Two of the issues that neighbors brought up at last week’s meeting were (1) parking issues due to Ravenswood Metra commuters and (2) the redevelopment of the Sears lot at Lawrence and Ravenswood. Well, Alderman Pawar announced today that there will be a series of community meetings about the proposed Mariano’s grocery store project at that corner, which is sure to affect East Ravenswood. The first meeting is during this Thursday’s monthly Ward Council meeting. If you have time to attend, please come out and share your thoughts. The meeting will be held in our area at All Saints Episcopal Church, 1757 W. Wilson Avenue, 6:45pm. If you can’t make it, feel free to take a look at the developer’s presentation (click here for a pdf). There will be additional meetings on December 15th and 19th. Let me know if you have any questions and concerns you’d like our Ward Council alternate, Linda Wilson, to share with the Alderman on Thursday. (Unfortunately, I have a prior engagement and have to miss it.)
Thanks to East Ravenswood’s Secretary Ray Ballard, we have minutes from last week’s Area 5 meeting. Click here (EastRavenswood_Nov21 Minutes) to download the recap as a formatted Word document, or read it below. If there’s anything we missed, please let us know!
Area #5 East Ravenswood Meeting Recap
Nov 21, 2011
4550 North Hermitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois
1. Attendance and Introductions:
a. Over 20 people attended the meeting and were introduced
b. Rebecca Zemans, our Area #5 Representative provided her background.
a. Review Alderman Pawar’s October 27th Ward Council meeting.
b. Discuss current “Issues” to bring to December Ward Council meeting.
c. Brainstorm “Fun Ideas” for Area #5.
3. Review of Ward 47 Council Oct meeting:
a. Rebecca provided an overview of the Ward Council meeting, as well as the City Budget Town Hall. Both reviews may be found on the East Ravenswood Blog (www.eastravenswood.wordpress.com).
b. There are 22 areas in our ward; ~1500 people in our area.
c. Important to continue expanding the membership of each Area group.
d. The budget town hall was heated, with approximately 20 attendees.
4. Issues in Area #5:
a. Issues are to be “big picture,” not “nit-picking” at small items (potholes, etc.) unless it is a widespread problem.
b. Permit Parking:
i. Streets were re-permitted across the area recently. Several ideas were discussed:
1. Weekday 9-11AM permitting to necessitate permits for commuters parking near the Metra station
a. This had mixed reviews. Some felt it would alleviate the parking misuse by Metra users while allowing neighbors and guests to use temporary permits if need be.
b. Several said this would negatively impact neighbors with atypical work schedules by necessitating they spend money on the permits to park. Complaint that temporary permits expire so quickly it makes planning difficult.
c. Would this help with winter parking when snow is present? Snow parking (people reserving spots) is an issue.
2. The neighborhood relationship with the Romanian Church on for residents of 4400-4600 N Paulina is very strained.
a. Parking permit rules not followed and need enforcement. Parking is never available. Law enforcement reluctant to ticket church goers. From their perspective: This is the only Romanian church in the city, 2500+ families go there.
3. What is happening with the Sears parking garage (out of Area #5)?
a. Unclear what it is used for. Could this be used for commuter parking for the Metra?
i. Rats were an issue that many recollected with no clear resolution.
i. A clear distinction was made between “tags” and “graffiti”
1. “Tags” are considered (illegal) artwork or artist signatures, while “Graffiti” is gang/crime related.
2. Recent reports of spray paint were “tags” but are still illegal
ii. With city budgets for spray paint (tags/graffiti) removal in decline, able residents are encouraged to use turpentine (and other methods recommended by the city) to remove it in a more timely manner (wait time for city removal is significant).
i. In relation to the “tagging” and other crimes, residents complained about the significant lack of police presence
ii. Several residents recollected robberies, particularly of vehicles
iii. CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy) meetings
1. Only a few residents attended the last CAPS meeting to discuss issues with police officers, but different officers attend each quarterly meeting making accountability for improvement very difficult. The Alderman should request the same officers attend each meeting.
2. Officers put the accountability for safety back on residents because we lack a clear list of issues with firm neighborhood support.
3. More organization is needed in our CAPS meetings
4. Mary Stamler is our representative, but needs others to boost attendance
5. A safety committee may be formed to better organize in alerting residents of recent incidents, as well as following up with CAPS meetings.
6. Next CAPS meeting is February. We should be prepared.
f. Senior Audit
i. We will be planning a method to determine where seniors live in our area so we can better serve them in severe weather.
1. Grocery and medication shopping for seniors during snowy weather was considered a possibility.
ii. The Alderman would like to find ways to keep them in our ward.
iii. It was suggested we use our new flyer communication network to visit houses. We will consider how to do this better.
5. Fun Ideas
a. Block parties and rummage sales in the spring
b. A “Winterfest” or “Snow Saturday” to collectively shovel following a snowstorm.
i. City budgets for snow removal will be down. This could be a more fun way to collectively improve the streets.
ii. Encourage kids to set up hot chocolate stands, shovel for seniors, etc.
c. Once-a-year spring cleaning and planting day would be fun.
a. Rebecca Zemans is our Representative, Linda Wilson is our Alternate representing Area #5 to the 47th Ward Council
b. Ray Ballard has been acting as Secretary and will continue to serve that role
c. A leader to plan a large block party on Ravenswood (with a concert?) on would be great in the summer
d. Safety committee names will be solicited
7. Wrap-up/Club Actions
a. Meetings will likely be monthly on Mondays, 7PM at All Saints. The location worked well for all attendees.
b. Gary volunteered to be the flyer distributor for his block.
c. Future meeting could discuss zoning
i. for the (likely delayed or cancelled) 4-story building proposal for Ravenswood and Wilson, as well as zoning of the to-be-build mansion in the Area. Discuss zoning with Alderman to understand his preferences?
ii. Perhaps urban farming/gardens could be built?
d. A Safety Committee will be formed and members solicited
e. A Senior Audit will need organizing to better determine senior needs
f. A “Winterfest” or “Snow Saturday” leader may be solicited