January 1, 2018
Dear Neighbor:Happy new year!
As we look toward a new year, it is important to reflect on the year behind us. 2017 was a phenomenal year in the 48th Ward: The year began with Chicago receiving a $1.1 billion federal transit grant to help fund upcoming CTA renovations in the area; the iconic Swedish flag water tower returned to Andersonville; we all took a pause in August to witness an historic solar eclipse; and we ended the year with the first 48th Ward International Unity Day, bringing hundreds of neighbors together to celebrate and share their cultures with one another.
Thank you to the many residents, block clubs, chambers of commerce, business owners, and community partners who contributed to last year’s successes. I look forward to another active and positive year for all of us in the 48th Ward.
Public safety is my number one priority as Alderman. Though the city experienced its third consecutive year with more than 500 homicides, we continue to see improvements in public safety in our community. This is made possible through coordinated efforts between our office, the community, and the 20th and 24th police districts.
We continue to work closely with the Chicago Police Department to address illegal gang and narcotics activity. This past year, officers patrolling our community made key arrests for illegal firearms and narcotic sales. The Chicago Police continue to proactively improve safety on key streets in our community with ongoing foot patrols on Devon, Thorndale, Bryn Mawr, and Argyle. Our local police districts work in tandem with other sections of CPD to address safety in our and neighboring communities. The City and the Chicago Police Department continue to work on needed reforms of the Department, including having every officer wear a body camera while on duty. These important reforms will continue in 2018.
Safety is all of our responsibility — if you See Something, Say Something. It remains critical that safety improvements extend to every community in our City. The Chicago Tribune has a good editorial on steps we as a City need to continue to make our City safer, click here to read it. I welcome your feedback on this important issue.
Our office takes a multi-pronged approach to public safety. Providing resources, support, and positive opportunities for youth is critical to the safety and stability of our community. Additionally, it is imperative that neighbors are connected and have trusting and collaborative relationships with one another, with our office, and with the local police districts.
Boys & Girls Club vs. 20th Police District Basketball Game
In February, my office helped youth from the McCormick-Pedersen Boys & Girls Club coordinate a basketball game against the 20th Police District. Positive interactions like this are critical to healing relations between the Chicago Police Department and our youth. Congratulations to Abdul Wahab, the young man who coordinated this fun event.
Becoming A Man (BAM)
BAM (Becoming A Man) is a youth mentoring program that provides social-emotional learning and support for young males. The program continues to excel at Swift and Goudy schools. This year the program was expanded to include BAM counselors at Senn High School and McCutcheon Elementary School. I will continue to look for ways to expand this and other youth mentoring programs in our community in the coming year.
Loyola University Athletics Ward Nights
Our office partnered this year with Loyola University Athletics to offer discounted tickets to sporting events for local families. In March, Loyola honored student athletes from 48th Ward middle schools at a Men’s Volleyball game. Mark your calendar for the next 48th Ward Day at Loyola Men’s Basketball, Saturday, Jan. 13, 3pm. Click here for more information.
Edgewater Kids United
Each Friday night, through a partnership with Sacred Heart Schools, Becoming a Man (BAM), and Loyola University, middle and high school students come together for a meal and open gym. This year programming was expanded to Berger Park as well. Edgewater Kids United provides a safe and supportive environment for young men and women in our community.
Latin School Community Space in Uptown
Latin School opened a community space at 4956 N. Sheridan earlier this year to provide space and programming for local students and organizations. In June, programming kicked off with the first-ever Uptown Hackathon, when students from Goudy, McCutcheon, Courtenay, and Latin schools worked together to solve computer science problems. This space also serves as a satellite Community Justice Center for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, providing neighbors legal support. Click here for more information about the Community Justice Satellite Center.
Honoring Thorndale Pillars of Safety
At this summer’s National Night Out festivities, my office honored three local partners who have contributed significantly to improved public safety on Thorndale. Lynn Pierce, as a dedicated community activist and founder of the Thorndale Action Task Force; Antonio Thomas, as a mentor and leader of the BAM program at Swift and Goudy schools; and Officer “Teddy” Thanasenaris as the outstanding foot patrolman on Thorndale, represent a united front against violence around Thorndale and a safer and more unified community. These three amazing individuals are shining examples of the best our community has to offer and we are deeply appreciative of their efforts to make our community safer.
Safe Summer Nights
Every summer my office partners with community organizations to produce over 100 Safe Summer Nights events. These programs not only provide free family-friendly activities for our neighbors, but they increase public safety by positive activity taking place in public areas. Every Wednesday this summer, local police officers came out to the Swift School Playlot and Buttercup Park to connect with over 400 community members through grilling out, playing basketball, soccer, and other games.
Recognition for Community-Police Partnership on Argyle
This summer Uptown United and the 20th Police District were presented with an award and grant from the MetLife Foundation for the success of the community-police partnership during the Argyle Night Market. In its fifth season this summer, the weekly event saw more then 40,000 people come out to enjoy the food, music, and culture on Argyle Street. We look forward to seeing this event continue to grow and thrive in the years to come.
After years of budgetary uncertainty and mid-year cuts, this school year Chicago Public Schools teachers, administrators, staff, and families were able to breathe a sigh of relief. The Illinois General Assembly passed legislation that included a new funding formula for public school districts across the state, an important step toward adequately funding our schools. The legislation put in place framework to increase funds for CPS for years to come.
In addition to state financial support, our community stepped up in a big way this year to help with local schools’ fundraising efforts. Among the public schools in our ward, more than $50,000 was raised to support critical needs, including classroom supplies, after school programming, and updated classroom technology. Thank you to the many local businesses, neighbors, and parents who have worked diligently throughout the year to support our local students.
Senn High School
Senn High School boasted a record Freshman enrollment in the 2017/18 school year, which is no surprise considering the continued acheivements by students, staff, and administration. Senn also began the school year earning the esteemed distinction of a Democracy School from Illinois Civic Mission Coalition. To learn more about why Senn is a great option for your child’s high school education, click below to view the promotional video Senn released this year.
This year our office collaborated with Friends of Senn and the Chicago Park District to host the first Senntoberfest fall festival fundraiser for Senn High School. The event raised more than $5,000 and featured hay rides, a bounce house, food, entertainment, games, and more. Congratulations on a successful event, and we look forward to next year’s Senntoberfest.
Sacred Heart Schools Anniversary
Sacred Heart Schools celebrated their 140th anniversary in May, with a ceremony that included a street dedication on Sheridan Rd., an inter-faith service, and the planting of a Peace Pole in the school yard. Sacred Heart is a great community partner, sponsoring weekly youth programming through Edgewater Kids United in partnership with BAM.
Edgewater Reads had a strong year in 2017, celebrating the installation of 100 Little Free Libraries throughout the Edgewater community. Edgewater Reads also worked to help groups plan similar initiatives in two other neighborhoods across the city. To learn how you can get involved with Edgewater Reads, visit edgewaterreads.org.
Edgewater Village is a grassroots network of more than 200 older adults enabling each other to age in our community. The group, that has continued to grow in 2017, programs a monthly calendar of events including housing workshops, poetry classes, computer skills workshops, and more. For more information or to join Edgewater Village, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2017, we welcomed a host of new businesses to the community. I am proud to continue to work with our chambers of commerce to attract independent businesses to the ward.
We welcomed more than 25 new businesses to the 48th Ward this year, including: 2 x 10 Studio (1221 W. Devon); Artur’s Barber Shop (1135 W. Bryn Mawr), Athletico Physical Therapy (1325 W. Devon); BLU 57 Seafood (5701 N. Clark); Bibim Town (5357 N. Broadway); Big City Optical (5653 N. Clark); Cowboys and Astronauts (1478 W. Summerdale); Colvin House/Creative Coworking (5940 N. Sheridan); Chicago Mosaic School (1101 W. Granville); Edge of Sweetness (6034 N. Broadway); First Sip Cafe (1057 W. Argyle); Fix Your Kicks (1140 W. Thorndale); Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream (1120 W. Granville); Gallery 1070 (1060-70 W. Granville); The Growling Rabbit (5938 N. Broadway); Heirloom Books (6239 N. Clark); Ice Station (1130 W. Argyle); K & J Global Pharmacy (6237 N. Clark); Pita O Grill (1103 W. Bryn Mawr); pHlour Bakery & Cafe (1138 W. Bryn Mawr); Pop Hair Salon(5642 N. Broadway); Rosin Eyecare (5605 N. Clark); The Lytle House (5517 N. Broadway); Tekkeez Tech Repair (6204 N. Broadway); TK Photography (6241 N. Clark); VeRanda Restaurant & Coffee (1100 W. Thorndale); The Xchange (1129 W. Bryn Mawr).
Please show these new businesses a warm welcome and support them. Shopping locally helps ensure the sustainability of the vibrant business districts we enjoy in Edgewater, Andersonville, and Uptown. Taking the extra time and effort to support a local brick and mortar business, rather than shopping online, means your money will stay in the community. Our local businesses depend on our consistent support.
This year my office collaborated with the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, Edgewater Development Corporation, Business Partners – The Chamber for Uptown, and Uptown United to host a tour of some of our business districts in the ward. We toured prospective businesses through the Argyle and Edgewater business corridors to highlight key opportunity areas.
My office also worked with 40th Ward Alderman O’Connor, Edgewater Chamber of Commerce, and Edgewater Development Corporation, to host a series of North Clark St. Community Visioning sessions this autumn. At these community meetings, neighbors weighed in on desired infrastructure improvements and economic development in the area of Clark St. between Ridge and Devon. My staff and I will continue to coordinate our efforts with neighbors and community partners to bring some of the ideas generated at these meetings to fruition.
As part of our menu spending this year, our office planted more than 60 trees in the ward, painted more than 130 streetlight poles, made sidewalk improvements near churches and schools, and added pedestrian curb extenstions. We resurfaced several residential streets and added bikes lanes on Glenwood, Ardmore, and Argyle.
This year we cut the ribbon on two exciting park projects: a brand new playground at Senn Park (Elmdale and Greenview) and a new dog park along the Lakefront Trail at Bryn Mawr. Both of these projects would not have been possible without the support and involvement of community members.
Bikes in the 48th Ward
Following a successful community process and installation of the Glenwood Greenway Contraflow bike lane, Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) engaged in a pilot Neighborhood Bikeway Network project with our community this year. An innovative approach to bike planning, CDOT is working to build a connected network of bikeways in our community to make it safe and easy for cyclists of all ages and abilities to navigate through the area. This year we hosted a number of community bike rides and meetings to hear from community members about where improvements are needed. We will keep you updated on the progress of this project over the next two years and welcome your feedback and participation.
This summer we hosted the first 48th Ward Bike Drive to benefit youth in our community. Thank you to the neighbors who donated more than 50 bikes to our cause. We distributed the bikes to teens who participate in mentoring programs through Becoming A Man (BAM) and GirlForward. We plan to relaunch this effort in the spring.
Year of Public Art
The City of Chicago named 2017 the Year of Public Art, and that held true in the 48th Ward. We saw a number of new murals, bricolage projects, and a new sculpture installed in our community this year. Keep an eye out for two projects that began in 2017 and will be completed in 2018 — by artists Cheryl Pope and Erik Peterson — and will be installed at the Broadway Armory and at Thorndale Beach.
Swedish American Museum Water Tower
Following a three-year fundraising campaign, the Swedish American Museum (5211 N. Clark St.) installed a fiberglass replica of their iconic wooden water tank atop the building this summer. The original water tank was destroyed during a particularly brutal winter, and the museum and Andersonville community have worked hard to restore this important neighborhood icon. Congratulations to Karin Abercrombie and her team!
We welcomed new arts/events venues to the ward this year:
- The Lytle House (5517 N. Broadway) is an intimate events venue that features a beautiful mural in the courtyard and an unexpected mural of Dolly Parton on their gate.
- Colvin House (5940 N. Sheridan) is an historic mansion turned events venue and coworking facility. Prior to the business opening, Green Star Movement employed local teens to install a beautiful bricolage mural along the Thorndale side of Colvin House.
- Gallery 1070 (1070 W. Granville) is a new arts gallery and event space run by Edgewater Artists in Motion. We look forward to enjoying community events in this space in the new year.
Edgewater is home to more than 20 theatre companies, offering high-quality live entertainment right in our backyard. These organizations draw people from around the Chicagoland area to our community to support other local businesses as well. I encourage you to see a performance in Edgewater in 2018! Visit edgewater.org/theatre to learn more about the Edgewater Theatre District.
1436 W. Berwyn Ave.
Earlier this year, a beautiful and historic building in Andersonville at 1436 W. Berwyn Ave. was purchased by a developer who planned to tear down the building and build a six-unit condo building. Thanks to a large number of vocal and organized neighbors, the building was not torn down. A couple recently purchased the building and will be renovating the interior in order to restore it to a single-family residence, where they will live. The historic nature of this building will remiain for many years to come.
48th Ward International Unity Day
In November we hosted the first 48th Ward International Unity Day. In the times we’re living in, it is important to celebrate our diversity and honor the cultures that come together to make our neighborhood special. Nearly 500 neighbors came together to share and celebrate the backgrounds and traditions that make our community a rich, colorful, and welcoming place to live. This event was truly a community effort, and I am grateful to all who made it possible. I look forward to this becoming an annual tradition in our neighborhood.
Thank you for a great year. My staff and I are looking forward to working with you in 2018!
Alderman, 48th Ward