Sunday, January 13, 2019

Give Me Liberty ... Tax Service!


If you've been missing Liberty Tax Service's memorable mascot at Wilson and Broadway, fear not! Lady Liberty can be found at Montrose and Broadway, and so can the business, which has moved to 4407 North Broadway.

Family Dollar Closes At Wilson & Broadway, Five Weeks After Announcement



Five weeks after it announced it would be closing, Family Dollar at 4613 North Broadway has locked its doors for the final time at that location.

The same corporation owns the relatively new Dollar Tree at Sunnyside and Sheridan, so it has an interest in Uptown. We are hopeful that Family Dollar will eventually reopen in its previous storefront at Weiss Plaza, which has been empty since it left in 2014.

According to Ald. Cappleman's recent newsletter, the long-delayed midrise at Wilson and Broadway, which will take over the footprint of Family Dollar's storefront, is scheduled to begin construction in May.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Aldermanic Ward Night Schedule

Ald. Pawar has announced that the 47th Ward's next Ward Night (after-business-hours opportunities to speak with the alderman or his staff) will be held on Wednesday, January 16th 30th, 5pm-7pm at the ward office, located at 4243 North Lincoln.

If you're interested in speaking with Uptown's other aldermen after regular business hours:
  • In the 46th Ward, Ward Night is every Monday night that's not a holiday between 5pm-7pm, no appointment required. (4544 North Broadway)
  • In the 48th Ward, there are no regularly scheduled Ward Nights, but evening hours are available by appointment. (5533 North Broadway; 773-784-5277)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Ald. Cappleman Recaps A Transformative Year For Uptown


The ward has undergone an incredible transformation in the past four years, with 2018 marking some of the most significant changes. This renaissance took many years of planning, and now we are reaping the rewards.

Improvements and additions stretch from the northern end of the ward in Uptown to the southern boundary in Lakeview, and everywhere in between.


OUR ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT
After being vacant for 37 years, the Uptown Theatre, which is the country's largest of its kind, will get a $75 million rehab. David Reifman, the Commissioner of the city's Department of Planning & Development, called the Uptown Theatre "the most anticipated restoration project in the city's history." I have made this project my highest priority since 2015 because of the economic development and job opportunities a restored theater will bring to the area.

Last month, we announced the Double Door and Baton Show Lounge will be moving to Uptown, and that news is already spurring economic development. Carol's Pub reopened its doors last month after a long absence, and very soon, Club Della Robbia will be opening next door to the famous Green Mill. All of these projects help to make the 46th Ward a premier destination for entertainment and create jobs for our community. 


BUSINESS & ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
More than ever before, 46th Ward residents have opportunities to shop, dine, exercise and enjoy entertainment right here in the community. The  Chicago Sun Times, the Chicago Tribune, and the New York Times have all published articles that speak to our resurgence.

New and rehabbed businesses for 2018 include: 3 Squares DinerAldiBrass HeartCrown Daycare CenterDollar TreeGo GrocerGet in the Kitchen, Human Citizen WorkplaceJ & N GrillePancake CafeFirst Ascent UptownHarold's ChickenWingstopState Farm Insurance. We are also looking forward to the Chicago Market Co-op moving into the Gerber Building.

LAKEVIEW IMPROVEMENTS AND INVESTMENTS

Lakeview has seen some significant changes over the past year. The intersection of Broadway and West Sheridan is completely revamped:
  • The Viridian residential building is now open at 734 W. Sheridan, a site that previously held an abandoned gas station;
  • A new, 8-story mixed-use building is under construction on the southeast corner. It is expected to be completed in mid 2019 and will feature a brew pub that serves barbecue on the ground floor, as well as Starbucks back at its previous location;
  • On the southwest corner, a new $475,000 playlot opened at Gill Park in the fall. The playlot, which had been in the planning stages for years, was made possible in part because of menu funds from the 46th Ward, local businesses, and East Lake View Neighbors. I was excited to steer this project to completion.
  • Nearby, Anshe Emet continues to invest in its facilities by adding a new building for its K-8 school.
My office continues to identify needs and make improvements in Lakeview, including new street lighting and public art. I was pleased to work with the residents of Alta Vista Terrace to significantly upgrade their street lights to more historically appropriate fixtures, to fit the appearance of this land-marked street.


INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS
  • Leland Greenway: After years of planning, the greenway is now in place and is a designated neighborhood bicycle route extending between Clark Street and the Lakefront Trail. 
  • Water main replacements: In 2018, the Department of Water Management replaced nearly one mile of the 100-year-old network of water mains in the 46th Ward. 
  • Street paving: The 46th Ward repaved over four miles of streets, using funds from the Aldermanic Menu program and relying on CDOT-funded projects.
  • Alleys: My office addressed issues in four alleys with either the installation of new Green Alleys or repairs to existing Green Alleys. 
  • Street lighting: CDOT has installed new LED Smart Lighting on arterial streets in the ward. This new technology provides a better, safer illumination, while also electronically notifying the city when an individual light is out of order. Additionally, my office is upgrading the street lighting on the 3600-3700 blocks of Broadway in Lakeview.
  • Sidewalks, crosswalks and pedestrian safety: These areas are major priorities in the 46th Ward, and damaged sidewalks were replaced in many locations in 2018. The Vision Zero agenda brought attention to and focus on pedestrian safety, and I'm pleased to have worked on the installation and/or reconfiguration of crosswalks in problem areas. Vision Zero also resulted in new ADA-compliant sidewalk ramps in our ward and throughout the city.  
  • Redefine the Drive: This month, my office will host a second community meeting about Redefine the Drive, a planning process for potential future changes to North Lake Shore Drive. I remain staunchly opposed to a previous proposal to close the Wilson ramps on Lake Shore Drive and have communicated my opposition to IDOT and CDOT through one-on-one meetings and ongoing community meetings. IDOT and CDOT now want to present new options to the community that both maintain Wilson Avenue's access to Lake Shore Drive and adhere to federal guidelines about the distance required between entrances and exit ramps. The meeting will be held Thursday, Jan. 24, 6 to 8 p.m. at Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, Larry McKeon Student Services Building.
  • New library carpet: In collaboration with the 46th Ward office, the Uptown Branch Library, 929 W. Buena, is undergoing renovations. The library is getting all new carpeting, a portion of which is being funded through 46th Ward menu funds. The library is expected to reopen Jan. 14. When it reopens, look for me at a children's storytime, celebrating the improvements to the library.
PARKS AND NEW COMMUNITY GARDEN
  • Hickory Playlot: My office dedicated $50,000 in menu funds to revamp the playlot at 4834 N. Winthrop, where the entire soft surface was replaced. 
  • Clarendon Park Community Center: My office continues to work with the volunteer Park Advisory Council and the Chicago Park District on options to improve the community center. With the passage of the Clarendon/Montrose Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District, $4.6 million was contributed to the Chicago Park District to use at this site. 



HELPING OUR SCHOOLS
  • McCutcheon Elementary: This school was one of only six schools in the entire Chicago Public Schools system without its own gym.  I knew how important it was for this particular school--with one-quarter of its student body experiencing homelessness and a program for children with cognitive disabilities--to have its own facility for health and wellness. Due to my and former principal Kram's successful advocacy, we learned that the school received $10 million for a new gymnasium
  • Courtenay Child Parent Center property: On behalf of neighbors, my office advocated with the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Board of Education and CPS senior leadership for the district to make changes at the vacant, flood-damaged Courtenay Child Parent Center preschool building at 4425 N. Magnolia. As a result of our advocacy, the building will be listed for sale in the spring and redeveloped. 
  • Music Education: I successfully advocated to retain the music teacher position at Courtenay Elementary when that position was slated to be cut in the 2018-2019 budget.
  • Local School Council meetings: I facilitate regular, ongoing meetings with members of all 46th Ward Local School Councils, where we work together to address issues and concerns.
  • New Principal at Uplift Community High School: I advocated for a change in leadership at Uplift Community High School, where enrollment had been steadily declining, and have worked closely with the new principal, Dr. Ty Graham, to reinvigorate the school.
  • Back-to-School: My office hosted two events at parks in the ward, featuring 300 free backpacks with school supplies, free food, and information tables from community organizations and city agencies
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
  • Sarah's Circle Expansion: I helped secure a zoning change and funding for building a new shelter and 34 units of permanent affordable housing for Sarah's Circle.
  • Social Services at 46th Ward Libraries: I worked with Amita Health to start a pilot project for social workers to work out of two 46th Ward libraries on a regular basis to help people caught in the cycle of homelessness. Because of its success, the project is expected to expand to other wards and libraries. 
  • Expungement clinic: My office partnered with the Vietnamese Association of Illinois to host our first-ever legal record expungement clinic. Participants met with lawyers, who provided an overview of the expungement process and secured appointments for participants to clear their records.
  • Blood Drive: This event collected 57 units of blood, saving up to 171 local lives.
  • Human and pet food drives: Our peanut butter and jelly drive ("Spread the Love") collected two large barrels of those items for Lakeview Pantry, and our second annual pet food drive collected 65 bags of pet food for them as well.
  • Senior Resource Fair: This popular annual event included free flu shots to more than 90 constituents, as well as information tables and links to resources. 
  • CityKey: My office hosted three CityKey events in the ward for the public to apply for and receive the new, free municipal ID.
  • Recycling: We hosted two paper shredding events and one electronics recycling day.
  • CityKey at Cornerstone: My office worked with the City Clerk's office and Catholic Charities to hold a CityKey event exclusively for residents at Cornerstone shelter, in order to help homeless shelter residents get easy access to the city’s new municipal ID. 

PUBLIC ART


Phoenix Rising (pictured above): Using ward menu funds and a matching grant from the City of Chicago, my office commissioned the "Phoenix Rising" statue at the intersection of Sheridan, Broadway and Montrose to give a nod to Uptown's past while recognizing the rebirth of its Entertainment District. Artist Lucy Slivinski relied on discarded bicycle frames to commemorate the love of and reliance on bicycle riding in the ward.

In addition to this art piece, a mural was added at the intersection of Dakin and Sheridan, along with a sculpture at the intersection of Clarendon and Broadway. 


PUBLIC SAFETY UPDATES
  • Safety Camera Installations: This year, nine new cameras were installed at Halsted and Addison; Halsted and Grace; Sheffield and Grace; Dakin and Sheridan; Clark and Irving Park; Lake Shore and Addison; Lake Shore Drive and Irving Park; Sheridan and Irving Park; and Lake Shore Drive and Montrose.
  • Additional Police Officers: For 2018, 67 police officers were added to the 19th District and 12 were added to the 20th District.
  • 20th District Police: This district--which begins at Lawrence Avenue and goes north--had zero murders in 2018, and the district's Tactical personnel had a 56 percent increase in executed search warrants leading to key arrests.
  • Lawrence/Sheridan Safety Committee: This group had its final meeting this fall. Crime has dropped so significantly in the area that committee members believed it was no longer necessary to meet. 

LEGISLATION
  • Affordable Housing & Aldermanic Prerogative: This summer, I co-sponsored an ordinance that seeks to limit aldermanic powers in the wards with the least amount of affordable housing. According to a study by the Metropolitan Planning Council, the 46th Ward is one of two wards with the highest number of permanent government affordable housing units. 
  • Flexible Housing Subsidy Program Ordinance: I co-sponsored this ordinance that prioritizes permanent housing for those who do not have housing and are frequent users of crisis response systems, such as emergency rooms. 
  • City's 5-Year Housing Plan: In November, I voted to support the city's 5-Year Housing Plan to create more affordable housing. The plan will be implemented by the city's newly formed Department of Housing. The city's new plan will provide guidelines and strategies to preserve and increase affordable housing, especially in neighborhoods that have very little. 
  • Ban on Bump Stocks Used for Assault Weapons: I voted with many of my colleagues to amend a city ordinance to stop the sale of bump stocks that are designed to increase the firing rates for semi-automatic weapons. I also signed a resolution that asked Gov. Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1657, otherwise known as the Gun Dealer Licensing Act, requiring criminal background checks for all gun shop employees. 
  • CPS Sexual Abuse: Earlier this year, the city's Committee on Education & Child Development met to address Chicago Public Schools' handling of situations involving allegations of child sexual abuse. At this meeting, I demanded that all adults who interview children be licensed therapists with expertise in child development as a measure to make sure these children are protected. In addition, I pledged to work with state legislators to establish a process so that children are not re-traumatized by cross-examination from attorneys. 
  • Office of Labor Standards: Last fall, I joined other aldermen to co-sponsor an ordinance that would establish the Office of Labor Standards. This new Office will be organized within the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and will be dedicated to enforcing the city's labor laws, including the Minimum Wage and the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. 
  • Police Reform: I co-sponsored the Grassroots for Police Accountability Ordinance (GAPA). I support GAPA because of the distrust of police among many people of color that directly affects our ability to work with the community to address crime, and I believe GAPA is an important step to address some of those issues.  
2019 AND BEYOND
The 46th Ward is one of the most ethnically and economically diverse wards in the city, with over 92 languages spoken and the highest number of affordable housing units in the city. With the growth we're experiencing, my goal is to ensure that the diversity that makes us unique is both protected and celebrated.

Best wishes for a wonderful and prosperous 2019,


Ald. James Cappleman

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

3 Squares Diner To Hold Industry Night Fundraiser For PAWS Chicago Tonight


Tonight between 5pm and 9pm, 3 Squares Diner in Lawrence House (1020 West Lawrence) will have its first "Industry Night" of 2019, a benefit for PAWS.

"Our first Industry night of 2019 is upon us! Wally Andersen (from Provisions Uptown and Rogers Park Social) will be doing the mixing, pouring and conversing.

20% off your entire bill between 5-9pm as well as proceeds of the Industry Night specials will be going towards PAWS Chicago - Adoption Centers.

Sadly, there will be no puppies or kitties in attendance but Wally will be crafting some signature cocktails for us you don't want to miss. We will also be serving up some special plates of food along with our full menu to pair with the cocktails. See you all there!"

Monday, January 7, 2019

Volunteers Needed For 2019 Count of Homeless Persons In Chicago


Rocket Tattoo Applies For Special Use Permit On Argyle


Thanks to reader Tony Harris for sending in the above photo of a sign posted at 1008 West Argyle (next door to the new Rhapsody restaurant) giving notice of a special use application for Rocket Tattoo, offering "body art services."

Residents living near the location should be getting notices in the mail about the application. If you have strong feelings about it, yea or nay, contact Ald. Harry Osterman's office.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Community Meeting To Hear New Options About Redefined Lake Shore Drive

From Ald. Cappleman's most recent newsletter:

"This month, my office will host a second community meeting about Redefine the Drive, a planning process for potential future changes to North Lake Shore Drive.

The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) are studying potential changes to North Lake Shore Drive from Grand Avenue to Hollywood Avenue.

Current safety standards call for Lake Shore Drive entrances and exits to be a half-mile apart, so IDOT and CDOT are considering changes to the Lawrence, Wilson and Montrose exits that would increase the distance between exit and entrance ramps.

I remain staunchly opposed to a previous proposal to close the Wilson ramps on Lake Shore Drive and have communicated my opposition to IDOT and CDOT through one-on-one meetings and a previous community meeting.

IDOT and CDOT now want to present options to the community that both maintain Wilson Avenue's access to Lake Shore Drive and adhere to federal guidelines about the distance required between entrances and exit ramps.

Please join me at the upcoming community meeting to hear the new options:

  • WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 24, 6 to 8 p.m.
  • WHERE: Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson, Larry McKeon Student Services Building

While actual construction is many years away--so far, funds have only been allocated for planning, not for actual changes to the roadway--your input will help shape Lake Shore Drive for the next century. I hope to see many of you at the meeting!"

UU Note: This is a long process and there have been community meetings about how to "Redefine the Drive" in Uptown and other North Side areas since at least July 2013.

But these meetings are where the decisions are made when funding becomes available. If you'd like to have a voice in the process that will decide Lake Shore Drive's future, we urge you to attend and make your opinions known.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Recycling Your Fresh-Cut Tree Starting Saturday; Free Mulch Available Beginning Monday

If you'd like to recycle your live Christmas tree, and get some free mulch in the deal, this is for you.

The City will be accepting trees (no wreathes or garland) at 25 parks across the city between Saturday, January 5th and January 19th.

The Uptown location is Margate Park (4921 North Marine Drive), where there will be a corral by the fieldhouse. Mulch is available beginning January 7th.

Not surprisingly, you need to remove the tinsel (does anyone still use tinsel?) and lights prior to recycling.

More details are here (on the City's recycling site) and here (on WTTW's site).

47th Ward Candidate Forum On Education and Community


Meet The 47th Ward Aldermanic Candidates


The Northcenter Chamber of Commerce, Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce, Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, Andersonville Chamber of Commerce & Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Lake View High School, are proud to present a candidate forum of the aldermanic candidates for the 47th Ward.

This is a great opportunity for the members of our business and residential communities to share the issues that are most important to them with the candidates that are seeking to represent us at the national level, and for candidates to share their positions on those issues with our community members.

Invited candidates include:
  • Eileen Dordek
  • Jeff Jenkins
  • Gus Katsafaros
  • Heather Way Kitzes
  • Angie Maloney
  • Matt Martin
  • Michael Negron
  • Thomas Schwartzers
The forum will be moderated by Janet Davies, ABC-7 Chicago. We encourage our members & neighbors to submit questions for the candidates to answer in advance of the program and will be collecting them at this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe3t5KHBdh6jaet_IFKvfjuvo5DanTIos0zYOCCobUdcwmMiA/viewform?usp=sf_link

Registration is encouraged but not required.

Please note that this event is for educational purposes only. The sponsoring organizations do not endorse any party or candidate.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Winter Wonderland At Montrose Harbor

There wasn't a lot of sticking snow on Sunday (a couple inches at most), but it and the bright sunshine combined to turn Montrose Harbor into a series of picture postcards.

From parents pulling their kids on sleds, to joggers on the Lakefront Trail, to couples strolling along the waterfront, it showed how Uptowners enjoy our glorious lakefront, no matter what the weather is.

Click on the photos if you'd like to see larger versions.

Enough snow to sled on Cricket Hill!

A rare look at the boat slips without vessels or ice covering the water

Downtown Chicago in the distance, geese and seagulls in the foreground

Many shades of blue on this spectacular day

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Corner Gas Station Changes Brands, Adds Convenience Store


The Shell station at the corner of Irving Park and Clark is now a Mobil station. A renovation that closed it for about half a year added a convenience store and new gas pumps. The automatic car wash remains.