Sunday, August 17, 2008

Graeme Stewart Park Nearing Completion

A reader sent in a photo this morning from Graeme Stewart Park near Broadway and Sunnyside. Mmmmmm, that grass looks so green and soft. Looks like the perfect spot to take a nap, or maybe take a load off. To be continued.


  1. that's funny, but true!

    Dumb 'Sheridan Park' a defined
    area of Uptown, or is it just better sounding
    name for the area?
    I always wondered..

  2. Sheridan Park is an sub-neighborhood of Uptown that from what I am told, extends from about Clark to Broadway (E-W coordinates) and from Lawrence to Montrose (N-S). Some say the N-S coordinates are from Irving Park to Montrose though, but I don't think that's correct.

  3. I thought those were Uptown's cross streets.

  4. For people who are really interested, you can find beautiful maps of the original 75 community areas or the present official 77 community areas as posters in bookstores and frame shops. I collect maps and I bought one for my home. Here is a link that shows and explains the official community areas:

    Official Community Areas

    Chicago gained two when O'Hare expanded and when Edgewater officially seceded from Uptown. It is amusing that there is almost a movement afoot to have Sheridan Park secede but I don't think it will happen! Wouldn't it be nice if the name "Uptown" was said with pride?

    In some of these posters you can see the small subsets of the community areas like Andersonville which most Chicagoans think is an official community area but it is not. As to actual boundaries for Sheridan Park I think I remember that Wikipedia had something on that.

    Sorry for the long post or if everyone knows all of this already. I just have a weird interest in the Chicago community areas.

  5. Back to the park, it DOES look nice, IMO. Hopefully, it will stay that way for the kids.

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  7. I am glad you liked the link. It is where I learned that Uptown has been a filming location for over 480 movies. WOW! I wish we could find out what they all are and if many of them are those old endangered films that the Academy of Motion Pictures always talks about during Oscar broadcasts. My dream: to see them with my neighbors in the newly restored Uptown Theater.

  8. Dear Saskia: Probably a good percentage of those movies were made in the silent days, when Charlie Chaplin held court at the Essanay Studios on Argyle, now part of St. Augustine College. There was also a silent-movie studio on Claremont just south of Irving Park Road. It's been a residential loft building for several years now (cool lofts, by the way!). They probably did some of their filming in Uptown as well; also some studios that were headquartered in what are now loft buildings in the South Loop.

  9. Graeme Stewart Park is not zoned as a park nor is it owned by the Park District.


  10. I think we should reserve the term "park" for areas with the protections of both a POS ("parks and open space") zoning and the ownership of the Chicago Park District.

  11. Gee, I think someone forgot to put the artificial turf in. Well, I guess the lie did help sell the idea to City Hall when they passed the TIF increase. I personally prefer grass, but the newly laid sod hasn't been watered and 2 bits says it will be dead in another week.

    (Hint here to Helen) When you have sod laid in August, you have to have someone water it.

  12. I went to a meeting at this school where the plans for the park were discussed and "approved".

    Of course, nobody knew about the meeting. I only knew about it through a neighbor who was on the local school council.

    Oh, what a meeting it was!

    The plans were lovely, and it seemed the physical structures and work were thought through. I made sure I gushed over how nice the plans were and how beautiful the park surely would be before I raised a few points, such as...

    "Who will take care of the grass, the flowers, the maintenance of the fences? Surely there is extra work to be done."

    "Who will provide security to make sure nobody is sleeping in the school's park, or doing anything that would create safety concerns?"

    I reminded the meeting attendees that the money for the park came from the TIF, and that taxpayers footed the bill - the taxpayers deserved some accountability.


    You'd think I was the anti-christ by the reaction of the school's principal.

    "I don't care where the money comes from!"

    "You're not going to take away my park!"

    "This is tax money just like any other tax money! How is it any different than any other money the schools spend! This money comes from CPS!"

    I threw up my hands and said, "I love your park plans, but I don't think all the details have been thought through."

    I then politely and quietly left the room. This park was going to happen in the manner it was prescribed to, and nobody but nobody was going to make anyone question the ongoing maintenance of the park or the security of the park.

    If and when issues about this "non-park park" start cropping up, you'll all know that the issues were raised, and that horrible, horrible principal turned it into a stupid fight over "my money and my park" rather than deal with real and potentially significant issues.

  13. On a positive note I've walked/driven past this site multiple times very recently and the loiterers that had been hanging under the tree/next to the fence seem to have dispursed. Hopefully its for good now that the park is open.

  14. I think this park looks great. I'm glad they put that new sidewalk in, before it was an odd unusable dead end road. Unfortunately, I walk past here every day on my way home from the el and the loiterers sitting under the no loitering signs have returned. Perhaps they are waiting for the grand opening celebration?

  15. Those were all good points to raise, secret squirrel, and I hope that somebody listened. If I have to pick up one more used condom out of a children's playlot I am going to go berserk.

  16. Discuss amongst it a good thing or a bad thing that this new park (and several others throughout the city as well) does not appear to have a public restroom facility? Perhaps there will be porta-potties in the summer (high-usage) months like at some other restroom-challenged sites?
    An important consideration for anyone who has (or was!) a child.

  17. an exercise:

    try to find "Graeme Stewart" on the Chicago Park District website

    hope you like the principal's attitude

    who ya gonna call?

  18. yeah, the sod is almost dead but the turf looks great.

  19. I think all the children will enjoy seeing all the drunks, prostitutes, crack heads and methodone addicts that frequent that particular block. Who thought it would be a good idea to put a playground on busy Broadway Ave. Everything about this screams idiocy.

  20. Am happy it done before school starts.

  21. Helen truly believes her worst nightmare is the growing numbers of angry residents who don't want her in office. Actually, her real worst nightmare will be everyone else waking up from their sleep and realizing that the Wilson Yard TIF is one f'd up mess.

    Aldi was placed in backwards and now we have a playground that will look pretty for a few weeks before the drunks from Salvation Army take over. I suspect in a month we will see dirt peaking through the dying turf which wasn't watered when it was laid in the hottest month of the year. It kinda hints at the other stupid planning to come.

    This is all the more reason to be very generous when giving money to Stop Wilson Yard.

  22. UU is not making sense to me. A new park is put up and its very concept is torn to shreds, and yet buildings are maligned because they're no longer as majestic as their name implies. Hard working people put on a fair to improve a neighborhood park, and people are arguing semantics between entrance fee and donation.

    It just seems to me that a lot of people here are just using this place to keep grinding hatred with no sense of purpose or direction.

  23. Whirlofagirl, as a longtime UU reader I will share how I read all of those stories/threads because in a way I do agree with you that it doesn't make sense. It seems to me that everyone here agrees that new or improved playlots are a very good thing. Improved commercial properties, in general, are taken as a good thing too. What people seem to get worked up about is poor planning and lack of transparency given the known problems playlots have in the area (thus the Graeme Stewart thread) and the CTA not being willing to improve or maintain its properties in Uptown (thus the Majestic thread even though it is the vacant properties and not that business that people are angry about). I personally thought the donation vs. entry fee thing was an irritant for some people that got blown out of proportion.

    So, I do see a certain amount of consistency and focus in what UU chooses to post and how people respond. I like reading UU because this is one tough crowd and beneath some of the negativity, skepticism and quibbling over relatively minor details I feel as if there is a true spirit to see positive things for this community. It's messy for sure but it is a good romp and I think some good will come out of it if people keep it all in perspective.

  24. Regarding the "Salvation Army" issue - has anyone from any neighborhood committee, etc., ever set up a meeting with the Sally's and presented their complaints and concerns? Have they ever heard the other side of the story? After all, SA is not some fly-by-night charity; it is a well-established religious organization whose good works have been acknowledged (even by non-members) for over a century. They are the "go-to" people for social services ranging from emergency shelter to rehab to finding missing persons (a service they did a no charge for my Catholic family several years ago).

    Maybe if we can get the Army folks on board the vagrancy/homeless issue can be addressed in a manner satisfactory to all.

  25. meeting with the Salvo is a good idea, may I also suggest if you love this little park that other action items in & around the inevitable impending grand opening ribbon cutting photo op ceremony might include pursuing:

    1. change zoning to POS (it is currently R4, the fav zoning of developers; don't think the Board of Ed is above selling land to developers, also don't assume a parcel is too small for luxury condos)

    2. formally deed the land from the Board of Ed to the park district, put it under Park district maintenance and Park Advisory Council accountability

  26. I have been told that Salvation Army has been contacted many times about the people loitering in front of their building. Honestly though, are they that clueless to think that people drinking at their doorstep might not be a problem? Me thinks they don't give a rip.

    Personally, I believe posting this on UU will get their attention more because it's embarrassing. Presently, they have been blowing off the community.