Sunday, March 29, 2020

Grants/Loans Available to Small Business Owners (Hurry, Deadlines Are SOON)

From State Senator Sara Feigenholtz:

"This week, Governor Pritzker announced the creation of the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program.  The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.

It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.

The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here.

A Spanish-language application is available here.

Additionally, small business owners in Chicago will be able to take advantage of the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, a $100 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in Chicago.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees, have gross revenues of less than $3 million in 2019 and have suffered more than a 25% revenue decrease due to COVID-19 will be eligible to apply.

Applications for the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund will begin to be accepted on March 31, 2020. Businesses interested in applying for a loan should complete this interest form and they will hear from a representative as soon as possible."

Friday, March 27, 2020

Chase Park Construction Slated To Begin April 15

Construction fencing surrounds the entrance to Chase Park at Clark & Leland
With everyone shut in and with plenty of time to speculate, there have been many theories about why there is temporary construction fencing around Chase Park at Clark and Leland.  In light of Mayor Lightfoot's park closure yesterday, many seem ready to blame overzealous policing.  But in this time of uncertainty, there is a silver lining.

We have learned that construction is beginning on the Chase Park field.  This was first proposed several years ago, but funding was pulled by the Rauner administration in its final days and nothing happened.  Construction was supposed to begin April 15 to at minimum replace the grass in the center of the running track with artificial turf, much like the Wilson Field at Lake Shore Drive.  We are not sure what will happen to the running track in the new proposal, but it also may be replaced as part of the upgrade.

With the park closed for the time being, construction may be beginning early.  Total cost for the project is around $3M and it will be funded by the Clark Street TIF.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Wilson Club Update: Masonry, Roof & Salvaged Artifacts

An update from Clint Sabin, public affairs representative for City Pads' upcoming "Wilson Club" at Wilson & Clifton:

Dear Neighbors,

Work at the Wilson Club is progressing nicely.  With the warmer weather you're going to notice a
Wilson Club, 1124 W. Wilson
little more activity at the property.  Starting this week and lasting approximately three months we'll be doing masonry work on the exterior of the building.  This work is needed to accommodate more windows on the sides and back of the building, and to replace bricks that are falling apart and present a hazard.  This work requires the use of a lift which will be navigating the tight spaces around the building.  Unfortunately masonry work is dirty and noisy, so we apologize in advance for the inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.  The masonry work is not expected to be performed on Sundays, but will be done every other day of the week depending on the weather.  Fortunately, once the masonry work is completed most of the annoyances of living and/or working next to a construction site should be over.

The roof of the building should also be done by the end of March, which will help contain some of the noise taking place on the inside of the building.
Antique elevator found in the basement of 1124 W. Wilson (City Pads)
For those of you interested in Uptown history, the general contractor is taking steps to salvage the antique elevator which has been stuck in the basement for decades, and is also saving the original mail slots, both of which City Pads hopes to re-purpose.  Pictures of the two are attached.
Original mail slots to be re-purposed in Wilson Club
Please don't hesitate to contact me 24/7 if you have any questions.
Thank you,

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Five-Story TOD Planned For Parking Lot Behind Uptown Theatre

The current parking lot behind the Uptown Theatre at Lawrence & Magnolia

The NW corner of Lawrence and Magnolia has been a parking lot for as long as most Uptowners can remember.

The Uptown Post Office once stood on this corner, but it was demolished after the current Uptown Post Office was built in 1939 at 4850 N. Broadway. According the Historic Aerials, the old post office was demolished sometime between 1952 and 1962.

For close to 60 years, nothing has stood on this site except for a parking lot. That's about to change.

The west side of the 4800 block of Magnolia falls into Ald. Matt Martin's 47th ward.

A developer purchased the parking lot last year for $3.4M and JAB Realty plans to build a five-story transit-oriented development (TOD) with a total of 54 residential units (majority of one bedrooms) and retail on the ground floor. According to the 47th ward office, the retail space will be mostly used as offices for JAB Realty.  The lot is zoned B3-3, so it appears that JAB Realty plans to build slightly smaller than would be allowed by existing zoning. Because they are building within the current zoning, they will
I & M Construction will be the general contractor on-site
not need any approval from Ald. Martin.

Construction signage is already up announcing
I & M Construction as the general contractor of the development. Expect to hear the pitter-patter of construction soon as the project has navigated most of the city's building permit hoops.

This development will add great density to the Lawrence corridor, placing another 54 units within easy walking distance of the Red Line and multiple bus lines. Most important, it replaces a surface parking lot with residential units, filling in a gap in the streetscape that has persisted for nearly 60 years, and adds to the local tax rolls.

We have not seen any renderings of the proposed development, but will share as soon as we receive them.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Time To Spring Forward

Daylight Saving Time returns this weekend (2am Sunday, to be exact), so set your clocks to spring forward.

One less hour of sleep, never much fun if you have a kid or pet who's firmly tied to a 24-hour schedule.

On the flip side, it means that evening light will last until at least 6:30 next week, and we're really sick of winter, so we'll take what we can.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Book Donations Sought

From Ald. Matt Martin's latest newsletter:

"Are you taking care of spring cleaning this month? Donate books to the 47th Ward Book Drive through the month of March!

We always collect used books at the ward office to go in the Little Free Library out front, but this month we're teaming up with some wonderful organizations to share the wealth.

Books collected between March 3 and March 31 will go toward one of two organizations:

  • OpenBooks, which operates bookstores in Pilsen and West Loop, funds book grants and youth literacy programs.
  • Chicago Books to Women in Prison, which collects books out of Ravenswood Fellowship UMC and distributes paperback books free of charge to incarcerated people nationwide, focusing on all women and trans/non-binary people.

Please drop off books between 9am and 5pm Monday-Friday at the ward office, 4243 N. Lincoln Ave."

Census Community Forum Scheduled For March 10 At Truman College

Alderman James Cappleman (46th Ward) together with Aldermen Ariel Reboyras (30th) and Andre Vasquez (40th) will host a Census Community Forum Tuesday, March 10, at Truman College to make sure everyone in Chicago is counted in the 2020 Census.

The stakes are high for the city because Mayor’s office estimates that each person counted is worth $1,400 in federal funding each year for the next 10 years for community services like schools, hospitals, roads, and emergency services. Beginning March 12, households will receive a Census Bureau mailing with information on how to respond to the 2020 Census online, by phone, or by mail. 

Overall, the City is committing $2.7 million investment in 2020 census efforts—the largest amount of funding Chicago has ever committed to the census. Alderman Reboyras, chairman of the special legislative committee on the census, has been holding Census Forums throughout the city to educate residents on why it’s important to be counted.

When:  Tuesday, March 10, 6:00 p.m.

Where:  Truman College Cafeteria, 1145 W. Wilson Ave.

For more information, contact:  Lauren Russett, press volunteer with Alderman Reboyras’ office, or 315-857-8219.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

CAPS Beat 1913/Sheridan Park Meets Tuesday At Truman College

Reminder that the bimonthly CAPS meeting for Beat 1913 is tonight, at 6:30pm. Please note that it is in a new location in 2020: Truman College, 1145 West Wilson.

Beat 1913 encompasses Sheridan Park. Its boundaries are Broadway, Montrose, Clark, and Lawrence.

If you are concerned about crime in your community, and want to talk to the beat officers and CAPS officers about what is going on, this is the best place to do it.

If you have a concern that you'd rather not voice publicly, you can speak to an officer or a CPD civilian employee after the meeting.

Beat 1913 CAPS meets the first Tuesday of odd-numbered months.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Pick Me Up Cafe Moving To Uptown, Where It's "Properly Weird"

courtesy Facebook
The long-time Wrigleyville hangout PICK ME UP CAFE is picking up and moving here!

The owners of the quirky late-night restaurant say it will re-open in April at 4882 North Clark, near Ainslie (right next to Lincoln Towing), in the former Monticchio and Ceres' Table spot.

When we posted back in December about the new tenant coming, we assumed Pick Me Up would be opening a second location. But no, they're moving the whole kit and caboodle our way instead.

In its Facebook post, Pick Me Up says:
"Hi there everyone! Big news from Pick Me Up Café! It is an indescribable privilege to be a part of Chicago’s amazing restaurant community, and we feel incredibly fortunate to continue playing even a small role in your lives the way we have for over 23 years! 

Now it is time to announce a new, exciting chapter in PMU’s history. At the end of this month PICK ME UP CAFÉ IS MOVING and we hope to take all of you with us! Please join us in early April in our new location up the road at 4882 N. Clark Street. 

We will be serving up all of our classics in a fresh, new space! In the meantime, you can still catch us at our original location anytime between now and March 22nd. 

We are so proud of our place and the amazing, incredible staff. We love this community of misfits that have become our de facto family over the last two decades. In that spirit, we simply want to go to where things feel properly weird again and we feel like this new space is a great opportunity to become a part of a new community while keeping the soul of PMU alive for years to come. 

We’re still having a blast, and we are SO EXCITED to continue serving you and perhaps making new friends in our new digs. PLEASE, come say hello to us over the next few weeks, and come say it again a few weeks later at the new space – 4882 N. Clark Street. 

Stay tuned for updates and we will keep you informed about our grand opening in April. Either way, we look forward to seeing all of you soon!"
If you're not familiar with Pick Me Up, we urge you to check out its menu. They're open day and night; they have a lot of vegan and vegetarian options; the coffee is divine; they serve brunch all day; AND they're applying for a liquor license at the new location.

We welcome our new neighbor! We vow to remain "properly weird" for them.

Early Voting Opens Today

Today's the first day to vote early in the national/local primary election of March 17th.

You will have the chance to vote for Presidential nominee of your declared party, as well as U.S. Senator and House representative; Illinois Senator and House representative; Cook County offices; and judges.
  • If you want to check out who's on the ballot before voting, you can go to the League of Women Voters Illinois page here or Ballotpedia here. Both give you information on the candidates/judges and the option to save your choices to bring into the voting booth with you.  You can also check out, which gives the recommendations of up to 12 bar associations for each judge in an easy-to-read graphical format.
You can vote at any early voting location around the city, including downtown. You do not have to vote in your ward.  (On March 17th, Election Day, you must vote at your assigned polling place.)

Early voting sites closest to Uptown are Truman College (1145 West Wilson), Welles Park (2333 West Sunnyside), the 19th District Police Station (850 West Addison), and the Edgewater Library (6000 North Broadway). A complete list of all early voting sites is here.

Early voting hours are:
  • Monday, March 2 through Saturday, March 7: 9am-5pm
  • Sunday, March 8: 10am-4pm
  • Monday, March 9 through Friday, March 13: 9am-7pm 
  • Saturday, March 14: 9am-5pm
  • Sunday, March 15: 10am-4pm
  • Monday, March 16: 9am-5pm (six sites, including Welles Park, are open until 7pm)
If you're not registered to vote, but want to vote, bring two forms of ID to the polling place and you can register and vote immediately.

Get out there and do your patriotic thing!

(graphic courtesy of

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Pulaski Day Is Monday

Following the state holiday honoring Lincoln and the federal holiday honoring U.S. Presidents comes the City of Chicago/Cook County holiday honoring Casimir Pulaski.

  • Don't expect city or county offices to be open, from City Hall to aldermanic offices to Cook County Treasurer.
  • City trucks will not pick up residential garbage today.
  • Chicago Public Schools are open.
  • Chicago Public Libraries are closed.
  • County courts will be closed except for Bond Court.
  • Most banks will be open.
  • State and federal offices will be open.
If you're planning any interactions with local government, call first!

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Interested In Getting More Involved With Your Local CPS School? Join The LSC

Ald. Cappleman sent out a "Call To Action" on Friday encouraging residents to get involved with their Local School Councils. You don't have to be a parent or alum to help guide the future of the schools.

"Dear Neighbor,

Local School Councils (LSCs) serve as the representative body of each school, and are made up of teacher, parent, and community representatives. LSCs serve as a crucial democratic institution in our schools. They allow teachers, parents, and neighbors to make important decisions around each student's educational experience.

Local School Councils carry out four important functions:
  • Approving the school based academic plan (CIWP)
  • Approving the alignment of budgetary resources to the CIWP
  • Engaging in the annual evaluation of contract principal's professional practices
  • Selecting or renewing contract principals

This is why I am encouraging ALL members of our community to consider running in the upcoming LSC election! The upcoming 2020 LSC elections will be held on Wednesday, April 22 for elementary schools and on Thursday, April 23 for high schools.  Please consider playing a crucial role in our education system and supporting your local school community.

We are also looking for neighbors to serve as LSC election judges. Election judges will be paid for their time and are essential for a smooth election process!

If you are interested in running or serving as a judge, you may pick up the application forms from the school for which you intend to run or from our ward office. School information can be found below.

Applications to run as a candidate must be turned in to the school for which you intend to run as a candidate by March 5th, 2020. 

Applications to serve as election judge may be submitted to any CPS school hosting an LSC election or to the Office of Local School Council Relations by March 12, 2020.

While all schools need representatives, some schools have specific needs and would love your support:
  • Brennemann elementary is looking for more parent and community representative applications
  • McCutcheon elementary is looking for more community representative applications
  • Greeley elementary is is need of two election judges

Thank you for your dedication to our school community!

Our Schools Need YOU!
  • Joseph Brennemann Elementary School, 4251 N. Clarendon Ave., 773-534-5766
  • Mary E. Courtenay Elementary Language Arts Center, 4420 N. Beacon St., 773-534-5766
  • Horace Greeley Elementary School, 832 W. Sheridan Rd., 773-534-5800
  • John T. McCutcheon Elementary School, 4865 N. Sheridan Rd., 773-534-2680
  • Uplift Community High School, 900 W. Wilson Ave., 773-534-2875
  • Walt Disney Magnet School, 4140 N. Marine Dr., 773-534-5840

Questions? Contact the Office of Local School Council Relations
2651 W. Washington Blvd. Chicago, IL 60612

Friday, February 28, 2020

Alley Work Under Tracks West of Kenmore Starts Monday

If you live near Montrose and Kenmore and use the alley under the L tracks, this is for you.

As part of the Red/Purple lines modernization project, the tracks near Montrose will be upgraded. This is what CTA has to say about the first step:

"Weekday and Weekend Work

  • Monday, March 2 to Friday, April 3, 2020
  • The alley west of 4400-4466 N Broadway Avenue
  • The alley west of 4208-4364 N Kenmore Avenue 
Work Hours: 
  • 7 am to 7 pm, daily
Work Activity: 
  • Traction Power and Site Preparation
Local Impact:
  • The alleys may be intermittently blocked by construction equipment and vehicles during stated work hours. 
  • Vehicle access to enter/exit garages will be maintained.
  • Delivery access will be maintained.
  • The contractor will maintain garbage and recycling pickup.
  • There will be overnight deliveries to the construction site."