Oyster-bar fundraiser for Eckhart Park

Friends of Eckhart Park will bring neighbors together at a happy hour Nov. 5 at Bow & Stern Oyster Bar, 1371 W. Chicago Ave.

The event features oysters, appetizers and a silent auction to raise some funds for Eckhart Park's fitness center. For more information, visit the event's SquareUp page.

Take this Polish Triangle survey



Building on previous surveys, the Polish Triangle Coalition is aligning community input with upcoming Blue Line renovations and public space improvements coming to the Ashland-Division-Milwaukee area over the next two years. Results of this poll will be posted on the Polish Triangle Coalition website in early November.

Take the Polish Triangle Design + Development survey

EVA Monday: Vote on Division Street Christmas bar crawl

Will a young Division Street pub crawl behave like a grownup?

Chicago Christmas Crawl, slated for Dec. 13, gets an early test Monday: a membership vote at the East Village Association 7pm meeting.

Candidates for alderman also will address EVA. Andrew Hamilton (1st Ward) and Steve Niketopoulos (2nd Ward) will speak Monday, with others to follow before the Feb. 24 city election. EVA also is organizing a candidates' debate with neighboring groups.

There'll also be an update on Polish Triangle developments for Division Street, including the CTA's Blue Line renovation plans.

The Christmas Crawl's modeled after Wrigleyville's large and rowdy Twelve Bars of Christmas, known for mass consumption of alcohol and breakfast cereal, sometimes at once.

Crawl organizer Jess Loren, a former TBOC promoter, will field questions before the vote at Happy Village, 1059 N. Wolcott Ave. Loren tells RedEye it's aimed at an older, over-25 crowd.

The Division Street event promises its own quirks: A $35 ticket gets patrons bar admission starting at 10am, a Santa hat and a turkey baster.

It would need Ald. Proco Joe Moreno's signoff on a special-events permit. Wicker Park Committee gave an advisory OK last week, but the alderman seeks EVA and Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association votes as well.

The sponsoring bars listed on its website are Anthem, Boundary, Division Ale House, Folklore and Takito Kitchen, along with two "charity partners," I Am 4 Kids and Chicagoland Dog Rescue.

Also on Monday's EVA agenda are recaps of last week's Literary Charades library fundraiser and Special Service Area hearing, as well as apartment rezoning for the vacant lot south of Commercial Park at 1822-50 W. Chicago Ave.

Candidates face off, CTA gets facelift


East Village Association board minutes for Sept. 15, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

COUNCIL OF ASSOCIATIONS

The council's organizing aldermanic debates for the 1st & 2nd wards. Format:

  • Moderator (possibly moderator from last Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association debates)
  • Submit questions in advance to screen repetitive questions
  • Same question for each candidate
  • Time limit for candidates to answer
  • Have candidates provide a personal statement in advance (post them, hand them out to crowd)
  • Question ideas include public safety, zoning, planning, education

President Neal McKnight has reached out to Wells High School. Another possible location is the theater at Northwest Settlement House.

LIBRARY FUNDRAISER

Please get teams signed up (and/or sell spectator tickets). Prizes contributed so far are awesome. We are 10 days out. Sponsors can contribute cash.

SSA RENEWAL

In an email exchange with West Town Special Service Area program manager Kace Wakem, McKnight asked about the 20% PIN threshold (20% of properties, counted by PIN number, have to agree to extend the SSA). Wakem responded that they need 5% with the application and the remainder (15%) can be gathered between date of application and date of City Council hearing Oct. 2.

SSA Wicker Park also doesn't have a lot of signatures ("We don't have to worry about it because Moreno said he'd take care of it"). We need to have a strong showing on Oct. 2 at City Hall. It appears that aldermen Burnett, Waguspack & Moreno decide how many PINs are needed before the hearing. McKnight will send an email to the three alderman and the commissioner.

PLANNING, PRESERVATION & DEVELOPMENT

1947 W. CHICAGO AVE.: EVA asked for a restrictive covenant to prohibit certain uses on ground floor, and for restoration of the facade consistent with the EVA landmark district guidelines, in exchange for supporting upzone from B3-2 to be B3-3; this will allow developer to use the 4th floor that has been under construction for 8 to 10 years. (PINs for this property are now combined.)

The board raised concerns regarding whether the developer will use historically correct metals and windows on the facade, and who will police the restoration. The building is in the 1st Ward. EVA has only sent a letter to the developer. EVA will ask for list of materials from the builder.

1822-50 W. CHICAGO AVE.: The affordable housing issue has been referred to committee. EVA will draft a letter to the Department of Planning and cc every member of the committee, including the chair. Ald. Proco Joe Moreno said to EVA: "I won't let them out of affordable housing," and then later changed his mind "based on financial hardship." Relevant committee is Zoning Landmarks & Building Standards or Housing & Real Estate.

POLISH TRIANGLE

Rob Buono of 1611 W. Division will make a financial contribution for an improvement to the Polish Triangle. Food sales will be allowed. Advertising must exist on the Polish Triangle. The Chicago Department of Transportation has hired a third party to get community input and work on an upgrade to create community space and add revenue. The CTA is also doing a renovation of the L stop.

CDOT owns the land around the stairs coming up from the L stop. This will be a public/private partnership. Architect Jeanne Gang may eventually be approached. Ideas generated by board include: moving fountain (current fountain is not well maintained), build on the Site, etc.

OCT. 6 MEETING

Suggested business minute: Authentaco, First Midwest Bank, Whisk, El Metro. Aldermanic candidates: 2 candidates at the start of each meeting for 5 to 10 minutes. Will start with 2nd Ward candidates in October.

OTHER ISSUES

Short discussions on membership, contributions, website.

Leona's on Augusta has new owners ("Quality Pizza"), the food has changed. ... Club Foot – EVA needs to check current zoning and investigate liquor license issues. ... Inner Town Pub is seeking permission to put in a beer garden (again).

Historic preservation efforts by EVA continue. Preservation Chicago, Landmarks are looking at the Chicago Historic Resource Survey gaps and researching preservation efforts. In other similar cities, "certificate of appropriateness" must be submitted by the developers. Is the demolition appropriate? The developers actually have to prove this rather than constantly seeking input from the community as in Chicago.

EVA may seek to expand 90-day delay to 270-day delay, add green components. A draft ordinance is to be done by Sept. 22 and a draft package by Nov. 1. Lake Forest has 365-day demolition delay.

Meeting starts 6:30pm, adjourns 7:30pm at West Town Bakery & Diner. Attendance: S. Rynkiewicz, M. Van Dam, N. McKnight, KK Goh, Dan Johnson, Rich Anselmo, Gladys Alcazar-Anselmo, C. Garypie, T. Tomek, B. Foote, Elaine Coorens (Our Urban Times).

Groups plan 1st & 2nd Ward debates, festival disclosures


East Village Association minutes for Sept. 8, 2014, submitted by Catherine Garypie

WEST TOWN ALDERMANIC DEBATES FOR 1st & 2nd Ward

Membership consensus: It's a good idea. Chicago Grand Neighbors Association, Wicker Park Committee and Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association (Niketopolous is recusing himself since he's running) are likely to work with EVA.

Discussion on dates: Best time believed to be end of February 2015 for two debates (one for each Ward), one week apart, maybe at Wells High School. Some controlled questions will be used. Questions in advance could be solicited from each neighborhood association.

Petitions are due on Nov. 24. Some candidates may drop out. President Neal McKnight will work on the logistics.

EVA also will invite aldermanic candidates to speak for 10 to 15 minutes at upcoming meetings starting in October, two candidates each month.

Alderman OKs Fifield apartments


Ald. Proco Joe Moreno will support zoning changes for a 59-unit apartment building at 1822-50 W. Chicago Ave. Current zoning allows 39 apartments.

The project's in the City Council's Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards committee, and is expected to come before the Plan Commission this fall.

East Village Association members voted against the zoning changes on May 5. A letter to the alderman notes members' objections, and efforts to develop the property as an extension of Commercial Park.

The developer is being allowed to "buy out" of two of the six affordable units that would be required with this zoning change. It appears that Moreno will require Fifield to build four of the six apartments, but simultaneously allowed the developer to reduce a pledged contribution to Commercial Park from $200,000 to $100,000.

"The East Village Association believes that Ald. Moreno's approval of this project is a retreat from his longstanding commitment to require developers to actually build affordable housing in the 1st Ward," President Neal McKnight says in a statement. "The Fifield Cos. made no showing of a financial hardship and if the inclusion of the small number of affordable units creates a hardship, they should build within existing zoning.

"We continue to hope that Alderman Moreno will change course and seek and at a minimum seek an amendment to the planned development ordinance requiring the construction of all of the affordable units," McKnight said.

Raymond Valadez, Moreno's chief of staff, "believes that the developer patiently waited an inordinate amount of time, at the request of the East Village Association, while EVA and the Commercial Park Advisory Council determined whether it was financially feasible to purchase the land."