can browse and learn from practical examples. According to Anika Byrley, whose family keeps chickens in Logan Square, “We love the Tour and look forward to hosting because we enjoy sharing with others how enjoyable, easy, and rewarding keeping backyard chickens can be.” Matt Binns and Margaret Frisbie in the Hermosa neighborhood. “We originally got our chickens because we thought it was good for the planet and a kinder way to get eggs. We found that not only are the eggs wonderful and wholesome, but the chickens are hilarious and fun, and not much effort at all.”

I can attest to that! Visiting the chickens never fails to put a smile on my face. The Farmessori chickens are cared for by a crew of volunteers, of which I am one. It's a great example of the "it takes a village" concept. Check it out!  

Quotes from the press release published on the web as 2014 Windy City Coop Tour PR.

Eckhart Park Walk for Fun

Friends of Eckhart Park plans its annual neighborhood Walk for Fun at 10am Sept. 20 in the park at 1330 W. Chicago Ave. Organizers are celebrating the park's new playground renovation and raising funds for an improved fitness center.

The walk will leave Eckhart Park at 10 and is stroller- and pet-friendly. Kids 12 years and younger can participate in the walk and a 100-yard dash afterward. Register your child on the day of the race for $5. Kids are encouraged to bring bikes and scooters.

Registration ($50 family, $30 adult, $5 kids) will include a T-shirt and coupons to local businesses. Family Registration includes two adults and their kids. Dash registration includes a medal, and fun.

Literary charades game night to benefit West Town library

By Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo

Gather your team now for the East Village Association's second library fundraiser, a Sept. 25 charades competition. Teams of four will “act out” book titles without speaking, while other members of their team try quickly to guess the title.

“West Town Literary Charades Madness” runs from 6 to 9pm at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave. The final four teams, with the fastest completion times, compete for the crown of 2014 West Town Champions.

Winners will receive prizes from local businesses and sponsors, plus bragging rights for the year. Proceeds from this evening’s event will be directed to future programming at the West Town Branch Library.

Event proceeds help library staff offer free programming that would not be possible without local fundraising efforts.

This year’s programming goals includes expansion of a children’s chess program that teaches beginners and pairs intermediate and expert players to challenge one another. The branch plans more hands-on events like last year’s spice workshop by Steven Tobiason, owner of Epic Spices; documentary film screenings; book readings with local authors, historians and documentarians; and music performances for young children, teachers and parents.

The West Town Branch offers monthly book discussions for adults and tweens, and conducts a regular toddler story time for ages 18 to 36 months and a lap-sit story time for children 6 to 18 months.

On the ground floor of the historic Goldblatt's building at 1625 W. Chicago Ave., the library opened Sept. 11, 2010 and is an integral part of East Village and the West Town community. It occupies 13,300 square feet of the building in a beautiful, loft-style space that houses more than 50 computers for adults, teens and children, and a group study room.

Children's and adult reading areas provide a comfortable, contemplative space overlooking busy and bustling Chicago Avenue. Their collection reflects the diverse and multi-cultural population with books in Spanish, Polish and Ukrainian.

Literary Charades

This branch circulates more than 9,000 materials every month and serves an average of 2,500 patrons each week in person. Direct services to early childhood, school-age and teen children total nearly 1,800 participants a year and the programs continues to grow.

For more information on the event, write Register a team, purchase tickets or make a donation here.

Website tracks Chicago building demolitions, teardowns

A page lists building permits issued in and near East Village.

East Village Association board minutes for Aug. 11, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie


Property purchases, architect discussions, permit applications: All happen very fast ... faster than neighborhood associations can keep up.

Steven Vance, a programmer and Streetblog Chicago blogger, developed a database of construction activity at Vance gave a presentation with Daniel Ronan, program coordinator at the National Public Housing Museum, and Ryan Lakes, an architect at Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

The database includes building violations and permits. The idea is to give more power to residents. The site's adding Special Service Area boundaries, and may track Tax Increment Financing dollars spent.

EVA boundaries have been added to the database. A subscription service provides weekly e-mails and allows tracking of an individual company (developer, owner, expediter, etc.)

Update: Discussion at this meeting led to a new feature: When you click on a place like the East Village page, you'll see a small link under the heading that says, "List all addresses and historic resources." This shows every address in the boundary, based on Cook County property tax billing information, and whether or not it's orange or red rated.

Division streetscape, demolition delay

Work to remove a tree pit July 1 for a sidewalk cafe was halted at the Red Square spa.

East Village Association board minutes for July 14, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie


TJ's is no longer seeking to land at this property. What's next for the property? Smithfield wants B-3-3 zoning. EVA position is that the zoning should be B-3-2. The upzone to B-3-3 that EVA agreed to several years ago was conditional.

Neighborhood residents should call the city & report it if weeds/garbage observed at the lot.

Reasons why TJ's pulled out? It's unclear. School community concerns and lack of involvement by TJ's seemed to be deciding factors.


A draft ordinance will target demolition permit delay. Several aldermen support it. Will move demolition delay from 6 months to 9 months. Aldermen want to learn more about equalizing the playing field via permitting. EVA is putting draft ordinance together. Will try to get other neighborhood associations to sign on.

Tech developer Steven Vance is designing a new database to help average citizen navigate city data. He has about 50 people on his newsletter. He has agreed to use East Village as a focus group. The site will have historic research data, county data, color coding, demolition permits and community groups within an area. He will meet with board soon.