Whose weeds are these By KATHARINE GRAYSON by mm6889


									     Online at ChicagoJournal.com
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         CHICAGO                                                                                                                   JOURNAL

                                                                                    Volume 1, No. 1      I   Thursday, September 15, 2005

                       North Ave. neighbors not sure who’s minding the city’s beautification project

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Photo by Josh Hawkins

                                                                                                                                                                         St. Boniface’s fate remains in the balance.

                                                                                                                                                                          St. Boniface
                                                                                                                                                                           stay or go
      Joe Lake pops his head out of the underbrush.                                                                                          Photo by Josh Hawkins
                                                                                                                                                                                      Developer mulls
                                                                                                                                                                                  residential development

      Whose weeds are these?                                                                                                                                                       B y K AT H A R I N E G R AYS O N
                                                                                                                                                                                                 Staff Writer

            B y K AT H A R I N E G R AYS O N              some more than 4 feet high, crowding out flow-         And who should be meeting that challenge,                      or more than six years, West Town residents,
                                                          ers in city-planted streetside gardens.              and how, now appears to be the subject of some                   historic preservationists, city officials, and the
                          Staff Writer
                                                            “It’s something that reflects poorly on the        small discussion—-and no small source of con-

                                                                                                                                                                                Archdiocese of Chicago have been tussling
                   hen city workers rolled up construc-   neighborhood,” Bergant said, noting that lit-        fusion.                                                          over what should be done with long-shuttered
                   tion plans and departed the North      ter also appears to be thriving along with the         The issue was recently raised at a Wicker                St. Boniface Church.
                   Avenue Corridor two years ago, the     weeds. “It’s a shame people don’t have more          Park Committee meeting just last week by Joe                 Since the 103-year-old Romanesque Revival-style
                   neighbors didn’t complain about        respect for the space in the first place. People     Lake, a Wood Street resident who has taken                 church was closed by the Archdiocese in the late
      what was left behind: brick-paved crosswalks,       just mistreat it.”                                   the gardening tools into his own hands and                                    1980s, the majority of visitors it
      freshly planted trees, flower beds, and engraved      Bergant said that although her group has           spruced up “his” floral domain at the corner                  WEST TOWN
                                                                                                                                                                                             sees are pigeons that roost in its
                         concrete neighborhood mark-      mounted no formal campaign against the               of North Avenue and Wood, where perennials,                dilapidated confines. But despite the building’s dete-
        WICKER PARK ers on select corners.                weeds, a few members have on occasion taken          cropped plants, and potted flowers now stand               rioration, some area residents and preservationists
        “The city put a lot of money into the             issue with the overgrown gardens, which occu-        crisp against a weed-free soil canvas.                     believe the church is an architectural gem worthy of
      streetscape and it looked really, really wonder-    py pockets of North Avenue’s sidewalk, from            Lake said that it took him less than 20 min-             being returned to its former glory.
      ful,” remembers Eva Bergant, president of the       Ashland near up to Damen.                            utes to yank out three bags worth of weeds. “It’s            The city, however, has grown concerned that the
      Bucktown Community Organization.                      “We’d love to see more being done,” Bergant        not a hard job,” he insisted.                              building poses a real-and-present safety hazard, a
        But a few seasons and one drought later, it’s     said. “But the city doesn’t have the resources         City crews, he observed, “planted a lot of               sentiment also shared by Archdiocese officials, who
      what has taken root and flourished in parts of      to maintain these things. It’s a shame. Getting      really good flowers and perennials.” But now               say they don’t have the financial resources to invest
      North Avenue’s new landscape that has come          someone to take care of it has been a bit more
      to irritate some in the neighborhood—weeds,         challenging.”                                                    See WEEDS on Page 3                                          See ST. BONIFACE on Page 5

                     On landmarking, divided they stand
         By MAX BROOKS                                                                                                                                                                  and tells me what I can and can’t do with
                                                                                                                                                                                        my home—I totally disagree with that,”
               Staff Writer
                                                            53 percent of property owners vote for East Village landmarking

                                                                                                                                                                                        he said. “My dirt is way more valuable
       cott Rappe and Kevin Kuster own                                                                                                                                                  than [the house I live in].”
       nearly identical century-old brick                                                                                                                                                 At issue is a proposal to permanent-
       four-flats that stand shoulder to     of the flier hanging in each home’s win-    remained up on the neighboring Wolcott         that have no stake in the neighborhood,         ly landmark 195 properties in the East
       shoulder on the 1100 block of         dow: a lime-sherbet-colored sign means      homes. Out of respect for Rappe, Kuster        driven by the market, looking only at           Village, including those along several
Wolcott Avenue. Friends and neighbors,       the residents support landmarking,          said, he decided to take his down, as he       the bottom line and tearing good build-         blocks of Winchester, Wolcott, Honore
                   the two stand on oppo-    an orange-sherbet-colored sign means        now lives in his second home elsewhere         ings down,” said Rappe, a member of a           and Wood between Division and Augusta,
   WEST TOWN                                 they’re opposed, and no sign at all may     in the East Village.                           group called the West Town Preservation
                   site sides of what one                                                                                                                                               sections of Winchester and Wolcott
former East Village Association president
    xxx LOOP                                 only indicate fear of more opinionated        But diplomacy aside, the neighbors’          Association.                                    between Iowa and Chicago, and most
called a “civil war” over landmarking.       neighbors.                                  views on development and landmarking             Kuster, who belongs to the rival West         of the west side of Hermitage between
  House by house and block by block,           Last week, only Rappe’s signs—-there      remain diametrically opposed.                  Town Property Owners group, framed the
the battle lines are marked by the color     are two, and they are colored lime—-          “We’re talking about outside forces          issue in another way: “Someone comes in              See EAST VILLAGE on Page 5

         To our readers                                                      Last day at the library
                                                                                                                                                                                                      IN THE JOURNAL

                                                                                                                                                                                               Save the Ukrainians
      Strong and vital neighborhoods need
   a strong and vital neighborhood paper.                                                                                                                                                      Landmarking, part II,
   They work together, they work off of                                                                                                                                                           goes through
   each other. Each supports the other.                                       Nathan Parker closes the book on his beloved Damen branch                                                                         2
   Each nudges the other to do better.
      That’s what Chicago Journal is out                                                                                                                                                            In Business
   to accomplish. We intend to be that                                                  By LAURA PUTRE                             About 40 patrons showed up on the Damen
   strong and vital neighborhood paper                                                          Editor                           branch’s last day, which is pretty typical for any
                                                                                                                                                                                               Is your fiscal Mercury
                                                                                                                                                                                                   in retrograde?

   for Ukrainian Village, West Town,                                                                                             Saturday, says Parker. “Most of them didn’t know
   Bucktown and Wicker Park. While we are                                       he Damen Avenue library officially mea-
                                                                                sured 1,200 square feet, which made it
                                                                                                                                 we were closing,” he says.                                                     6
   the sister paper to the Chicago Journal that has                                                                                       But a few showed up specially. Ella, the
   served the South Loop, Near West and West Loop for                           neither closet-sized nor par-
                                                                                                                                             library’s clerk for 30 years, brought a
   five years, the edition you are holding is unique to                         ticularly roomy. But in his 16½
                                                                                                                                                cake. “I want to tell you that there
   our new neighborhoods. That means a front section                      years as librarian there, “I could only
                                                                                                                                                was a kazoo band playing taps, but
   filled with news specific to your neighborhood. Our editorial          find 900,” says Nathan Parker, wryly
                                                                                                                                                that didn’t actually happen,” Parker
   staff will be active in reporting on development issues, public        speaking the truth.
                                                                                                                                               says of the last day, starting to
   schools, business, street repairs and street fairs.                      The mystery of the missing 300 will
                                                                                                                                               sound like Gertrude Stein. “It was
      Do not be confused. This is not the Reader, Red Eye, or some                           have to remain
                                                                             BUCKTOWN                                                          proposed. You could say there was
   warmed-over city zone of the Trib. This is your new neighbor-                             unsolved.       Last
                                                                                                                                               one—no one would be able to deny
   hood paper.                                                            Saturday, Sept. 10, Parker said good-
                                                                                                                                               you—except it didn’t really happen
      Every Thursday morning. Always on peach paper. Always               bye to the library’s final patrons
                                                                                                                                               that way.”
   local. To be found in almost 200 locations. Or, for several thou-      and locked up the storefront at 2056
   sand of you, your front steps.                                         N. Damen for good. A new, much
                                                                                                                                                   Another small send-off party had           Viva la lawn bowling
                                                                                                                                                 been held at Caffe De Luca ear-
      Call us with ideas and suggestions.                                 larger library—15,000 square feet and
                                                                                                                                                 lier in the week. There, over lattes         The boules are rolling
                                                                          $400,000 worth of new books, to be
                                                                          exact—is on the way, but for the next
                                                                                                                                                 and beer, aspiring writer Mark                 on Chicago Ave.
   Dan Haley, Publisher, dhaley@wjinc.com
   Laura Putre, Editor, lputre@wjinc.com                                  two months, Bucktown residents are                                                                                          Metropolis, B1
                                                                          technically library-less.                                                   See LIBRARY on Page 8
2     Thursday, September 15, 2005        I   www.ChicagoJournal.com

                                                                                                                          In with the old
I                                                                                    I

             Cityside                                                                         Ukrainain Village
        All eyes on Eckhart Park                                                                 completes
           Commercial and Bickerdike parks have active resi-
        dents’ groups that help with fund raising and land-                                 landmarking, part II
        scaping, but Eckhart Park at 1330 W. Chicago has thus
        far been lacking in that department. That could soon
        change. Last week, about 15 Noble Square neighbors met
        at the Eckhart Park fieldhouse to discuss the possibility                                 By MAX BROOKS
        of forming a park advisory council. The next meeting                                              Staff Writer

        is tentatively scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept.
        21, and the group plans to soon hold elections for offi-                                   bout six years ago, lifelong
        cers. For more information, call park supervisor John                                      Ukrainian Village resi-
        Boreck at 312/746-5490 or Charlie Glanzer, Eckhart Park                                    dent George Matwyshyn
        Community Council co-chair, at 312/451-2235.                                               noticed some odd con-
           Alderman Walter Burnett, 27th Ward, stopped by the                              struction going up at 912 Oakley
        meeting to express his support, saying he’d like to see                            Ave., a building around the cor-
        the park offer more programming and less vagrancy and                              ner from his Iowa Street home.
        litter, but stressed that it was important to keep the place                       Along a line of nearly identical
        open to kids and adults without much means. He also told                           two-story brick cottages, their
        residents not to expect much financing from the notori-                            oversized porches facing the airy   ,
        ously cash-strapped Park District. “This park has a lot of                         tree-lined street, one seemed to be
        potential, but it takes a lot of energy to make these things                       metastasizing: a third floor, made
        happen,” Burnett said. In other words, a dog park or a                             of concrete and painted a pale,
        new play lot might be years’ worth of bake sales away,                             Maalox pink, sprung from its top.
        while cheaper feats could include sprucing up flowerbeds                           With the new addition, the build-                                                                                                              Photo by Josh Hawkins
        and picking up trash.                                                              ing owner would be able to market             George Matwyshyn in front of a row of recently landmarked two- and three- flats on Walton Street.
                                                                                           the building as three condos, but
                                                                                           from Matwyshyn’s point of view,
        Rounding up the elves                                                              the streetscape was permanently               and their options moving forward.         buildings on intersecting streets,     have moved in and others remain-
                                                                                           compromised.                                  Discouraged from pursuing down-           were formally added to the pro-        ing have seen the popularity with
          An emphatic call for a little holiday cheer along                                                                              zoning by city officials, Matlak          tected zone.                           which landmarking has been
                                                                                             “Legally, they had the right to
        Division Street went out at the West Town Chamber of                                                                             and the community group threw                Now, some community mem-            embraced in other parts of the
                                                                                           do it,” Matwyshyn said, “but it
        Commerce’s Aug. 18 wine-tasting and brainstorming                                                                                their efforts behind landmarking,         bers hope to add more blocks of        neighborhood.
                                                                                           was totally out of character with
        session at Enoteca Wine Bar. Jeanne Felknor of the East                                                                          a designation that prevents the vis-      Cortez and Thomas—-west of the            On a recent Friday afternoon,
                                                                                           the neighborhood.” According to
        Village Garden Club remarked on the blahness of the                                                                              ible facades of historic buildings        existing district—to the list.         Matwyshyn gave a walking tour of
                                                                                           the Department of Zoning’s Web
        business district last year and suggested festooning the                                                                         from being unduly altered or torn            “All the studies our group has      both the streets recently added to
                                                                                           site, the building is zoned RT-4,
        street with evergreens, seasonal lighting, and decora-                                                                           down.                                     seen show that it’s good for proper-   the landmarking district and those
                                                                                           a designation that allows three
        tions this yuletide, right around the time the chamber                                                                             In 2002, the city upheld a              ty value,” said Cheryl Dohrmann,       that he hopes will be included in
                                                                                           units on a typical residential lot.
        distributes its first Do Division business guide. “Don’t be                                                                      request from Matlak to designate          president of the UVPS. “People         the future. Standing beside his
                                                                                             The      construction     piqued
        intimidated by the creative juices thing,” Felknor told the                                                                      the northeastern quadrant of the          like moving into a stable neigh-       church, St. Nicholas Cathedral, a
                                                                                           Matwyshyn’s interest in preserv-
        assembled business owners. “We’re gonna help you.” For                                                                           neighborhood—-an area approxi-            borhood.”                              beautiful gray-brick building from
                                                                                           ing the city streets he grew up
        more information, call the chamber at 312/850-9390.                                                                              mately bounded by Cortez to                  Matlak said he agrees: “I made      which rise 13 spires topped by blue
                                                                                           on, eventually leading to the for-
                                     —Compiled by Laura Putre                              mation of a community group                   the south, Haddon to the north,           the decision in the first phase [of    copper bulbs and stone crosses,
                                                                                           called the Ukrainian Village                  Leavitt to the west and Damen to          landmarking] that I was going to       he looked down the 800 block of
                                                                                           Preservation Society Three years
                                                                                                                 .                       the east—-a landmark district.            save the neighborhood,” he said.       Oakley and ticked off the origins
                                                                                           ago, the group’s members sat down               This past July, the blocks of           “You lose your immediate right to      of the homeowners.
                                                                                           with 32nd Ward Alderman Ted                   Walton Street between Western             tear down your building, but long         “Ukrainian,         Ukrainian,
                                                                                           Matlak to discuss their concerns              and Damen, along with several             term, your housing value is going      Ukrainian, Ukrainian,” he said,
                                                                                                                                                                                   to go up.”                             pausing before moving to the east
                                                                                                                                                                                      According to Matlak aide            side of the street. “Ukrainian,
                                                                                                                                                                                   Jessica Papp, his office has dis-      Ukrainian, Slovak, Spanish.”
                                                                                                                                                                                   tributed surveys to the owners of         For Matwyshyn, the heritage
                                                                                                                                                                                   all properties on the 2200 block       of his neighborhood remains an
                                                                                                                                                                                   of Cortez Street and those on the      inextricable part of his daily life,
                                                                                                                                                                                   south side of the 2300 block, ask-     one that he believes landmarking
                                                                                                                                                                                   ing whether they would support         will help preserve by preventing
                                                                                                                                                                                   an extension of the landmarking        high-turnover condos and six-flat
                                                                                                                                                                                   district that includes their build-    apartment buildings from replac-
                                                                                                                                                                                   ings. Their answers will be col-       ing the family homes and one-
                                                                                                                                                                                   lected and tallied sometime after      and-a-half story worker’s cottag-
                                                                                                                                                                                   Sept. 23, Papp said, and if most       es that have been there since the
                                                                                                                                                                                   of the residents along the streets     early part of the 20th century.
                                                                                                                                                                                   are in favor of the change, the           Many of the Ukrainian and
                                                                                                                                                                                   alderman will urge the landmark-       Polish families that gave the neigh-
                                                                                                                                                                                   ing commission to pursue it. She       borhood its character have left—
                                                                                                                                                                                   said a survey along the 2200 and       according to the Encyclopedia
                                                                                                                                                                                   2300 blocks of Thomas Street may       of Chicago History, only 2,500
                                                                                                                                                                                   follow.                                of the 45,000 Ukrainians living
                                                                                                                                                                                      Added Matlak, “Before I com-        in Chicago in 1990 remained in
                                                                                                                                                                                   mit the resources, I want to make      Ukrainian Village. But it is still

                             We make it easy to improve                                                                                                                            sure the support is there.”
                                                                                                                                                                                      So far, efforts to landmark in
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          possible to find strong currents of
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Old World culture on its streets.

                              your home. And your life.
                                                                                                                                                                                   the Ukrainian Village have been           Matyshwyn, for example,
                                                                                                                                                                                   popular, avoiding the rancor they      sent his children to St. Nicholas
                                                                                                                                                                                   have caused to the other side of       Cathedral School on Rice Street,
                                                                                                                                                                                   Damen in East Village.                 his alma mater. Though the stu-
                                                                                                                                                                                      The Department of Planning          dent body was once much larger—
                                                                                                                                                                                   and Development reported that 83       around 1,000 when Matwyshyn
                                                                                                                                                                                   percent of those who responded         attended and now closer to
                                                                                                                                                                                   to a survey distributed in the first   200—classes are still conducted
                                                                                                                                                                                   landmarked area supported the          in Ukrainian. He regularly eats
                                                                                                                                                                                   change. During the second land-        varenyky, a dish similar to piero-
                                                                                                                                                                                   marking, along Walton Street,          gi, at Saks, a Ukrainian restau-
                                                                                                                                                                                   the department’s survey was met        rant on Chicago and Oakley
                                                                                                                                                                                   with 67 percent approval.                 Walking along Cortez Street,
                                                                                                                                                                                      Papp said a survey carried out      he talked of the Polish descen-
                                                  HOME EQUITY LINES
                                                                                                                                                                                   by the alderman’s office along the     dants who remain in the neigh-
                                                     AS LOW AS

                                                                                                                                                                                   2200 block of Cortez several years     borhood. “You can walk down the

                                                                          %                                                                                                        ago found that the majority of
                                                                                                                                                                                   property owners did not wish to
                                                                                                                                                                                   be landmarked at that time. But
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          block here”—he cupped his ear
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          and pointed across the street to
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          a cottage at 2020, “and still hear
                                                                         APR*                                                                                                      she added that the numbers may         it. They’re talking Polish right
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                                                                                                                                                                  www.ChicagoJournal.com    I   Thursday, September 15, 2005   3

        Smooth SSA-iling?                                                                                                   Phillip Buoscio
                                                                                                                             Team Buoscio Realty
                                                                                                                                                                                                1 FREE
         Wicker Park & Bucktown Chamber of Commerce hopes to reap
       beautification funding from its proposed new Special Service Area                                                                                                                        CLASS
                                                                                                                                                                                                - Bring this
                                                                                                                                                                                                coupon to class
                                                                                                                                                            MUSIC ~ MOVEMENT ~ MOTIVATION

             B y K AT H A R I N E G R AYS O N                 die, it’s usually well before it comes time for formal
                            Staff Writer
                                                              objections.                                                                                    ~Ballet~Flamenco~IrishStep
                                                                “When you pull together key property owners,

              ith hopes of one day seeing sidewalks regu- share with them your analysis, and it doesn’t get                   1750 Julian                    ~Tap~Hip Hop~Belly Dance
              larly cleared of snow and streets swept strong support, it never makes it past that,” he said.                4 Bedroom with parking
              every day on the hour, the Wicker Park & “If residents just felt it was obscene, they would                    Oak Stairs & 3 Levels                ~Children's Yoga~
              Bucktown Chamber of Commerce has been contact the aldermen, write letters, revolt, and no                          of living space.
                                                                                                                                                                         Try a class out on us!
    working for months now to garner the community one would need to go through the arduous process                         1950 SqFt of Upgrades in
    support needed to get its proposed Special Service of getting it passed.”
                                                                                                                            this Centrally located in                    Ages 2 - Adult
                                                                                                                             Wicker Park Townhome
    Area approved and generating funds by next year.            And some SSAs have been stalled following neigh-                  LOW ASSESS.                               2 locations
      The SSA would place an additional tax on com- borhood revolt. In 2003, Roscoe Village residen-                                THIS IS IT.              2074 North Leavitt, Chicago, IL 60647
    mercial and residential prop-                                                        tial property owners who              EXCELLENT VALUE.
    erty owners whose buildings                                                          would have been affected               $444,800
                                                                                                                                                             2121 West Webster, Chicago, IL 60647
    front Western, North Avenue,
    Damen, and Division, as well
                                                   SSA spending                          by the increase rallied
                                                                                         against the proposal.                 CALL PHIL
                                                                                                                                                             For info on scheduling your free class,
                                                                                                                                                                please call 773.384.ARCC (2722)
    portions of Cortland, Paulina,           If approved, the Wicker Park &                But in Wicker Park and
                                                                                                                            @ 773-254-7505                  www.arccballet.org • info@arccballet.org
    and Hermitage. The some                Bucktown Chamber of Commerce                  Bucktown, Leibov and
    $660,000 that would be generated       has proposed spending tax-generated           Barrington said they’ve            1-800-586-4140,
                                                                                                                                                             (must be a pre-approved class, due to class size limitations,
    by the new assessment would be         dollars in the following ways from            heard just a few complaints           Ext 17504                             class times may and age groups may vary)
    used for a variety of purposes,        July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2007:          so far, including some from         A Part of Keller Williams                        First time students only.
    ranging from landscaping to            I Sidewalk snow clearing and salt-            the Cortland Street area.             Realty Professionals
    security services, said Chamber          ing: $82,800                                  “A 4.4 percent increase
    Director Paula Barrington.             I Sidewalk and gutter litter removal:         isn’t something [property
      She added that with funds              $86,320                                     owners] are going to be
    from the SSA, contractors              I Sidewalk flower planter purchase:           smiling about,” he said.
    would be hired to predictably            $80,000                                     “But we’ll be providing
    perform many of the basic ser-
    vices that the city may not get
    to often enough.
      “We need maintenance. We
                                           I Sidewalk flower planter landscap-
                                             ing: $20,000
                                           I Sidewalk and public space mainte-
                                             nance: $20,000
                                                                                         direct services to make
                                                                                         this a more competitive
                                                                                         commercial area and a
                                                                                         pleasant area to live.”
    can’t wait for the city to do it       I Street pole decorative hanging                Some community groups
    every two weeks,” Barrington
    said. “When the area is well
    kept, we’ll ultimately be able to
    attract more businesses.”
      The burden of the tax
                                             flower baskets: $189,000
                                           I Security services: $45,900
                                           I Parking/transit services: $31,250
                                           I Contingency funds: $33,226
                                           I A full-time SSA program manager:
                                                                                         also have yet to weigh in on
                                                                                         the proposal. Eva Bergant,
                                                                                         president of the Bucktown
                                                                                         Community Organization,
                                                                                         said her group will hear
                                                                                                                                  Chicago Journal!
    increase will fall mostly on             $55,000                                     a presentation from the
    businesses and commercial              I Other operational expenses: $21,000         chamber on the SSA next
    property owners in the area,                                                         Thursday night, Sept. 22.                If you would like to have Chicago Journal for your
    said consultant Brad Leibov,                                                           “We haven’t formulated
    who is working with the chamber on getting the SSA an opinion on it,” she said. “We want to see more
                                                                                                                                  customers or residents of your building, just call our
    up and running.                                           communication of the information.”                                       Circulation Department at (312) 243-3696.
      The SSA assessment will be .3 percent of a prop-          The SSA appears to already have some political
    erty’s Equalized Assessed Value. This translates to a support. First Ward Alderman Manny Flores said
    roughly 4.4 percent increase on a property owner’s last week he’s in favor of it. Barrington said the
    tax bill, Leibov said.                                    measure has also been backed by Alderman Ted                      There is no charge for delivery. And you'll be among
      For instance, for a small commercial property Matlak of the 32nd Ward.
    assessed at $112,250, the SSA would mean $337 on            Matlak, who dealt with the Roscoe Village SSA
                                                                                                                                   the first to have Chicago Journal every week!
    top of a $7,221 bill. Meanwhile, the owner of a condo- uprising, couldn’t be reached for comment before
    minium valued at $78,140 would pay $234 more.             press time.
      Leibov said the proposed increase is relatively           The next step in the approval process, Barrington
    small compared to others in the city, such as West said, will be for the city to hold a public hearing in
    Town’s SSA, which led to a 6.5 percent increase, and November. Sixty days after that hearing, property
    Greek Town’s, which ended up raising property tax owners who would be included in the SSA will have                                                  www.Chicagojournal.com
    bills by as much as 13 percent.                           the opportunity to object.
      For the proposed SSA to fail, 51 percent of prop-         If the measure passes, the chamber would then
    erty owners in the area must go on record as object- begin putting together a board of directors that
    ing. Those filing objections must also be registered would represent commercial and residential prop-
    voters.                                                   erty owners in the area. A full-time staff member
      However, Leibov said if Special Service Areas would also be hired to oversee the SSA.

          Continued from page 1

    “you see Queen Anne’s lace and
    goldenrod crowding them out and
    taking them over. We need to get
    them out of there before winter.”
       At Lake’s persistent prodding, the
    Wicker Park Committee, a neigh-
    borhood group, voted last week
    to send a letter to both Aldermen
                                                                                                      Photo by Frank Pinc
    Manny Flores (1st Ward) and Ted
    Matlak (32nd Ward), asking who is       CDOT says it leaves weeding city planters to community groups.
    on record as being responsible for
    tidying up the gardens.                 mitted to mind the lion’s share of    responsibility for their mainte-
       The keeper of such records, how-     the planters, which are noticeably    nance.
    ever, is the Chicago Department of      more populous on the north side          Though lack of resources and
    Transportation, which spearhead-        of the street.                        general confusion seem to be
    ed the $3.5 million streetscaping          Bryan Chilton, who serves on       what has helped allow the weeds
    effort. CDOT’s role in the main-        the Bucktown Garden Club’s            to thrive, some say it’s better to
    tenance of the gardens is narrow        board, confesses that the group       seek a new solution rather than
    and clear: They water whatever          is responsible for many of the        sort out which groups are respon-
    plants there may be, weeds or no        garden beds, and admitted the         sible for what plants.
    weeds, said CDOT spokesman              effort to care for them “hasn’t          Flores, whose ward is partly
    Brian Steele.                           been going so well.”                  occupied by the weedy planters,
       However, the responsibility for         “We have a lack of manpower,” he   said he hasn’t heard any commu-
    staving back the overgrowth and         said. “When we signed up, we didn’t   nity gripes with the landscaping,
    picking out pop cans most often         realize what a task it would be.”     but added that passage of the
    ends up in the hands of volunteer          In addition, the Bucktown          Bucktown Wicker Park Special
    organizations, Steele said, adding      & Wicker Park Chamber of              Service Area, a business desig-
    that the city officially seeks out      Commerce is also apparently           nation that would tax property
    groups willing to sign up for the       responsible for two of the plant-     owners for streetside upkeep and
    task.                                   ers, at the southeast and south-      beautification, could be the trick
       CDOT rarely has trouble find-        west corners of Wolcott and           for solving everyone’s problems.
    ing community groups willing to         North. Chamber Director Paula            “The SSA provides resources
    do it, he added.                        Barrington, who is new to the         that will benefit everyone, and
       “Communities want streetscap-        organization, said she wasn’t         at the same time allow for better
    ing improvements,” he said. “They       aware of the group’s weeding          maintenance and enhanced beau-
    realize what a great amenity it can     responsibilities until she received   tification,” said Flores.
    be to make a residential communi-       a call from the Chicago Journal.         Barrington said she’s confident
    ty more attractive to pedestrians.”        “That’s very interesting to find   that, with a little extra taxpayer
       CDOT does not provide fund-          that out,” she said, quickly gen-     money, it shouldn’t be too hard
    ing to groups that take on the          erating landscape rejuvenation        to give the volunteer gardeners
    responsibility, Steele said, adding     strategies, including clearing        a break.
    that CDOT has never stepped in          overgrowth to planting mums              “We’d like to set aside money
    to take over landscaping efforts if     and some winter grass.                to maintain those [gardens], and
    gardens turn weedy.                        In addition to the garden club     bring in a landscaping contractor
       That hands-off approach may          and the chamber, one other party      to do so,” she said.
    keep gardens green in some neigh-       is also signed onto the effort with      Bergant’s group is still waiting to
    borhoods, but on North Avenue it        CDOT: a business called Paintings     take an official position on wheth-
    seems to not have worked so well.       with the recorded address of 1900     er to support the SSA. But she
       Whether groups can carry out         W. North Ave. That storefront is      did say that before the community
    what they signed on for seems to        conspicuously occupied by the         groups alone can take on the weed
    be rooted in how many volunteers        Rapid Transit Cycle Shop, and         tangle, there would have to be a lot
    they can muster, and in one case,       Brent Olds, a sales representa-       more willing green thumbs.
    if they were aware they’d signed        tive there, said he isn’t aware of       “The park district is asking us to
    on for the job in the first place.      Paintings occupying any portion       help water trees in the park,” she
       For the North Avenue corridor,       of the building.                      said. So logically, the same should
    Steele said three parties officially       Olds said he knew of the gar-      apply to flower boxes. “We’re
    agreed to tend to the flower beds.      dens near the shop, but didn’t        happy to try and do something.
2   The Bucktown Garden Club com-           know if the business shared any       It’s a matter of volunteers.”
4   Thursday, September 15, 2005   I   www.ChicagoJournal.com

                                                                                                                             Police       BLOTTER

                                                                  Armed robbery waits for no one
                                                                The following summary contains information taken from the arrest records from the 13th District of the
                                                                Chicago Police Department. Anyone named below has only been charged with a crime. The cases have not yet
                                                                been adjudicated.

                                                                On Sept. 7, at 2:20 p.m., a 40-year-
                                                                old man walked into a bar on the
                                                                900 block of Damen Avenue wear-                                                   CALLING ALL CARS
                                                                ing a white T-shirt and blue denim
                                                                shorts and asked for a pack of
                                                                cigarettes. According to witness-
                                                                es, he followed up his request by
                                                                                                                                    Rejects from the pep squad
                                                                raising his shirt to display a hand-                                Around 9 p.m. Sept. 2 a police sergeant driving south on the
                                                                gun tucked into the waistband                                     500 block of Ashland Avenue noticed two males, ages 17 and 18,
                                                                of his shorts, and said “Give me                                  pushing a wheelchair-bound friend, 19, in and out of traffic,
                                                                your money!” Unhappy with the                                     while yelling “Satan’s Disciples,” the name of a street gang.
                                                                bartender’s response, the offender                                According to police reports, cars passing the scene were forced
                                                                moved to the cash register him-                                   to swerve out of the way to avoid hitting the teenagers. The
                                                                self, removed an unknown amount                                   three offenders were charged with reckless conduct, although
                                                                of money and grabbed four packs                                   only the first two were processed at the 13th District. The report-
                                                                of Newport cigarettes on his way                                  ing sergeant called in a special unit to transport the third per-
                                                                out the door. The perpetrator has                                 petrator and his wheelchair to an American With Disabilities
                                                                been identified and charged with                                  Act-compliant police facility on Harrison and Kedzie.
                                                                armed robbery, but not yet appre-
                                                                                         I                                  victim with the brick in his right                            way. Shortly afterward the officer
                                                                On Sept. 3, at 2:05 p.m., a 37-year-                        hand. As the officer approached,                              who received the complaint heard
                                                                old male was arrested for aggra-                            he dropped the brick and contin-                              another event on the radio: A ser-
                                                                vated assault on the 900 block                              ued to walk north on Western.                                 geant had witnessed someone in
                                                                of Western Avenue. According to                             The officer followed him and                                  the process of stealing a bicycle on
                                                                police reports, the incident began                          made the arrest.                                              the 1900 block of Chicago Avenue.
                                                                when the victim, a 41-year-old lin-                                                     I                                 The sergeant detained the thief
                                                                guist, observed the offender look-                          On Sept. 5, at 5:10 a.m., a 35-year-                          and relocated him to Winchester
                                                                ing into the back window of a                               old male was arrested for burglary                            Avenue, where the first witness
                                                                Jeep Cherokee and holding crude                             on the 800 block of Winchester                                positively identified him. The cut
                                                                weapons—-a brick and a stick—-                              Avenue. According to police                                   on his left arm provided further
                                                                in each of his hands. He then                               reports, a witness heard the crash                            proof that he had been involved
                                                                raised the brick and was about                              of glass breaking from his house                              in an altercation with the car.
                                                                to break the window of the SUV                              and looked out to see the offender                            The offender admitted to trying
                                                                when the victim shouted out for                             bent over with his entire chest                               to force the back window open to
                                                                him to stop. The offender then                              inside a parked car, trying to pull                           steal a bike visible to passers-by.
                                                                turned to the victim and hit him                            something out of its rear com-                                He was charged and processed at
                                                                with the brick. Shortly afterward,                          partment. The witness yelled out,                             the 13th District.
                                                                a police officer observed the                               “Hey!” and the offender ran away                                  —Compiled by Max Brooks
                                                                offender walking away from the                              and turned into a nearby alley-

                                                                 The boys are all here, sarge
                                                                                                                                                            Department black and blue, lined up on the sidewalk
                                                                           13th District cops show                                                          in front of 2046 W. Erie, backs straight and chins
                                                                                                                                                            up. Rick Elmer, the tall, red-mustachioed captain
                                                                           gangbangers who’s boss                                                           supervising the roll call, began at the west end of
                                                                                                                                                            the line, shouting “Front face!” to bring the officers
                                                                                                                                                            to attention. He then walked solemnly down the line,
                                                                                      By MAX BROOKS                                                         making sure caps were on straight, shirts tucked in,
                                                                                                                                                            shoes shined, pants pressed and straight, and smiles
                                                                                                  Staff Writer
                                                                                                                                                            turned to impassive glares. After about a minute, it

                                                                        t a Sept. 1 CAPS meeting—the monthly                                                was over.
                                                                        forum at which community members voice                                                “A roll call shows the gangbangers that the com-
                                                                        concerns and complaints to police officers                                          munity members aren’t going to tolerate them,”
                                                                        working their beat—tensions ran high. One                                           Capt. Elmer said, after all of the officers had been
                                                                woman brought in three slugs that she said had been                                         accounted for and he’d thanked the approximately
                                                                fired into her house the week before. Another nearly                                        25 community members present for attending. First
                                                                broke down as she recounted her fear that the teen-                                         Ward Alderman Manny Flores also addressed the
                                                                age delinquents hanging around her house would                                              crowd.
                                                                retaliate if she reported them to the police.                                                 Elmer said a turf skirmish, possibly involving a
                                                                   A tall middle-aged man—who said he was a sys-                                            street gang called the C Notes, may have caused the
                                                                tems analyst and resident of the six-flat at 2043 W.                                        short spike in violence in the immediate vicinity.
                                                                Erie but declined to give his name—glowered and                                               Michelle McGraw, a chef who lives on the corner
                                                                held a baby to his chest. Two nights before, he’d been                                      of Erie and Hoyne, said she was happy to see the
                                                                woken by gunshots. When the sun came up the next                                            police making a statement in the neighborhood.
                                                                morning, he found a gold Lexus parked in front of                                             “In the last couple weeks, I’ve seen a big increase
                                                                his home, shot through with five bullet holes.                                              in gang activity—a drive-by last Tuesday, a lot of
                                                                   A week later, most of those meeting-goers congre-                                        drug dealing,” McGraw said. “I think it’s important
                                                                gated once again, this time under happier circum-                                           that they know we’ve noticed what’s going on.”
                                                                stances. Where the aforementioned bullet-riddled                                              Both Elmer and the 2043 W. Erie resident reported
                                                                car had been recovered, a half-dozen police cruis-                                          seeing one or two of the gang members scouting
                                                                ers were now parked. At 5:30 p.m. sharp, the 13th                                           the roll call on bicycle from a block down the street.
                                                                District, Beat 1313, was holding roll call.                                                 They had dispersed by the time the Chicago Journal
                                                                   Eleven officers, all clad in the Chicago Police                                          tried to find them for comment.

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                                                   remained in the proposed district.                                                                                                            it’s not. It’s my house, it’s my property,”
                                                     The tally was only recently made                                                                                                            Mrowka said.
                                                   official: according to the Planning                                                                                                              It’s an argument the alderman says is
              Continued from page 1                Department, the consent forms were                                                                                                            disingenuous.
                                                   returned 55 to 48 in support of landmark-                                                                                                        “We had a process that was 14 months
    Walton and Chicago.                            ing. The next step, said Brian Goeken,                                                                                                        long and included 10 town meetings …
      The      Commission       on    Chicago      the city’s deputy commissioner for land-                                                                                                      it was expansive and inclusive.” Flores
    Landmarks guidelines specify that the          marking, is a public meeting that will                                                                                                        said. “It’s not a political question—it’s
    designation protects “those aspects of         be scheduled in the near future. If the                                                                                                       a public policy and land development
    a property that are readily visible from       commission decides to support the desig-                                                                                                      question. And at the end of the day, more
    the public way,” adding that “a building’s     nation after the meeting, it will then go to                                                                                                  property owners supported landmark
    side or rear elevation that is less visible    a vote on the city council.                                                                                                                   designation than opposed it.”
    or not visible at all is generally less sig-     “At this point, we’re one step closer to                                                                                                       All in all, the debate reveals a tension
    nificant.”                                     getting the landmark district designa-                                                                                                        common within up-and-coming neigh-
      In practice, this means that landmark        tion,” said 1st Ward Alderman Manny                                                                                                           borhoods. On the one side are develop-
    district homeowners hoping to make             Flores in reaction to the 55-48 vote.                                                                                                         ers and second-wave residents who say
    changes to their exteriors must submit           Flores helped spearhead the landmark-                                                                                                       the influx of capital into the area helps
    all plans to the landmarking commission,       ing effort after an attempt to down-zone                                                                                                      push out gangs and other bad elements,
    which decides whether a permit to allow        large parts of the neighborhood—-mostly                                                                                                       ultimately making the area more livable
    the work to go forward will be granted         zoned R-4, a residential zoning that would                                                                                                    while generating money for the city in
    and provides specific aesthetic condi-         allow a three-unit condo to be built on a                                                                                                     the form of increased tax revenue. On the
    tions that must be met. Contributing           typical Chicago lot-—was discouraged by                                                                                                       other side are preservationists and other
    buildings in city landmark districts also      planning department officials.                                                                                                                homeowners who say teardowns and
    are eligible for an eight-year freeze on         “We’re very excited that, of the people                                                                                                     rampant development of generic, poorly
    property taxes.                                who were surveyed, a majority were in                                                                                                         constructed condos degrade everyone’s
      Minutes from the August landmarking          favor of the designation,” Flores added.                                                                                                      quality of life, plow under the city’s his-
    commission meeting, for instance, show           Aaron Bilton, president of the land-                                                                                                        tory, and cause neighboring buildings to
    that a permit was granted for a two-story      marking-neutral East Village Association,                                                                                                     lose value.
    rear addition on a newly landmarked            can attest to the ire the issue has raised                                                                                                       Goeken, deputy commissioner of
    block of Walton Street in Ukrainian            with community members. Membership                                                                                                            landmarking, wouldn’t comment on the
    Village, but only so long as the concrete      in the EVA dropped from more than 200                                                                                                         debate in the East Village specifically, but
    masonry block used was “an integral            to a low of around 30 as members simply                                                                                                       says the effects of landmark designation
    color that matches the existing Chicago        left or joined ranks with the similarly                                                                                                       are often exaggerated.
    common brick sidewalls.”                       named West Town groups that sprang                                                                                                               “Landmarking doesn’t mean develop-
      Another wrinkle is that homes within         into existence on either side of the issue.                                                                                                   ment is frozen—it just means that the
    a landmarking district are determined,           Bilton, who said he is personally                                                                                                           most important characteristics that give
    upon the creation of the zone, to be           opposed to landmarking, used the East                                                                                                         a building historic value will be pre-
    either contributing or noncontributing.        Village’s recent history to explain how                                                                                                       served,” he said.
    Non-contributing buildings are those           the debate arrived where it is today.                                                                                                            Goeken added that there is flexibil-
    that have little or no historical value—-        “A lot of the houses that were torn                                                                                                         ity built into the system, pointing to two
    a new construction, for example, that          down at first were wooden frames that                                                                                                         recently approved projects on Hermitage,
    predates the designation—-and are much         had to be taken—houses of prostitution,                                                                                                       including one in which a third-floor was
    more loosely regulated. The proposed           or drug-houses, or houses where gang                                                                                                          added to the back of a building.
    landmark district has 161 buildings that       members were staying,” he said. “But                                                                                                             “It’s certainly visible from the street,
                                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Josh Hawkins
    are deemed contributing.                       then [about three years ago], you started                                                                                                     but we’re allowing it anyway,” Goeken
      This past January, the city’s                having nicer houses that didn’t need to        Scott Rappe, an architect, stands in front of his renovated home on Wolcott.                   said.
    Commission on Chicago Landmarks put            be torn down. And they tended to be                                                                                                              “Obviously, we think landmarking in
    a larger swath of the East Village—-           replaced by three-flat condos.”                  “There was a civil war in the neighbor-     streets, blasting their music, rolling past      general, for those areas that qualify, is
    295 properties in all—-under review for          From there, versions of the communi-         hood. People yelling at people, people        stop signs in their SUVs,’ ” Kuster said.        important. There’s no other way to pre-
    future landmarking, a temporary des-           cation breakdown vary.                         screaming at others for stealing their        “It’s classism.”                                 serve, over time, the most historic build-
    ignation under which homeowners in               “Frankly, there are a lot of real estate     property rights. There was a lot of hyper-      They also say they feel railroaded by          ings and neighborhoods in the city,” he
    the area are required to follow the same       people who live around here who make           bole,” Fine said.                             Flores. Carol Mrowka, a member of the            added.
    rules.                                         a lot of money on these condominiums,”           On the other side, members of West          West Town Property Owners and a long-               For now, Flores and others say the
      After a six-month planning department        Rappe said, a sentiment echoed by sev-         Town Property Owners fault the preser-        time Chicago Realtor, said she didn’t            landmarking in the East Village is more
    review, the East Village zone was shrunk       eral of those who support landmarking.         vationists for “cultural elitism.”            understand why each block couldn’t vote          than halfway complete and likely to be
    to exclude a short section on many of the        Jonathan Fine, president of the pro-           “When we first went to these land-          to join or stay out of the landmark dis-         made final over the next year. Mrowka
    streets north of Augusta. The landmark-        landmarking nonprofit Preservation             marking meetings, we were hearing             trict independently of the rest of the           said her group has not ruled out legal
    ing commission then distributed consent        Chicago and a former EVA president,            people yelling, ‘I’m sick and tired of        neighborhood.                                    action.
    surveys to the nearly 200 properties that      agrees.                                        these condo people blowing through our          “Nobody asked me if it was OK. Well,

                                                                                                                                                                weeds, the pigeons, the liability if       One area resident, however,
                                                                                                                                                                a wall gives out, we don’t have one     said she was ready just to see

          Continued from page 1
                                                   Coptics crash developer’s confab, offer to buy church                                                        penny to put into that church.”         something done at the site soon.
                                                                                                                                                                   Another potential component             “People call me and say you live
                                                Much to the surprise of developer Robert Buono        have experience in restoring historic buildings.
                                                                                                                                                                of the plan may be creation of a        on that block with that horrible
    in repairs.                               and Archdiocese officials, members of Chicago’s         Halim also said she believes the church is capable
                                                                                                                                                                tax increment financing district        church,” she said. “It’s disgust-
       These and other concerns have          Coptic Orthodox congregation took seats at an           of pulling together the necessary financing.
                                                                                                                                                                at the site of the church, said 27th    ing. It would have been torn down
    been long-standing in the commu-          invitation-only community meeting this week                Archdiocese officials at the meeting said they
                                                                                                                                                                Ward Alderman Walter Burnett.           by now if it wasn’t owned by the
    nity—even while debate over the           and expressed strong interest in purchasing and         weren’t aware of Halim’s past inquiries. But Jim
                                                                                                                                                                TIF money could then be contrib-        Archdiocese. Our block is ravaged
    church’s future quieted following         rehabbing St. Boniface church.                          Legos, Archdiocese chancellor, noted that his
                                                                                                                                                                uted to the development effort.         by a building that hasn’t been
    the Archdiocese’s announcement              Nefrette Halim, who attended the meeting, is          organization has tried before to sell the building
                                                                                                                                                                   In response to that proposal,        taken care of. It’s a cesspool.”
    some two years ago that it had            a member of a Coptic church in the northern             to other organized religions.
                                                                                                                                                                Preservation Chicago President             Though opinions on what
    rejected all proposals for adap-          suburbs. She said the mostly immigrant church              “We’ve had a lot of people come to us. We
                                                                                                                                                                Jonathan Fine questioned wheth-         should be next for St. Boniface
    tive re-use of the building as not        is rooted in Christian traditions that thrived in       spent almost a year working with the Romanian
                                                                                                                                                                er such a measure would be wise,        are likely to remain diverse,
    viable. The proposals were sub-           Egypt for more than 600 years before the country        Orthodox [church],” he said. “But nobody’s been
                                                                                                                                                                as churches do not pay prop-            Burnett did assure the crowd that
    mitted as part of the church’s            was invaded.                                            able to find the money.”
                                                                                                                                                                erty taxes, and thus the project        a project won’t get through unless
    high-profile design competition.            Halim said she had made numerous failed                  However, at least one longtime resident, Kevin
                                                                                                                                                                would not contribute back to the        it’s backed by neighbors.
       It appears now, however, that          attempts to approach Archdiocese officials with         Stawiarski, said he would be interested in seeing
                                                                                                                                                                TIF fund. Though mostly quiet,             “This has to get approval from
    the property is once again going                              .
                                              the proposal to buy Her organization, she said, is      if the Coptic Church could successfully carry out
                                                                                                                                                                residents in the area remained          the community,” he said.
    to become the subject of exten-           rapidly outgrowing its existing suburban facilities,    restoration of the building.
                                                                                                                                                                concerned about the building’s
    sive discussions.                         and is looking to move into the West Town area.            “We always saw residential [use] as a last
                                                                                                                                                                future. Almost half the residents
       Robert Buono, representing the           “We need more places to pray in,” she said. “We       resort. Now there’s something new on the table,”
    development firm of Smithfield            want to use it as a place of worship.”
                                                She added that members of her congregation
                                                                                                      he said.
                                                                                                                                 —Katharine Grayson
                                                                                                                                                                on the block have lived in their
                                                                                                                                                                homes for more than 40 years,                  WHY RENT?
    Properties, invited a small group                                                                                                                           said Kevin Stawiarski, who grew
    of residents who live on block                                                                                                                              up in the neighborhood and still           0 DOWN CONDOS

    where the church is located, at
    1358 W. Chestnut St., to a meeting     ters of a development agreement,       actively advocated were that the       ly terrible condition,” he said.
                                                                                                                                                                lives there.                                   Get approved
                                                                                                                                                                   Some residents even recall
    held Tuesday night.                    which would call for Smithfield        project feature for-sale residential   “Pigeon droppings and rodents          the area’s landscape before the                     For
       At the modest gathering, Buono      to develop the property in some        units and retain some features of      are some of the least of the prob-     Kennedy Expressway was built,
    surprised neighbors by saying          way while the Archdiocese would        the existing church. The building      lems. We’re talking about millions     cutting short Chestnut Street’s
    he had no specific plans for the       retain title to the land, have been    is adjacent to Eckhart Park, and       that would have to be invested.”       path, which once ran from West
    property to present, and was only
    there to seek ideas and comments
                                             He noted that the firm had seri-
                                                                                  would offer any new residents an
                                                                                  unobstructed view of downtown.
                                                                                                                           In fact, Archdiocese officials
                                                                                                                         estimate that it would take $6
                                                                                                                                                                Town all they way through to
                                                                                                                                                                Milwaukee Avenue.
    from the community.                    ously mulled participating in the        “Aspects of the church are sal-      million just to make the build-           Stawiarski noted that resi-               Of condo listings
       “I’m not going to show any pic-     design contest, but ultimately         vageable and should be integrat-       ing structurally sound. Jim Lago,      dents are still bitter with the
    tures or plans tonight. I’ve never     decided not to enter. Now, he said,    ed into a new design,” he said.        chancellor with the Archdiocese,       Archdiocese for its decision to            throughout Chicago
    come in front of any community         the Archdiocese and Smithfield         However, he did add that restor-       also acknowledged that the organi-
    at any level without a plan. But I     have “decided to pursue some-          ing and adaptively re-using the        zation’s preference long has been
                                                                                                                                                                close down the church in the first
                                                                                                                                                                place.                                         2 1
    view this as a different project,”     thing more just as partners.”          existing structure would require       to see the church demolished.
    he said. “I can already tell this is     What that something will be,         overcoming substantial financial         “Right now we’re putting $24
                                                                                                                                                                   “There was a feeling that the
                                                                                                                                                                Archdiocese didn’t care about us              Ext. 35
    an emotional issue.”                   however, still seems far from          hurtles.                               million in churches and schools        and just took down our church,”
       Buono said the basic parame-        certain. The only ideas Buono            “The building is in absolute-        around here,” he said. “Given the      he said.

                                                                                                        Let us introduce ourselves
                                                                                                          Our news staff: Laura Putre (seated) is our editor, iputre@wjinc.com.
                                                                                                      Katharine Grayson is a reporter, Kgrayson@wjinc.com. Haydn Bush is managing
                                                                                                        editor, hbush@wjinc.com. Max Brooks is a reporter, mbrooks@wjinc.com

                                                                                                                                                               News of Wicker Park, West Town,
                                                                                                                                                                Ukrainian Village, Bucktown

                                                                                                                                                                 Local to the bone
                                                                                                                                                                and peach to boot.

6      Thursday, September 15, 2005   I   www.ChicagoJournal.com


    Buzzword                                                                                              The daily planet
I                                                                             I

    Little Italy or a little bland?                                                                            A business astrologer dishes on the future of our new paper
       The quarter-mile retail stretch on Taylor Street between
    Racine and Loomis—where the remnants of ABLA public hous-                                                                                                                                            mation can be published.
                                                                                       By LAURA PUTRE
    ing are finally making way for mixed-use buildings with ground-                                                                                                                                        Computers are ruled by
    floor storefronts—has long been seen by neighborhood residents                               Editor
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Mercury, so if you’re on deadline

                                    as the cornerstone of the ambitious                   ince the Chicago Journal                                                                                       that can be a problem. What I
                                    Roosevelt Square redevelopment                        launches its second edi-                                                                                       say to people is, “Back up your
                                    project helmed by LR development.                     tion this week, we figured                                                                                     important files. Don’t leave them
                                      Last week, LR Development                           it would be an ideal time                                                                                      vulnerable if you’re coming into
                                    President Tom Weeks said Taylor               to check in with business astrolo-                                                                                     a Mercury retrograde.”
                                    Street’s empty center has attracted           ger Barbara Schermer and find                                                                                            Realtors always want to know
                                    plenty of interest from all sorts of          out what the stars say about                                                                                           when Mercury retrograde is.
                                    retailers, adding that he expects to          our start-up prospects. Every                                                                                          They try to get their closings in
                                    announce the first retail tenants in                              W e d n e s d a y,                                                                                 before. I’ve got a Coldwell Banker
                                    the coming weeks for five new store-             WEST TOWN
                                                                                                      Schermer sees                                                                                      Realtor who swears by Mercury
                                    fronts on the north side of the street.       clients in a candlelit chamber                                                                                         retrograde, and her whole office
        HAYDN BUSH                    The chance for window shop-                 with gently gurgling fountains                                                                                         knows about it now. They try to
                                    pers to take a milelong stroll, from          on the second floor of the Ruby                                                                                        get their deals done before that
                                    Halsted to Ashland, will no doubt do          Room, 1743 W. Division, which                                                                                          time period and, inevitably, when
                                  wonders for all of Taylor Street’s busi-        bills itself as a “spa for the spir-                                                                                   deals fall apart, it’s usually then.
    nesses. It will also further bolster what has always been a lively            it.” After 30 years in the field, she
    street scene of stoops and storefronts.                                                                                                                                                                Is there anything good about
                                                                                  commands $200 for a one-hour
       But beyond the mere physical victory of making Taylor whole                                                                                                                                       a Mercury retrograde?
                                                                                  business reading.
    again, the new retail development comes at a critical juncture                                                                                                                                         It’s a real good time to reana-
    for the street’s identity. Still the city’s main Little Italy, Taylor            Are you seeing much demand                                                                                          lyze, rewrite, re-edit. Re-memo-
    Street boasts plenty of beloved, homegrown businesses that have               for business astrology?                                                                                                rize. Let’s say you’re studying
    been on the street for decades—from Pompei Bakery to Conte Di                           .
                                                                                     Oh, my There is so much. People                                                                                     in medical school. Mercury ret-
    Savoia to Mario’s Italian Lemonade. As of late, however, large                start businesses totally uncon-                                                                                        rograde can be very good to go
    corporate chains have been the most likely retailers to eye the               scious about the reality that there                                                                                    over information you’ve already
    street’s homey storefronts.                                                   are auspicious times and there are                                                                                     learned and refresh your mem-
       In the last month, Bank One, 7-Eleven, and Jimmy John’s have               really bad times to start a busi-                                                                                      ory, because it’s likely to stick
                                                                                                                                                                                  Photo by Laura Putre
    all signed deals to lease storefronts in the 1100 block of Taylor             ness. And it’s really important to                                                                                     more. It’s also a very good time to
    Street, just east of the now-vanishing retail vacuum created by               know what’s going on with those          Keep an eye on those copy editors, advises Barbara Schermer.                  complete projects, put the period
    ABLA. A bank franchise, a convenience store, and a sub shop                   cycles and patterns. I assume that                                                                                     in and cross the t’s, so that when
                                                                                  people want to have as much suc-         their chart or their business’s      with her, because she’s the boss.        Mercury goes direct, you’ve got
    sound more like a good lineup for a exurban strip mall than a
                                                                                  cess as possible. So why not incor-      chart, if they have a pre-existing                                            your deck cleared and you’re
    bustling metropolitan commercial strip with a distinct ethnic                                                                                                 Wow. Does she follow your
                                                                                  porate good timing into the begin-       business. Or I can also do some-                                              ready to move forward.
    heritage. None of those businesses will make Taylor Street a                                                                                                advice?
                                                                                  ning of something, especially if         thing that’s called an electional
    destination. Jimmy John’s is the second sandwich chain to hit                                                                                                 A lot. I’ve had several clients          Our paper launches Sept. 15.
                                                                                  it’s a business? It’s too important      chart. That is, electing the most
    Taylor Street in the last year, joining Potbelly’s.                                                                                                         for over 20 years. Much of my            Any insights?
                                                                                  not to do it.                            auspicious time to open the busi-
       The eagerness of franchises to move into Taylor Street, to                                                                                               business is referral. I don’t              Let me say one thing that
    be sure, is a sign of the street’s overall economic health and                  Who are your clients?                                                       advertise much; it’s mostly word         I know about next week. The
    attractiveness to retailers, but not exactly a thrilling harbinger              I’ve got 24 psychiatrists, a cou-         How do you compile an elec-       of mouth. A lot of people come           sun will have moved to about
    of things to come. As a trip to chain-happy Armitage Avenue in                ple of physicians, a lot of entre-       tional chart?                        back, so they’re mostly pleased          21 degrees in Virgo. What that
    Lincoln Park will attest, the charm of a pedestrian-friendly, pic-            preneurs. And traders.                      I usually get the principal own-  with my work.                            means is this venture is par-
    turesque street first attracts independent retailers, who in turn                                                      er’s birth data, and then from                                                ticularly influenced by Mercury
    draw the notice of national players with deeper pockets. Soon,                  Really? What do traders want                                                 What sort of general advice
                                                                                                                           that, look forward—they give                                                  because Mercury rules Virgo.
    all the terra cotta facades and stoops in the world can’t hide the            to know?                                                                     do you give to a person start-
                                                                                                                           me a time span. Say, “I want                                                  So the paper might be especially
    fact that bank lobbies have supplanted boutiques.                               I look at how their personal                                               ing a business?
                                                                                                                           to open in the next six months                                                sensitive to those Mercury retro-
       Beyond the fact that national chains dilute the uniqueness                 decision-making process is                                                     A really good time to launch
                                                                                                                           and I want to open                                                            grade times.
    of a shopping street, they’re notoriously bad at contributing                 going. There are clearly times                                                               something is the
                                                                                                                           on a weekend.” Then
                                                                                                                                                    “Back up your
    to community causes and are less than likely to have a long-                  when you can trust your deci-                                                                first week of the           I’m the editor. Does my birth
                                                                                                                           I go through and
    term interest in the area. It may be that the proliferation of                sions, when you might want to                                                                new moon. The             date matter?
                                                                                                                           look at the week-
                                                                                                                                                                               new moon is run-
    University of Illinois at Chicago students is responsible for the             go with trusting what your head          end dates and see        important files.           ning the first week
                                                                                                                                                                                                           Interestingly, on your birthday,
    new, non-Italian corporate arrivals, but a trip to any college                is saying rather than trusting           how they match up.                                                            Oct. 25, Jupiter moves from the
    town would reveal plenty of independent shops, dependent on a                 what your gut instinct is saying.        It’s like having a
                                                                                                                                                    Don’t leave them           of the month now.         sign of Libra into the sign of
                                                                                                                                                                               The moon repre-
    student clientele, side by side with Jimmy John’s and Starbucks.              Or times when they might mesh,           child—you’re trying      vulnerable if              sents growth, and
                                                                                                                                                                                                         Scorpio. So your sun is radiat-
       The good news is that LR Development, the firm in charge of                and you can determine when you           to match up a har-                                                            ing out into the world. Jupiter
    Roosevelt Square, is open to adding a mix of smaller stores—and               might be really successful.              monious child to that    you’re coming into         the idea is that          is coming over the top of your
                                                                                                                                                                               putting       some-
    possibly some new restaurants—to the stretch of Taylor Street it
                                                                                    How do you prepare for a               parent.                  a Mercury                  thing out in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                         sun, so it might be a time where
                                                                                                                                                                                                         you really get recognition. It’s a
    controls. Personally, we’d like to see businesses and restaurants                                                         The other thing
    that honor the street’s Italian heritage, as well as mom-and-pop
                                                                                    Ahead of time, people need to          that people go by        retrograde.”               world has more            good time to be at the helm of
    shops that would feed off the area’s student base.                                                                                                                         growth potential          the ship by the way, because you
                                                                                  give me their birth date time            is the business’s Barbara Schermer
       At the last University Village Association meeting, several                                                                                                             if you’re doing it        may find that your own enthusi-
                                                                                  and place, and I just plug that          incorporation date. Business astrologer
    board members speculated that the 7-Eleven coming soon to the                                                                                                              at that time.             asm, your own vision, may have
                                                                                  into my Macintosh, and in about          A person feels more
    1100 block of West Taylor would become a hangout for vagrants                                                                                                                 You try not to         ripple effects on everybody that’s
                                                                                  two seconds, it pops up a chart.         strongly about their
    if it sells alcohol and strategized to set up a September meeting                                                                                                          open businesses           underneath you. It’s a good time
                                                                                  And about a minute later I’ve got        first day of business,
    with officials from the convenience store. It’s a situation that’s                                                                                         during a Mercury retrograde.              to be a cheerleader, to encourage
                                                                                  their chart out.                         or about their first contract sign-
    worth being concerned about, but the most telling comment                                                                                                  Three times a year, for a three-week      people to move forward.
                                                                                                                           ing under their name. It’s when
    came when several of the same UVA members said, somewhat                         What’s a typical visit like?                                              time period, Mercury looks like it’s
                                                                                                                           the person feels this thing came                                                 Have you ever ignored some-
    wistfully, that they’d be more than willing to welcome a decent                  The first thing I ask people is                                           going backward in the zodiac. And
                                                                                                                           to birth.                                                                     thing in your own chart because
    wine shop to the street. That’s precisely the sort of small niche             to give me a little background                                               Mercury rules communication,
                                                                                                                              Do you ever help with hiring business, marketing, and salespeo-            you didn’t want to follow it?
    retailer that Taylor Street and neighborhood residents need, far              about what’s going on in their                                                                                            Right now, I’ve got a lot of
    more than another place to buy Cheetos at 3 in the morning.                   life so we know what we’re going         decisions?                                        .
                                                                                                                                                               ple especially Mercury also rules
                                                                                                                              I have a client here in town newspapers, by the way       .                tough transits in my own chart.
                                                                                  to focus on. And I usually take                                                                                        Let’s face it: The whole world is
                                                                                  the first thing that comes out of        who’s a chiropractor with a big
                                                                                                                                                                 How can the Chicago                     challenged right now, and I think
                                                                                  their mouth as the most impor-           practice. She does the inter-
                                                                                                                                                               Journal best get through the              it’s very important for people
                                                                                  tant thing.                              viewing and gives me potential
                                                                                                                                                               next Mercury retrograde [Nov.             to have a spiritual life because
                                                                                     The appointment usually takes         employee birth dates. So together,
                                                                                                                                                               14-Dec.14]?                               it will help keep you grounded
                                                                                  an hour. I give them a copy of           we decide “what’s the fit here.”
                                                                                                                                                                 Try to have all your stories            and not get you swept away with
                                                                                                                           Especially what would fit good
                                                                                                                                                               and decisions made beforehand             the tragedies of the world. Since
                                                                                                                                                               because you’ll find there are more        I was 5 years old I’ve always
                                                                                                                                                               errors in copy under a Mercury            thought of myself as very spiri-
                                                                                                                                                               retrograde. Copy editors don’t do         tual. I used to cry at sunsets. I’m
                                                                                                                                                               as good of a job or things slip           just really moved by the beauty
                                                                                  :RQGHULQJZKHQ                                                               through. So actually wrong infor-         of nature.

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                                                                                                                                                                        www.ChicagoJournal.com           I    Thursday, September 15, 2005         7

                           [    Our Views ]
    I                                                                       I

               it already
        What’s left of the East Village historic
            district should be preserved

              or too long, residents of the East Village have been
              left to wonder whether their neighborhood will
              remain somewhat quaint and vibrant or morph into
              an unrecognizable monster. In 2003, they elected
        Alderman Manny Flores at least in part because he prom-
        ised to put a stop to rampant teardowns of historic build-
        ings in the neighborhood.
          In a sense, Flores was almost too late. So much had
        already been demolished in the East Village that it had
        nowhere near the architectural uniformity of its land-
        marked sister to the west, Ukrainian Village. And Flores,
        though sincerely committed to historic preservation,
        didn’t help matters by being indecisive once he took
        office. Had he immediately moved to downzone the neigh-
        borhood to two-flat scale, development might have slowed
        to a reasonable pace and the epidemic teardowns ceased.
        But he didn’t. He hemmed and hawed over legal minutiae
        and missed the fact that time, not a hypothetical lawsuit
        years down the road, was the enemy. In the meantime,
        developers were busy poking more holes in the neighbor-
        hood’s historic infrastructure.
          Since Flores is a freshman alderman, his lack of                      MARC STOPECK
        insight on the downzoning issue is a forgiveable mistake.

                                                                                          Whose library is it anyway?
        And he should be praised for standing up to real estate
        interests backing by the West Town Property Owners who
        have demanded a block by block vote on landmark desig-
        nation. Landmark districts don’t make sense in isolation:
        what preservationists are working to save are neighbor-

        hoods, not just individual homes.
                                                                                    was just on the phone with                                   Polish National Alliance. Sophie           If so, why haven’t they changed the names
          Results from the city’s survey are in: a majority of
                                                                                    my dear old neighbor Sophie                                  recently was honored for her 50         of the 17 libraries already named after people?
        property owners in the proposed East Village district
                                                                                    Czernek. Sophie turns 78 in                                  years of work in the Polish com-        My guess is it’s because fans of Martin Luther
        are in support of landmarking. The City Council
                                                                                    October, around the time the                                 munity.                                 King, Whitney Young, Richard J. Daley, and
        should move swiftly to make the district permanent
                                                                                new library is expected to open at                                  But Roman Pucinski! Why              others would raise a stink. So much for the
        so those putting energy into the fight can move to other
                                                                                1701 N. Milwaukee. I mentioned                                   hadn’t I thought of that? He’s an       efficiency argument.
        battles. The future of our neighborhoods shouldn’t be left
                                                                                to her that I thought it would                                   even better candidate. Here is             There are related issues regarding the will of
        to a bunch of realtors looking to make a quick, tidy profit
                                                                                be appropriate to name the new                                   a man who served that district          library patrons versus that of their servants.
        from teardowns.
                                                                                branch after a Polish-American, it                               in seven congresses and was             Such as why aldermen chose, with minimal
          At this point, the city should step in and landmark
                                                                                being in the midst of the historic                               famous for spearheading the             community input, to center this new resource
        what’s left. Forget the block-by-block politics. It’s time for                                               PETER ZELCHENKO
                                                                                Polish community. I said I felt                                  Head Start program and other            in the wealthiest neighborhood, far from the
        real leadership.
                                                                                Benjamin Adamowski would be                                      education initiatives. Pucinski         working-class families who will need it most.
                                                                                an ideal candidate. Adamowski,                                   died in 2002, and I recall that at      And why the library system has been dumping
                                                                                a longtime best friend, sometime                                 his wake I actually had a discus-       important print titles in its effort to compete
                                                                                bitter enemy of the elder Mayor
                                                                                Daley, grew up in the neighbor-
                                                                                                                         Why can’t a             sion with his colleagues and
                                                                                                                                                 family about how properly to
                                                                                                                                                                                         with Blockbuster and Tower Records. That’s all
                                                                                                                                                                                         water under the bridge, though it’s part of the
                                                                                hood and served loyally as state’s   community choose            memorialize him. What about             same river: I believe the new location and name
                                                                                attorney in the 1950s. He’s best       the name of its           the Roman Pucinski Library?             will “reflect the neighborhood ... where service
                                                                                remembered as the prosecutor in                                  Great idea, Sophie!                     is provided” and serve ideologically to shut out
                                                                                the infamous Summerdale Police             library?                 But library officials plan to        the people who need it most.
                                                                                Scandal, in which a ring of cops                                 call it the “Bucktown-Wicker               In such an audacious city, where the county
                                                                                were convicted of robbing North                                  Park Branch.” Here comes a              board president can name our public hospi-
                                                                                Side businesses.                                                 new library of 14,000 square feet,      tal—this is incredible—after himself, where
                                                                                   Despite Adamowski’s excel-                                    which is to replace several much        the mayor can rip up a public airport at his
                                                                                lent work and their friendship, Daley shut        smaller ones, including the West Town Branch           midnight whim and then name it after a cable
                                                                                Adamowski out of his post in 1960, running        a few blocks south. That location, which before        company, why can’t a community can’t choose
                                                                                Daniel Ward in a campaign tainted by wide-        its closing served a much smaller population,          the name of its library or choose how to honor
                                                                                spread reports of fraud.                          was named for all of West Town, while the              the past?
                                                                                   “That reminds me,” said Sophie. “I used        new branch—10 times larger and with a much                Names convey deep meaning beyond geogra-
                                                                                to be with Roman Pucinski and they double-        larger service area—is named after little old          phy, which is why we have street addresses. If
                                                                                crossed him too.”                                 Bucktown and Wicker Park. How convenient.              they won’t rename all of the libraries, then we
                                                                                   Sophie and her three sisters helped out in     Who comes up with these names, a real estate           should have the right to choose a name for this
                                                                                the Roman Pucinski campaign headquarters          broker?                                                one. Will it be Adamowski, who served with
                                                                                from the very beginning of his political career      Until recently, the community was able to           distinction on the library’s board, or Pucinski,
                                                                                as a congressman in the 1950s. In a similar       make the choice. But Chicago Public Library            longtime champion of public education?
                                                                                political game, Daley helped Charles Percy        spokeswoman Maggie Killackey cited a new               Either would be an appropriate honoree for
                                                                                defeat Pucinski in his 1972 bid for the Senate.   policy, in place since at least 2003: “Library         this library. I’m sure readers also have some
                                                                                   Sophie’s connection with the family was        building names shall identify and reflect the          ideas. Or will we just keep the current name,
                                                                                through the grandmother, Livia Pucinska, with     neighborhoods in which the libraries are locat-        Bucktown-Wicker Park, which commemorates
                                                                                whom she served for many years in various         ed and where service is provided.” It’s more           little more than the site of the famous 1990s
             ABOUT VIEWPOINTS                                                   Polish mutual aid organizations, especially the   efficient that way, she explained.                     land grab? Let the debate begin.
            Chicago Journal editorializes on issues of interest to
        the communities of the South Loop, Near West, and West
        Loop, hoping to foster discussion and to encourage action.
        Editorials represent the consensus of our newspaper’s edito-
                                                                                                                                                                                                               [    City scene                 ]
        rial staff and are not the opinions of individuals or the news-
        paper corporation’s board of directors. Comments from read-
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        the Journal.
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        munity interest, or any aspect of the newspaper, are welcome.
        They may be mailed to Chicago Journal, Viewpoints, 141 S.
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            Letter writers should include a telephone number,
                                                                                                                                                                                                             September 5, 2005. 12:11 p.m.
        preferably a daytime number, for verification purposes.
                                                                                                                                                                                                             Wood and Milwaukee.
        Letters must be signed.
            Questions should be directed to Chicago Journal editor                                                                                                                                           Photo by Josh Hawkins
        Laura Putre at 312/243-2696 ext. 3315.

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8    Thursday, September 15, 2005   I   www.ChicagoJournal.com

Coyote pretty                                   Photos by Josh Hawkins
                                         The Around the Coyote Arts Festival
                                livened up Wicker Park last weekend. Center,
                                    a woman checks out paintings at 1629 N.
                                  Damen; Far right, painter Ewa Bloch eats an
                                  apple in the window of her space and Ryan
                                           Zoghlin watches people look at his
                                      photography. Below, the Locals bassist
                                  Christy Nunes plays during their Sunday at
                               Club Lucky and Yvonne Doll tunes her guitar.

                                              manager, which he finds somewhat puz-          if everybody’s singing the same note.’ ”        “I used to order a lot of books about      now, he’s packing up the best of the

LIBRARY                                       zling, since he’s a librarian through and
                                                                                                Fortunately, extra book money came
                                                                                             in the form of the Friends of the Library
                                                                                                                                          rehabbing older houses,” he adds. “But
                                                                                                                                          now, most of the older houses in the
                                                                                                                                                                                        Damen Avenue collection, to be shipped
                                                                                                                                                                                        to the new locale, and “deleting” dog-
         Continued from page 1                   “The requirements of my job mesh with       Book Sale. Or, more accurately, “Friend of   neighborhood have been rehabbed.” So in       eared and redundant titles that won’t
                                              my defects of personality,” he observes.       the Library,” as Parker assembled all the    recent years, he’s focused more on fiction.   make the trip. “There’s some heavies
Brandhorst called Parker “a helpful           “I’m kind of quiet and I like to look things   books and ran the table every year at the    “There’s a lot of neat stuff being written    from downtown, and they’re telling what
presence.” And neighborhood gadfly Joe        up. I’m cheerful, but I’m not quick-mov-       Bucktown Arts Festival. Only on Sunday       that doesn’t make the best-seller list.”      to toss out and complimenting me on hav-
Lake thanked Parker for not only being        ing enough. I’m sort of boring and sort of     during the festival, though, because the        One of his chosen books is Hard City, a    ing developed a little collection.”
his first friend in Bucktown, but also for    overeducated for the private sector.”          library was open on Saturdays. He’d raise    memoir by Clark Howard set on the mean          Will his collection find its way to the
teaching him how to use e-mail.                  Parker used to order all the books          about $2,000 or $3,000 selling outdated      streets of 1940s Chicago. “I got it because   new library? “I don’t know,” he says. “I
  During his time at the library, the         for the library—the shelves held 6,000         books. He used the money for new com-        it mentions the Damen Avenue branch           was about to say that most of them were
bespectacled, gray-headed Parker has          titles—but now they’re uniformly select-       puters, author visits, a VCR, and—the best   in it,” he reminisces. “It’s the only book    going along, because they’re different
seen his clientele change from Puerto         ed for all the branches and shipped in         part—to buy books of his own choosing.       in the library that mentions the Damen        and neat, but some of them are worn
Rican families to Polish-speaking nan-        from a central location.                          “I personally raised every dollar that    Avenue branch.”                               out. Anything that looks worn out is not
nies pushing strollers. His title has also       “There’s a quote here that you would        went into that lousy Friends group,” he         Parker isn’t 100 percent sure whether      going to a new place. It’s had a decent life
changed, from branch librarian to branch      like,” he says. “ ‘You can’t have harmony      says, already sounding a little wistful.     he’ll be working at the new library. For      and deserves a decent funeral.”

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