EVA Monday: Ashland BRT vote

Bus lanes along Ashland Avenue will be up for a vote at Monday's East Village Association meeting.

Members will vote on the CTA's Ashland Bus Rapid Transit as currently proposed: "Based on information EVA now has, is EVA for or against the Ashland BRT?"

Reflecting concerns about the design, the EVA board last month left open the possibility of revisiting the issue if the plan changes.

And changes are likely. The $160 million Ashland BRT proposal would restrict inner lanes to buses and emergency vehicles. Medians would stay in place. Bus stops would replace the left-turn lanes.

The city's new transportation commissioner, Rebekah Scheinfeld, now wants to keep left turns on some intersections. As the CTA's planning officer, Scheinfeld was responsible for the original design.

Money Smart Week at West Town library

By Stephanie Flinchbaugh

Great events this spring at the West Town Branch Library include a special local history presentation from the folks at Forgotten Chicago. Also, don't forget about Mom: the Letter Writer's Alliance will be with us in early May to help craft cards for Mother's Day.

Money Smart Week:
First-time homebuyers

Join us at 2pm Saturday, April 5 at 1625 W. Chicago Ave. as we kick off Money Smart Week Chicago. Participants will learn about the homebuying process and requirements for ownership, including budget preparation, credit management, documentation and the actual costs of owning & maintaining property.

EVA seeks Fifield apartment revisions


East Village Association board meeting minutes, March 10, 2014
Submitted by Catherine Garypie

Fifield Cos., 1822-50 W. Chicago Ave.

Steven Fifield made a presentation to the board on his current development plan. He's seeking a "no objection letter" for his zoning package, and wants to go before the full EVA membership April 7. Details include the following:

  • Rental only, not condo.
  • 4 stories, frame construction, parking behind building.
  • Floor 1 is commercial, floors 2-4 residential.
  • 59 units: 40% studios & 1-bedroom, 60% 2- and 3 bedroom.
  • Likely 1st floor commercial tenants are: daycare to the west, restaurant to the east. 2 shallow storefronts not yet filled.
  • Flexible on how to direct traffic to parking.
  • Suspects that Zoning Commission will not require 1:1 parking because of the number of studios & 1-bedrooms.
  • 5-6 ft of green wall between the building and the park.
  • May replace sidewalk & alley surface depending upon condition.
  • Leasing agent & live-in manager.
  • Architect is Pappageorge/Haymes.
  • Fifield will pay $200,000 in impact fees, may be able to direct these fees to Commercial Park exclusively.

Friends of Wells plans student apprenticeships

Epic Spices, 1725 W Chicago Ave
Epic Spices, 1725 W. Chicago Ave.

East Village Association membership meeting minutes, March 3, 2014
Submitted by Meghan Quinn


Business Minute: Epic Spices, 1725 W. Chicago Ave.

Owner Steven Tobiason lives in the neighborhood and has formal culinary training. He trained in the spice industry for 14 years and can duplicate spice from taste. He acquires products from all over the world and processes them in house, giving his customers maximum freshness. Since there are so few people involved in the process, he is able to keep prices surprisingly low. Tobiason also provides spices for many high-end restaurants in the area, such as Girl & the Goat and Nico Osteria.

The store is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11am to 7pm, and Tobiason welcomes neighbors to stop in and chat. Members attending the meeting touted the exceptional quality of Steven’s products and mentioned that he also sells ready-made spice mixtures for easy dinner preparation.

EVA Monday: Wells apprenticeships, new brewpub plan

Guest speaker for Monday's meeting is Matthew Sharp, who's leading Friends of Wells. The new group plans to connect students to West Town businesses for vocational apprenticeships by this fall. It has Wells administration support and is looking for ways to to work with EVA.

There will also be a presentation on revised plans for the Forbidden Root brewpub, and a new-business introduction from Epic Spices, 1725 W. Chicago Ave.

East Village Association board 2014-2015

East Village Association members will vote Monday, March 3 for the group's president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Additional nominations will be accepted before the vote. Meet your neighbors and take part at 7pm in the Happy Village, 1959 N. Wolcott Ave.

These people have volunteered for this year's EVA board of directors.

Neal McKnight, president – McKnight has led EVA for the past year after co-chairing uts Planning, Preservation & Development committee. The longtime resident of Chicago is active in a number of civic activities, and is a founding partner of the law firm McKnight, Kitzinger, McCarty & Pravdic.

McKnight's practice focuses on insurance coverage disputes and commercial litigation. This background provides him with a unique understanding of Chicago’s diverse communities and the culture of Chicago’s legal community. The Tulane University law graduate is a member of the Illinois bar, the trial bar for United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the bar of the United States Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dan Johnson, vice president – I've been an East Village resident for the last two years since my wife, Julia, and I bought a house on Winchester built more than a century ago. We've a 2-year-old daughter who enjoys walking around the neighborhood, playing at Commercial Park and eating lunch at the local restaurants. We're expecting another baby girl in April and look forward to strolling through East Village with another family member.

We lived in Lakeview for years and moved to East Village for a number of reasons, including the short commute to the Loop, the unique character of the architecture, the vibrancy created by the different businesses, the mature trees and the walking distance to a pizza place, gelato store, supermarket or bakery. I'm interested in preserving and enhancing the qualities of the neighborhood, both food and non-food related, that drew us here.

I'm a graduate of Amherst College and Northwestern University law school and I'm a litigation partner at a law firm. I grew up in New Jersey and have lived in Chicago for 13 years. That's long enough to learn a great deal about the city, but not long enough to develop an efficient approach to snow shoveling.

Kok Keng (KK) Goh, treasurer – I grew up in Singapore, a city-state island about 9,300 miles away on the other side of our planet. I studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, worked as a management consultant, and am currently an investor in real estate projects.

I moved to East Village just over two years ago and I’ve grown to love this neighborhood for its mix of inhabitants and blend of architecture. Serving on the EVA board has left me with a deep sense of appreciation for EVA’s role in shaping the neighborhood.

Catherine Garypie, secretary has been an East Village resident for seven years. She's been active in community policing and her local block club, volunteered at Commercial Park and Wells High School, and was appointed to Ald. Proco Joe Moreno's work group for repurposing the former 13th District police station. Garypie has been a member of EVA for several years and recently made a presentation to members about the federal environmental assessment process for the Ashland Bus Rapid Transit plan.

She was born and raised in Michigan, and attended college in New York and law school in Chicago. She's worked as an environmental attorney for more than 22 years in Chicago (1991-95, 2002-present), New York (1995-98) and Boston (1998-2002). She lives near Augusta & Wood with her jazz-guitarist husband Paul Kogut, their dog (Sparky) and two cats (Honey & Trixie). She takes fastidious notes at every opportunity.