Monday, January 8, 2018

Ald. Osterman's Look Back at 2017: A Year In Review

Ald. Osterman sent out a Year In Review newsletter about the 48th Ward on January 1st. We didn't reprint the sections that deal exclusively with Edgewater for this version -- we are Uptown Update, after all -- but you can see the full newsletter here. There was a lot going on in the 48th Ward part of Uptown. We can't wait to see what happens in 2018.

"Happy new year!

As we look toward a new year, it is important to reflect on the year behind us. 2017 was a phenomenal year in the 48th Ward: The year began with Chicago receiving a $1.1 billion federal transit grant to help fund upcoming CTA renovations in the area; the iconic Swedish flag water tower returned to Andersonville; we all took a pause in August to witness an historic solar eclipse; and we ended the year with the first 48th Ward International Unity Day, bringing hundreds of neighbors together to celebrate and share their cultures with one another.

Thank you to the many residents, block clubs, chambers of commerce, business owners, and community partners who contributed to last year's successes. I look forward to another active and positive year for all of us in the 48th Ward.

Public Safety
  • Public safety is my number one priority as Alderman. Though the city experienced its third consecutive year with more than 500 homicides, we continue to see improvements in public safety in our community. This is made possible through coordinated efforts between our office, the community, and the 20th and 24th police districts.
  • We continue to work closely with the Chicago Police Department to address illegal gang and narcotics activity. This past year, officers patrolling our community made key arrests for illegal firearms and narcotic sales. The Chicago Police continue to proactively improve safety on key streets in our community with ongoing foot patrols on Devon, Thorndale, Bryn Mawr, and Argyle. Our local police districts work in tandem with other sections of CPD to address safety in our and neighboring communities. The City and the Chicago Police Department continue to work on needed reforms of the Department, including having every officer wear a body camera while on duty. These important reforms will continue in 2018.
  • Safety is all of our responsibility -- if you See Something, Say Something. It remains critical that safety improvements extend to every community in our City. The Chicago Tribune has a good editorial on steps we as a City need to continue to make our City safer, click here to read it. I welcome your feedback on this important issue.
  • Our office takes a multi-pronged approach to public safety. Providing resources, support, and positive opportunities for youth is critical to the safety and stability of our community. Additionally, it is imperative that neighbors are connected and have trusting and collaborative relationships with one another, with our office, and with the local police districts.

Youth Engagement
  • Boys & Girls Club vs. 20th Police District Basketball Game. In February, my office helped youth from the McCormick-Pedersen Boys & Girls Club coordinate a basketball game against the 20th Police District. Positive interactions like this are critical to healing relations between the Chicago Police Department and our youth. Congratulations to Abdul Wahab, the young man who coordinated this fun event.
  • Becoming A Man (BAM). BAM (Becoming A Man) is a youth mentoring program that provides social-emotional learning and support for young males. The program continues to excel at Swift and Goudy schools. This year the program was expanded to include BAM counselors at Senn High School and McCutcheon Elementary School. I will continue to look for ways to expand this and other youth mentoring programs in our community in the coming year.
  • Latin School Community Space in Uptown. Latin School opened a community space at 4956 N. Sheridan earlier this year to provide space and programming for local students and organizations. In June, programming kicked off with the first-ever Uptown Hackathon, when students from Goudy, McCutcheon, Courtenay, and Latin schools worked together to solve computer science problems. This space also serves as a satellite Community Justice Center for Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, providing neighbors legal support. Click here for more information about the Community Justice Satellite Center.

Community Engagement
  • Safe Summer Nights. Every summer my office partners with community organizations to produce over 100 Safe Summer Nights events. These programs not only provide free family-friendly activities for our neighbors, but they increase public safety by positive activity taking place in public areas. Every Wednesday this summer, local police officers came out to the Swift School Playlot and Buttercup Park to connect with over 400 community members through grilling out, playing basketball, soccer, and other games.
  • Recognition for Community-Police Partnership on Argyle. This summer Uptown United and the 20th Police District were presented with an award and grant from the MetLife Foundation for the success of the community-police partnership during the Argyle Night Market. In its fifth season this summer, the weekly event saw more than 40,000 people come out to enjoy the food, music, and culture on Argyle Street. We look forward to seeing this event continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.


After years of budgetary uncertainty and mid-year cuts, this school year Chicago Public Schools teachers, administrators, staff, and families were able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation that included a new funding formula for public school districts across the state, an important step toward adequately funding our schools. The legislation put in place framework to increase funds for CPS for years to come.

In addition to state financial support, our community stepped up in a big way this year to help with local schools' fundraising efforts. Among the public schools in our ward, more than $50,000 was raised to support critical needs, including classroom supplies, after school programming, and updated classroom technology. Thank you to the many local businesses, neighbors, and parents who have worked diligently throughout the year to support our local students.

New Businesses

First Sip
In 2017, we welcomed a host of new businesses to the community. I am proud to continue to work with our chambers of commerce to attract independent businesses to the ward.

We welcomed more than 25 new businesses to the 48th Ward this year, including: 2 x 10 Studio (1221 W. Devon); Artur’s Barber Shop (1135 W. Bryn Mawr), Athletico Physical Therapy (1325 W. Devon); BLU 57 Seafood (5701 N. Clark); Bibim Town (5357 N. Broadway); Big City Optical (5653 N. Clark); Cowboys and Astronauts (1478 W. Summerdale); Colvin House/Creative Coworking (5940 N. Sheridan); Chicago Mosaic School (1101 W. Granville); Edge of Sweetness (6034 N. Broadway); First Sip Cafe (1057 W. Argyle); Fix Your Kicks (1140 W. Thorndale); Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream (1120 W. Granville); Gallery 1070 (1060-70 W. Granville); The Growling Rabbit (5938 N. Broadway); Heirloom Books (6239 N. Clark); Ice Station (1130 W. Argyle); K & J Global Pharmacy (6237 N. Clark); Pita O Grill (1103 W. Bryn Mawr); pHlour Bakery & Cafe (1138 W. Bryn Mawr); Pop Hair Salon (5642 N. Broadway); Rosin Eyecare (5605 N. Clark); The Lytle House (5517 N. Broadway); Tekkeez Tech Repair (6204 N. Broadway); TK Photography (6241 N. Clark); VeRanda Restaurant & Coffee (1100 W. Thorndale); The Xchange (1129 W. Bryn Mawr).

Please show these new businesses a warm welcome and support them. Shopping locally helps ensure the sustainability of the vibrant business districts we enjoy in Edgewater, Andersonville, and Uptown. Taking the extra time and effort to support a local brick and mortar business, rather than shopping online, means your money will stay in the community. Our local businesses depend on our consistent support.

Business Attraction

This year my office collaborated with the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, Edgewater Development Corporation, Business Partners - The Chamber for Uptown, and Uptown United to host a tour of some of our business districts in the ward. We toured prospective businesses through the Argyle and Edgewater business corridors to highlight key opportunity areas.

Infrastructure Improvements

As part of our menu spending this year, our office planted more than 60 trees in the ward, painted more than 130 streetlight poles, made sidewalk improvements near churches and schools, and added pedestrian curb extenstions. We resurfaced several residential streets and added bikes lanes on Glenwood, Ardmore, and Argyle.

Bikes in the 48th Ward
  • Following a successful community process and installation of the Glenwood Greenway Contraflow bike lane, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) engaged in a pilot Neighborhood Bikeway Network project with our community this year. An innovative approach to bike planning, CDOT is working to build a connected network of bikeways in our community to make it safe and easy for cyclists of all ages and abilities to navigate through the area. This year we hosted a number of community bike rides and meetings to hear from community members about where improvements are needed. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project over the next two years and welcome your feedback and participation.
  • This summer we hosted the first 48th Ward Bike Drive to benefit youth in our community. Thank you to the neighbors who donated more than 50 bikes to our cause. We distributed the bikes to teens who participate in mentoring programs through Becoming A Man (BAM) and GirlForward. We plan to relaunch this effort in the spring.

48th Ward International Unity Day

In November we hosted the first 48th Ward International Unity Day. In the times we're living in, it is important to celebrate our diversity and honor the cultures that come together to make our neighborhood special. Nearly 500 neighbors came together to share and celebrate the backgrounds and traditions that make our community a rich, colorful, and welcoming place to live. This event was truly a community effort, and I am grateful to all who made it possible. I look forward to this becoming an annual tradition in our neighborhood.

Thank you for a great year. My staff and I are looking forward to working with you in 2018!

Harry Osterman
Alderman, 48th Ward"

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