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 Homemade 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.

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 evafundraiser@gmail.com. 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

CONSTRUCTION DATABASE

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 licensedchicagocontractors.com. 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

1819 W DIVISION (SMITHFIELD/TRADER JOE’S)

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.

HISTORIC PRESERVATION ORDINANCE

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.

Literary Charades Madness to raise library funds

By Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo

The East Village Association will raise funds for the Chicago Public Library Sept. 25 at Roots Handmade Pizza, 1924 W. Chicago Ave.

This year’s event is a one-night charades competition. Teams of four will “act out” book titles without speaking, while other members of their team try to guess the book title. The objective is for teams to guess the titles as quickly as possible.

The final four teams, with the fastest completion times, compete for the crown of 2014 West Town Library Champions. Winners will receive prizes from local businesses and sponsors, plus bragging rights for the next year. Proceeds will be directed to future programming at the West Town Branch Library.

Mark your calendars, and watch for upcoming posts (here and on the East Village Association Facebook page) on how to register a team or purchase a ticket.

West Town Summer Learning Challenge

More than 100 guests celebrated the West Town branch library's Summer Learning Challenge program Aug. 7 with toys, school supplies and a cardboard zebra.

The challenge was designed to encourage children to read, reflect and explore the library at 1625 W. Chicago Ave.

Reading goals for each child during the 8 weeks was 300 minutes. West Town's top reader, an 11-year-old girl, read for 3,100 minutes. She was grand prize winner of s Kindle Fire provided by the Chicago Public Library Foundation.

This year's participation was the highest ever: 560 children. Beyond staff outreach to Erie House, Northwest Settlement, Talcott School and Noble Daycare, the program had 180 walk-ins.

The celebration was coordinated with the East Village Association and local businesses. Children at a craft station made masks, bracelets and peacocks. Pin the Tail on the Zebra and hopscotch offered chances to win prizes, and a snack station served pizza, cake balls and juice boxes.

All party participants had the opportunity to select a book to take home and received school supplies and book bags donated by the East Village Association membership and Ald. Robert Fioretti’s office.

East Village Association members Catherine Garypie and Ronda Locke assisted in coordinating the donations for the event.

Special thanks to sponsors West Town Bakery & Diner, Roots Handmade Pizza, Mariano’s, Cat & Mouse Game Store and Building Blocks Toy Store, who provided goods to help make the event a huge success.

Division Street trees, festival finaces

East Village Association minutes for July 7, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie
Aug. 3 EVA Block Party

800 block of North Winchester. Contributions needed - food, drink, etc.

Planning, Preservation & Development

  1. Fifield property at 1822-1850 W Chicago Ave. Alderman has been in negotiations. Owner-developer has an agreement about upzoning. McKnight asked for details. There will be a number of affordable units. This is contrary to EVA expectations and recommendations. McKnight will obtain more details.
  2. Trader Joe's update. Board met with Smithfield on May 12 and voted "not supporting" current proposal as presented. Questions sent on May 23. Smithfield has not yet responded. EVA Board has decided to send letter to alderman regarding TJ's development. There's now a zoning change notice on the fence at the property.
  3. Red Square tree pit. Ongoing problems with the tree pits (fencing gone, trees bricked in, tree pit being used for storage space for outdoor cafes). EVA and WPB don't want changes to tree pits and iron fencing. Alderman has agreed to get the Red Square tree pit back to normal. Red Square applied for the required permit for patio, but city had a hold on approval. Alderman said no on tree pit changes, and it appears Red Square did not have a permit. Other problematic tree pits: Anthem, Prasino, Moonshine, Smoke Daddy, Roots. Chicago Avenue has lost a lot of trees. Board will discuss further at next week's meeting.
  4. Forbidden Root. Zoning change and moratorium lift went through, according to Michael Van Dam. March-April 2015 is target opening for Forbidden Root.
  5. 1947 W Chicago Ave. Will be retail with apartments above. Details forthcoming. Developer is Barnett Capital.