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News From Uptown Chicago Commission
June 2009

Welcome to Uptown Chicago Commission's bi-monthly newsletter. Comments, feedback and suggestions for articles are welcome. Please email us at uptownchicago@sbcglobal.net.

In this issue
  • Letter from the President
  • Recognizing Our Great Neighbors
  • Public Safety
  • Neighbors Unhappy with Upzoning on Beacon Street
  • Uptown Residents Work Hard for Chase Park

  • Recognizing Our Great Neighbors
    UCC 2009 Good Neighbor Award

    It's great neighbors who help make a great community. At the Block Club Forum in May, James Masini accepted the 2009 Good Neighbor Award on behalf of North Side Community Federal Credit Union, which is located at 1011 W. Lawrence. This financial resource serves as a helpful alternative to the predatory lending that some residents face, and has truly proved themselves to be a bank for all members of the community.

    Nick Novich, who owns Uptown Nick's and Nick's on Wilson, received the Florence Bezazian Award in recognition for all the work he does for numerous block clubs and various community organizations. Meeting spaces are often at a premium, but Nick goes out of his way to offer both of his businesses as places where residents can meet and plan their neighborhood activities.

    Both the North Side Community Federal Credit Union and Nick's are two businesses that take pride in the exterior facade of their businesses, as well as the interior. With their unobstructed windows, people can see both in and out of their businesses, which makes it appear more inviting while promoting a sense of safety. UCC appreciates the hard work they do to make Uptown a more inviting place to live.

    Public Safety

    A few years ago, UCC organized a meeting with Uptown area liquor stores and Aldermen Schulter, Shiller, and Smith. The result of the meeting was an agreement that area liquor stores would restrict the sale of certain items that catered to the public drinker. Since that time, it has been observed that a few liquor stores are no longer following this commitment. UCC is in the midst of checking in with each liquor store and following up to ensure that this commitment will continue. Curbing public drinking not only enhances the quality of life in the neighborhood, but it helps the other area businesses out as well.

    As the weather warms up, there will be plenty of opportunities to join your neighbors in making Uptown safer. Stay tuned for news of community walks, positive loitering and other safety-related events.

    In the meantime, please consider attending some of the folllowing cases as a Court Advocate:

    Shermain Miles, AKA Charmaine Boone, June 23, 9:30 AM Rm #209, Skokie Court House. Ms. Miles has been charged with Robbery of a senior citizen and is being held with bail in the amount of $75,000.

    The Darlington Hotel, located at 4700 N Racine, is in Housing Court also on June 23, 9:30 AM Rm #1107 at the Daley Center. This building is in court for code violations and has been operating for several months without a license.

    . For further information on court advocacy cases, please contact the 23rd District Community Policing Office at 312-744-0064 or the 20th District at 312-742-8770.

    Upcoming CAPS meetings (times are all 7 P.M. to 8 P.M.)
    Beat 2311 -- 1st Tuesday of every month, Truman College, 1145 W Wilson.
    Beat 2312 -- 3rd Tuesday of every month, Cafe Too, 4715 N Sheridan.
    Beat 2313 -- 2nd Wednesday of every month, Clarendon Park Fieldhouse, 4501 N Clarendon.
    Beat 2322 -- 1st Thursday of every month, Buena Park Library, 929 W Buena.
    Beat 2323 -- 3rd Wednesday, odd months, Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted.
    Beat 2024 -- 3rd Thursday, even months, Margate Park, 4921 N Marine
    Beat 2033 -- 1st Tuesday, even months, Bezazian Library, 1226 W Ainslie.

    Court Advocacy Training Seminar
    UCC is pleased to invite all Uptown residents to a long awaited Court Advocacy training seminar sponsored by the Cook County State's Attorney Community Justice Center. This hour long seminar will be focused on how to become an effective Court Advocate. Speakers will include a Judge, Assistant State's Attorneys from felony court, misdemeanor court as well as seasoned Court Advocates.

    If you are concerned about Public Safety issues and want to be more involved in helping address solutions, please consider attending this hour long seminar. The training is being held on Monday, June 22 7:00-8:00 PM at the 20th District Community Room, located at 5400 N Lincoln Ave. Plenty of free parking is available and refreshments will be served. Please call 773.334.4066 to RSVP.

    Neighbors Unhappy with Upzoning on Beacon Street
    4627 N. Beacon home

    Neighbors lost in their efforts to prevent an upzoning in Sheridan Park!

    Earlier this month, UCC worked with neighbors on Beacon Street, to reaffirm their request to not upzone 4627 N. Beacon. Almost 4 years ago, residents met with Ald. Shiller to discuss its zoning and the decision then was to not upzone the property so that the oldest home in Sheridan Park could be protected. A few months later, the developer made the decision to tear the home down anyway, despite knowing that the property would not be upzoned to build an 8-flat.

    Last April, the developer again made a request to have the property upzoned. UCC led a petition drive that resulted in numerous block clubs and community leaders signing a petition, asking Ald. Shiller to respect the wishes of the area residents. Richard Thale from UCC also provided testimony at the City's Zoning Committee. At this meeting, no resident spoke in favor of upzoning the property.

    Ald. Shiller asked that upzoning be allowed and her request was granted by the City. It's now understood that the developer has plans of building an 8-flat at the site of this home.

    Uptown Residents Work Hard for Chase Park
    Catherine & Matt helping with Raven

    Matt and Catherine Denny (UCC members) and their four children (2 sets of twins) are frequent visitors to Chase Park, so to help out with raising the needed funds to revamp this park, Catherine joined the Chase Park Advisory Council, and has spent many untold hours helping organize and plan numerous events to raise money. The latest event, The Raven, was a large 2-day, 3-night festival, with multiple bands, multiple vendors, and lots of activities for the kids, including a petting zoo! Matt went one step further and played in one of the bands.

    Despite a chilly, rainy weekend, State Rep. Greg Harris had happy news when he surprised everyone with his announcement that Illinois has plans to contribute $400,000 toward the $1,000,000 goal of raising the needed funds. A special thanks, too, to Ald. Gene Schulter who has worked with residents to help make this happen.

    With the help announced by State Rep Greg Harris, Chase Park looks like they'll be able to meet their goal within 2 years. Groundbreaking is expected to happen in the Fall.

    Letter from the President
    Greg James at Raven 2009

    Summer has barely started and we have gotten off to a running start with a block club forum, various safety meetings, and managed to get some fun in at the Chase Park fundraiser. As you can see, State Rep Greg Harris showed that he can play a mean game of corn hole as I struggled along.

    At the block club forum, Uptown block club leaders spoke of their upcoming block club parties that give a chance for neighbors to meet one another, share some great food, and end the day knowing some new people on their street.

    If you get the chance, please consider helping your block club out with these upcoming events. It reaffirms why many of us believe Uptown is one great neighborhood in Chicago and it also helps out your block club leaders in their tireless work.

    - James Cappleman
    UCC President

    Uptown block clubs
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