Friday, November 24, 2017

City Budget Passes, 47-3, With Three Uptown Aldermanic "Yes" Votes

The city passed its 2018 budget on November 21st by a margin of 47-3, with all three of Uptown's aldermen - Ameya Pawar, Harry Osterman, and James Cappleman - voting in favor of it.

In his weekly newsletter, Ald. Osterman says: "On Tuesday I supported the 2018 City of Chicago Budget that was passed by the City Council. While not a perfect budget, the budget makes significant investment in important programs that affect the quality of life for Chicago residents. The budget continues our efforts to reduce the structural deficit and move our city toward better financial footing.

The budget continues to make critical investments in public safety, both with the Chicago Police Department and programs for youth. There is a $76 million investment in youth programming, including expansion in after school, summer jobs, and mentoring programs like BAM (Becoming A Man).

The Chicago Police Department will continue to have needed funding to support hiring new officers to patrol our streets. There is $27 million in funding for the critical police reform efforts, including a new position of Director of Reform Management, who will help guide our ongoing police reform efforts."

We will update when and if the other aldermen write about their reasons for voting as they did.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Refugee Families Celebrate First Thanksgiving At St Thomas Of Canterbury

On Saturday, November 18, 120 refugees from ten different countries enjoyed their first Thanksgiving meal at Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement headquarters located in Uptown. The refugees are a part of Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program and receive services ranging from securing housing and employment to learning English and placing their children in school.

In a statement, program director Elma Kulovich said, “This lunch is us giving thanks to them because we understand their courage in coming to a new country and starting a new life. We are blessed to have the opportunity to give back.”

“It shows what a wonderful melting pot this country is,” said Robert Murphy, who has served as a tutor for refugee students through Catholic Charities for nearly 20 years.

Refugees in the program come from all over the world — Burma, Iraq, Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran and Afghanistan — and many don't speak the same language. On Saturday, they all came together to share a meal, celebrate community, and give thanks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

"3 Squares Diner" Slated For Lawrence House Retail Space (Updated)

1020 W. Lawrence 
Update: Shortly after our posting, signs went up in the windows of the retail space just to the right of the Lawrence House entrance. "3 Squares Diner" advertising breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as being open 7 days a week, will be coming soon!

We also now know that, according to the LLC filing for the business, the owner is Anthony Fiore, the famed restaurateur behind the hip and popular Jam Restaurant in Logan Square.

Original post: Rumors have been swirling for months now that a restaurant was planned for the retail space of the Lawrence House at Lawrence and Kenmore. We had even heard that the restaurateur was behind a very trendy brunch spot in Logan Square. That rumor has yet to be confirmed but one rumor has been confirmed. A restaurant is coming!

According to Chicago Cityscape, building permits for work up to $1,100,000 in value have been issued for 1020 W. Lawrence. The permit also mentions: "interior alterations, including: interior partitions, kitchen addition, two replacement windows, mechanical, electrical and plumbing work"

We will keep you updated.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Islands In The Street

Crossing Broadway at Racine will be a little less death-defying in the future. As part of the streetscaping project, a pedestrian island has been installed in the center of the crosswalk.

CTA Claus Is Coming To (Up)Town

After Thanksgiving, there are two ways to get into a festive state of mind, courtesy of the CTA: The always-popular Holiday Train and Holiday Bus.

By bus:

The antlers, they sleigh us! Ride with Santa in the Jewel-Osco Holiday Bus on various routes throughout the city. Exact times are not yet available, but we'll keep you informed.

The bus's exterior has a red nose, antlers(!!!), Christmas lights, and a "Ralphie The Reindeer" wrap. The interior leaves no space undecorated, with strings of lights, festive seats, candy-cane striping, and Santa and his elves holding court in the back.

The routes that go near or through Uptown are:
  • #92 Foster — Thursday, November 30
  • #22 Clark — Friday, December 1 (photo opportunities available)
  • #22 Clark — Saturday, December 2 (photo opportunities available)
The entire Holiday Bus schedule is here.

By Train:

photo courtesy CTAweb on Flickr
Double your fun! One bonus of having both Red and Purple Line both stopping at Wilson now is more chances to ride CTA's Holiday Train.

It apparently was on the Red Line this past Saturday, although the schedule was not up on CTA's website then. If you saw it, mazel tov!

It begins running on various lines around the city starting the week after Thanksgiving. It is due to be in Uptown on these dates:
  • Red Line — Tuesday, December 12
  • Purple Line — Wednesday, December 13
  • Red Line — Thursday, December 14
  • Purple Line — Friday, December 15
  • Red Line & Purple Line — Saturday, December 16 (followed by the six-car Elves' Workshop Train). There will be photo availability.
  • Purple Line — Thursday, December 21
The entire schedule is here; exact times will be added closer to the dates. The CTA's website says, "The train generally operates from about 1pm to 8pm on weekends and 3pm to 7pm on select weekdays (schedules for each rail line will vary), and will make stops at all stations along the respective routes."

Monday, November 20, 2017

New Laurels To Rest On

Wow! Take a look at the north point of the renovated Gerber Building with its restored terra cotta laurel-framed cartouches. To see how bad that spot had gotten over 90-plus years of wear-and-tear and deferred maintenance, check out the photo beneath it, taken in 2007.

November 20, 2017

September 28, 2007

Also, Alderman Cappleman tweeted the photo below today, showing new glass being installed into the shell of the Gerber Building, immediately west of Broadway on Wilson:

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Youth Open Mic Night on Friday, December 1st

Dollar Tree Coming To Former Unique Thrift Store Location?

You may have noticed that beige paint with green trim has replaced the mud-brown exterior at the former Unique Thrift Store (Sheridan and Sunnyside), which closed without notice nearly a year and a half ago.

The colors may be a hint as to the new tenant. "Dollar Tree - Sheridan" has received a permit to do renovations on the space, which is nearly 11,000 square feet in size.

Interestingly, Dollar Tree and Family Dollar are owned by the same corporation. It could be that this is the reason Family Dollar finally released the lease it was holding on its former storefront at Lawrence and Sheridan, even though the store closed years ago. It could also indicate that the company plans to establish a new presence in Uptown in anticipation of the Family Dollar on Broadway closing due to the new retail/residential building expected to go in at that location.

However you feel about Dollar Tree, it's better to have sales tax revenue coming in (and local jobs created) than a huge retail spot sitting empty. We'll keep an eye on the space and see what's going on.

All Aboard! Open House Sunday Afternoon At Uptown's Model Railroad Club

Photo courtesy of Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club
A few blocks away from the great big train project at Wilson, there's something much smaller and equally fascinating going on. The Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club is holding its biannual Open House this afternoon, Sunday, November 19 from 1pm-4pm at the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse, 4501 N Clarendon.

The Garfield-Clarendon Park Railroad Club features one of the largest model railroads in the country. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the train travel over 1,400 feet of tracks through the fictional towns of Summit, Georgetown, Bridgeport and Williamsport set in the Appalachian mountains. The club has been in existence since 1947 and has been located at Clarendon Park since 1963.

This free event features digital command control of classic and diesel HO model trains on the big Garfield Central Railroad that operates all afternoon. Parking is available next to the community center.

For more information on the model railroad club, click here.

Meet Your 20th District Officers On Argyle in Sunday/Monday Events

The 20th Police District is holding community events on Argyle through Monday, giving residents the chance to talk to officers about their concerns and insights.

Sunday, November 19th:
  • 10am - Meet and Greet with second watch officers and supervisors at Argyle & Kenmore
  • 5pm - Meet and Greet with third watch officers and supervisors at Argyle & Kenmore
Monday, November 20th:
  • Noon-1pm - CAPS Appreciation Day, with hot dogs given out (while supplies last) at Argyle & Winthrop

Friday, November 17, 2017

First Sip Cafe On Argyle To Open Thanksgiving Monday

Per its Facebook page, the long-awaited opening of First Sip Cafe (1057 W Argyle) will take place on Monday, November 27th. We can't wait!

GWNA To Hold Block Club Meeting On December 4th

Graceland Wilson Neighborhood Association is the area bordered by Montrose, Wilson, Malden, and Broadway.

Calling All Uptown History Buffs!

Each year, the Bezazian Branch Library honors the memory of its namesake, war hero Harold A. Bezazian, with a talk by an Uptown native.

This year, Al Walavich, a historian who's been conducting tours for the likes of the Chicago Historical Society, the city's Cultural Affairs department, and Open House (just to name a few) since the 1980s, will speak about Uptown's past and present.

As with all library events, it is free of charge.