Friday, May 18, 2007

Uptown Banners To Be Unveiled...In Two More Months

Are we at "The Uptown Update" the only folks who will be glad to see the barren "blight poles" spruced up with new banners representing different neighborhoods of Uptown? This must have been a monumental task for the Uptown Business Partners, formerly the Chamber, as this project was announced well over a year ago. We guess good things come to those who wait.

From the Uptown Business Partners' Chambergram:
"Save the Date -- Annual Event July 17Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 17, 5:30 p.m. at the Bridgeview Bank Rotunda. Uptown United and Business Partners will hold it's Annual Event--UPTOWN, Flying High! Flying Proud!! where the new banners for the community will literally be unfurled. "


  1. Regarding blight poles... Why couldn't the alderman use a little of her "menu money" to slap a new coat of paint on them?

    For those who don't know, Menu Money is the "walking around" money the Mayor bestows on alderman to use for projects around the ward as they see fit.

    You would think a small portion of that Menu money could have been spent on painting your blight poles, adding more lighting to dark alleys, sprucing up our parks, funding some Clean and Green projects, etc.

  2. The banner program is on schedule, and has always been on schedule. It has always been the plan to unfurl them at the annual event. I just thought you might want to know. Also, I can think of many better uses for menu money (which is still taxpayer money, after all) than slapping cheap coats of paint on poles that are going to be replaced in the next year or two.

  3. I have to agree with the previous poster. There are something like 1400+ lightpoles in Uptown, a number of which will be replaced in the various streetscape plans on the horizon. I can't see spending the tens of thousands of dollars it will take to paint these poles when they'll be coming down at some date in the next year or three.

    Perhaps it would be prudent to contact the alderman's office regarding other ways to beautify the neighborhood. I live near Argyle, and after petitioning the aldermen we now have trees planted along the street. I suggest asking if there are resources available for plants/flowers/bushes as long as your block club is willing to maintain it.

  4. Anonymous,

    While there are streetscaping plans in the works for the 4400-4700 blocks of Broadway, this project has been postponed until the completion of the Wilson Yards project according to Alderman Shiller's office. Using the most recent estimates, the streetscaping would start in mid-2009.

    I don't think it's acceptable to let the light poles of the 46th ward rust. Light and traffic light poles are one of the most noticeable and basic parts of any neighborhood's infrastructure. Using the broken windows strategy towards crime, an appealing and maintained streetscape would deter crime.

    While there is limited money to spend for maintenance, it seems that many other wards are able to find the resources to regularly paint light poles. This is evident as your drive south on Broadway and west on Lawrence. To the best of my knowledge, there is no plan to streetscape Lawrence and the traffic lights and light poles on Lawrence around Broadway are in great need of repair.

    I hope that most people in the community don't take the attitude "it will be replaced someday, so let's not maintain it."

  5. Regarding the banners, I am pleased that the Chamber is working on them and I do believe an official unveiling is a good idea for the community. The amount of time it has taken to design and develop the banners is unreasonably long.

    Other neighborhoods don't have a problem maintaining attractive banners.
    Just to the south of Uptown in Lakeview, banners are changed quarterly to reflect the current season. Andersonville has the permanent metal banners that need less frequent replacement. It has been over two years since the banners have been maintained or changed in Uptown.

    Once the new banners are installed, I truly hope that the Chamber has a plan in place to maintain and regularly replace the banners to avoid torn and tattered banners.

  6. Regarding the banners, how do you decide what "unreasonably long" is? The design phase of the banners has been going on about five months, which does not seem too terrible a burden to Uptown, especially considering the SSA itself had to be organized from scratch. Oh, and yes--the banner program does have a plan to maintain and replace the banners.

    Regarding the light poles, it may be true that other wards find the funds to regularly paint light poles. However, Uptown is playing catch-up in this regard, and that is particularly hard with limited funds. I'm sure you can count on the new light poles being well maintained (just like the new banners). There is also a plan to streetscape Lawrence, by the way.

    Why am I telling you this, when you could just pick up a phone and find out for yourself? Have fun with your blog...

  7. Anonymous-
    We do pick up the phone often and contact those in question. Email is a great way to stay updated too.
    We seem to recall contacting Uptown United in November of 2005 and being told that the design phase of the banners would be started in a few months. While all this seems trivial, we question why Uptown upkeep and beautification seem to be moving at a snail's pace. We appreciate you mentioning Uptown is playing catch-up in regards to doing remedial things other wards seem to not have much problem with.
    We will continue to question why certain aspects of Uptown are the way they are and what can be done to better them. Thanks for reading our "blog" and we are glad it brings you as much enjoyment as it does for us.

  8. Anonymous,

    I view over two years as unreasonably long to replace banners. Sure, that is my opinion, so feel free to disagree. If one neighborhood can manage to change and update their banners every three months, I think that a new or updated banner every year or so is a very reasonable expectation.

    You also bring up a very good point, Anonymous, regarding the Lawrence streetscaping. You mention that it is planned. I did not know that. And yes, I do communicate with the Alderman's office, though I don't feel that I should have to call with every question or curiousity I have about the ward. I believe that Aldermen have a duty to communicate issues, both positive and negative, to their constituents. I consider myself a well-informed resident. I attend community meetings such as zoning meetings and CAPS, as well as subscribe to email lists and read relevant information online pertaining to Uptown. I would argue that I am much more aggressive in obtaining such information than the average Uptown resident. The reality is that I have to seek out all this information - very little is communicated to me. I think it's great news that Lawerence is going to be streetscaped. Why don't people, including myself, know about this?

    One last comment: You say that we shouuld "count on" the new banners and light poles being well mantained. Why should I expect that when that has clearly not been the case for the last 10 years? I want to believe that Uptown will be able to maintain the new banners and light poles, but until the chamber or Streets and Sanitation actually puts the resources towards the maintenance, I will remain skeptical. I hope I am proved incorrect.

  9. According to the Uptown United archives, they were still seeking commissioners for the SSA through March 31, 2006. With a new SSA, it's not surprising that it would take a few months to get organized enough to take on all these projects. I'm actually surprised that we were able to get Christmas decorations last year.

    Now that we finally have an SSA in place (surrounding communities have had one for years), I think we can expect a better response. It's the SSA that will be handling the banner maintenance and (likely) light pole "beautification"--not Streets and San.