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Exciting New things for Spring 2013

Hello Neighbors!

I hope you are well. I first wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the First Annual East Ravenswood Neighbors Potluck a huge success. We had so much fun meeting so many new faces at Lillstreet’s new meeting space, Lillstreet Loft.

On Tuesday, June 4th at 6:30PM at the Sulzer Library auditorium there is a neighborhood meeting about the brewpub that is going in on Ravenswood near Leland on the west side of the tracks. If you have any questions about the brewpub please contact Ernie Constantino Director of Constituent Services 47th Ward Alderman Pawar’s, 773-549-4555

Thirdly, the 47th Ward Council met recently to discuss the aldermanic menu and fixes that are going to happen this year based on the neighborhood audits…please click here to view the presentation.

In short, using constituent feedback from 2012, City 311 Data, 80 block audits from neighborhood groups and over 1500 votes from 47th Ward residents, Ald. Pawar has decided on how to spend our $1.32 million in menu funds for the coming year. The presentation details the process and which projects have been selected. With over $8 million dollars of work identified on the preliminary list, we were not able to complete each project. Projects not completed this year will be kept to be put on next year’s list.

In our neighborhood, the 4500 N. alley between Hermitage and Paulina and the 4600 N. alley between Paulina and Ashland have been slated for resurfacing. The alley apron (the space where the alley connects with the road) at 4559 N. Hermitage and 1616 W. Wilson will also be addressed. On Ashland at Sunnyside there will be lines painted in the crosswalk to make drivers more aware of the pedestrian traffic. Also, the 4600 N. block of Ravenswood will have 50 new parking spots where the CTA bus turnaround was located.

If you want to see more done in our neighborhood, I can’t stress to you enough how important the block audits are to make your opinion heard. Also, they look at the 311 reports, so if you see something don’t hesitate to let them know as well.

An exciting thing that is coming to our neighborhood is the bike share program that is launching in Chicago this summer. There will be 4000 bikes at 200 solar powered stations around the city of which there will be about 22 stations in the 47th ward especially at El stops. Please click here to learn more.

The Alderman was very disappointed to be unable to save the #145 Clarendon/Wilson bus and the #11 Lincoln Bus. He is however very excited about the Bus Rapid Transit that will be going in along 16 miles of Ashland from 95th Street up to Irving Park. The Ashland bus is the busiest in the city. Construction will not go beyond Irving Park because there was an ordinance passed in the 1920s that restricted heavy construction and vehicles over 5 tons north of Irving Park along Ashland because of the soil and the age of the buildings. To learn more about the planning, please click here.

Lastly, it’s time to get a new city sticker…click here to learn how to get one before July 15th…The Ward office is holding it’s sale on Saturday, June 15th at Sulzer Library.

I hope everyone has a wonderful end of school year and an exciting start to summer!



Aldermanic Menu…Vote on What Gets Fixed!

From Tuesday, March 5th until Tuesday, March 19th, the 47th Ward office will have an online survey open where all 47th Ward Residents can vote on which aldermanic menu projects they would like to see completed.  You may vote for as many or as few projects as you would like.  The tallies from this vote will help the office determine which projects to include in this year’s menu submission.  Voters will need to enter their name and address along with either an email or phone number.  Anyone who doesn’t have access to a computer can call the 47th Ward Office or come in and they will provide you with a paper copy. 

To cast your vote online please click here.

Now, there are a few caveats.  First, we only have $1.3 million dollars to spend.  The entire preliminary list as it stands now would cost around $4 million to complete.   It is also likely that this list will grow in the next week.  Second, we haven’t received final info on the menu program for this year.  It is not clear which items will be available so some of this is subject to change.  Third, a project getting, let’s say, 10,000 votes would not ensure its inclusion – rather it will be another data point for us to consider as we cull this list down to the projects for 2013 using block audits, 311 and other data from the city.

Please let Jim Poole,, know if you have any questions or encounter any issues.  Another Ward Council Meeting in early April to discuss the final menu for 2013 with everyone.

Ravenswood School Presentation Plus Mariano’s Update and Ravenswood Gear

Thanks for making the neighborhood look so amazing this Halloween! What fun!

We had a wonderful neighborhood meeting last week. Thank you to Wendy Vasquez of the Friends of Ravenswood School and the Principal Heather Connolly for spending their evening with us to share all the wonderful things going on at the school. Click here for their presentation: 121029 east ravenswood meeting.

And getting Ravenswood gear has never been easier! Support the school and show your neighborhood pride. Click here to learn how.

Also, Mariano’s is in it’s final phase of voting in the City Council. The zoning piece for Mariano’s and the Residential development passed City Council on 10/31.  We still have the TIF piece of legislation which we are expecting to pass council on the 15th.  Right now the developers are aiming, assuming legislative timing works out, to start at the end of this month, but it could be early December.  They are aiming to open the store in Fall 2013.
And lastly, the block audits are back! Last time, our neighborhood almost delivered the most block audits returned. This time, let’s be first!  They’ve made it easier this year! You can fill it out online by clicking here for the audit. Or if you’d like to a paper copy, you can download one by clicking here: Block-Audit-form-2012-2013
Happy Election Day!


Upcoming Neighborhood Meeting

Please join us Monday! We are very excited to host the Principal and Friends of Ravenswood School. In addition, we will be learning how to buy Ravenswood Gear to support our neighborhood school!

We’ll also be talking about what happens during Halloween in our neighborhood with safety tips to keep in mind and an update on Aldermanic menu projects that effect our area. More information about the meeting is below.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!


Changes to bus #145/48…we need your help!

I recently contacted the Alderman’s office regarding the pending changes to the critical bus line that services so many of us, below was the response. Please contact the CTA to let them know you don’t want this service to discontinue. I am optimistic that the more voices they hear, the more chance we have to save it. Thanks so much!

“Alderman Pawar is extremely disappointed with the CTA’s decision on this. We believe that this cut is going to severely impact many residents and businesses in our ward who depend on routes slated to be cut like the #11 Lincoln and #145 Wilson express buses. We fought very hard to express this to CTA President Claypool and the board. The Alderman had been on the phone with the board members before the vote stressing the impact of these cuts and despite our efforts, wrote formal letters, and gave testimony alongside the thousands of residents who responded to this, the CTA board approved their plan for efficiency, disregarding the impacts to the community.

We will continue to appeal to the CTA that these cuts will be detrimental to many residents of the community and should be reconsidered.

You and your neighbors should continue to let the CTA know how these cuts affect you, you can email You can also email President Claypool and the board through CTA Secretary Longhini at to express your concerns as well. Or call 312-681-5022. To submit a written statement other than email you can send a fax to: 312-681-5035 or mail: Gregory Longhini, Office of the Secretary, CTA Headquarters, 567 W. Lake Street, Chicago, IL 60661.

We will include any updates to the situation in our weekly newsletter. If you do not receive this, please subscribe on our website”

Notes from Neighborhood meeting with Alderman Pawar

East Ravenswood Neighbors, Ward 47, Area 5, September 10, 2012 Minutes.

What a wonderful meeting! Thanks so much for those who attended. We had a great turnout. Thanks also to Alderman Pawar for joining us to explain many of the concerns our neighbors raised in the past few months.

After introductions, I talked about the other Councils that the Alderman is forming like the Senior Council, Green Council, and Quality of Life Council. If you are interested in joining these or others councils to advise the Alderman, please contact Dara in the Ward office. She can be reached at

I also mentioned the Block Buddies. These are people who would like to gather phone numbers of people with disabilities, seniors, or others with special needs to disseminate information or check in if there is an emergency like a power outage, snow storm for snow removal, or high heat index. If you are interested in learning more on how to help your neighbors, please let me know.

Alderman Pawar spoke about many items that affect our neighborhood:

1. Crime and Safety: We live in one of the safest Wards in the city. If anything, the crime challenges are property damage, robberies, graffiti, etc—not many violent crimes. The grafitti removal has changed to a grid system so it doesn’t get taken care of all the time, but it does get removed more efficiently. If there is hate speech or gang tags near a school or church, that will be taken care of immediately. Neighbors can report any graffiti to 311.

2. Lycee Francais: They’ve begun asbestos removal from the hospital and the demolition will continue slowly. The entire building will come down in the next 90 to 120 days. By spring it will be a fenced-in gravel lot. The school is set to open in 2015.

3. Mariano’s/Ravenswood Station: The development is set to go through City Council in October. Once approved, they will have a year turnaround to get the grocery store in place. There will also be an LA Fitness or Bally’s on the property. The Metra station itself is a $215 million project funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. The new station will include a covered waiting area and probably a concession stand. Construction will continue for a lengthy period. For updates on the Metra construcion  please, visit the Ward website here.

4. Lawrence Avenue Streetscape: The stretch of Lawrence between Clark and Western has been a dead zone for businesses and retail for years. Cars speed through and people have been injured. To slow traffic, they are going to widen the sidewalks and decrease the number of lanes to two with a shared middle turn lane. They are also going to add 250 trees and pave with permeable pavers to increase pedestrian traffic, which will increase economic development to the area. They are striving to make it more like Clark St. in Andersonville. Changes will happen during the next 3-5 years. To learn more about this project, please click here.

5. Parking Permits: Because there are only 80-90 parking spots per block, there will never be enough parking spaces in the neighborhood. If you feel there is a large impact to parking on your block and want to add permits, you can to petition your block. At least 65% of neighbors need to sign on. You can find instructions and petitions on the Ward website here.

We also had a Q&A with the Alderman.

Question (from neighbor): What about the 50-90% increase in property tax that is being discussed downstate?

Answer (from Pawar): If it happens, it is a tax that will be applied only to the city portion of the tax, so only about one-quarter of your bill would be affected. This increase is being discussed as a solution to the unfunded pension liabilities statewide. The pension system needs to be rethought with a solution that makes sense–not one based on an 8% annual return in the stock market where pensions are invested. City officials thought that it would be okay, because of the predicted revenue from the Olympics, but that didn’t happen so now government workers have invested their income in pensions that may not play out.

Q: East/West across Lawrence, how will the streetscape make it easier?

A: The speed limit is only 20 mph and people speed. There are bottlenecks at both Clark and Western, so it will spread those out. There will be a bike infrastructure added, including a new bike rental at Ravenswood Station. Also, bus rapid transit will increase in the next 5-7 [years/months?]. This is all an effort for people to use cars less when travelling within the city, which will decrease congestion and increase quality of life.

Q: What about changes to the bus routes? Is the 145/148 really being rerouted?

A: I don’t agree with the changes. I am trying very hard not to eliminate the Lincoln #11. It mostly affects people with disabilities, fixed income, seniors, and students. CTA is trying to eliminate duplicative service to save money. They are voting this Wednesday. You can voice your concerns here:    Or by going to the Board Meeting here:

Q: Can the new grid system (which is wonderful) be more predictable with the recycling bins? Maybe we can go to a 1st and 3rd week? Also where do we recycle our electronics if the one place in the ward has closed?

A: Great suggestion. We’ll look into that. The one issue is that if someone doesn’t show up to work, it kind of throws the whole schedule off. But it’s a new system and we’re working out the kinks, so thanks for your suggestion. Too much trash was dropped off at the recycling centers. There are recycling events that happen throughout neighboring wards as well as ours. We will get better at disseminating that information to you with more advanced warning, but sometimes they just spring up.

Q: What about fixing alley potholes?

A: Bill in the Ward Office has a 2012 schedule for alley repairs. Rebecca will post it on the blog soon.

Q: What about the Montrose & Hermitage lot? What’s happening?

A: It’s going to be a single-family home. The timeline is unclear.

Q: What about the lot at Wilson and Ravenswood? Eight years ago there were meetings about a 24-unit condo building going in, what is the status of that?

A: It’s still on the table and should be moving forward soon. In a future block club meeting we will bring the developer in.

Q: There seems to be a lot more flooding near street corners. Is there something we can do about it?

A: There are actually a few fixes:

  1. Don’t sweep leaves into streets, it clogs the drains. If you see leaves blocking the drain, please remove them.
  2. Don’t build building lot lines to lot line. The more green space, the more area that can absorb the increasing heavy rains.
  3. Blocks can get rain barrels. They cost about $60 and the city will reimburse people 50% of the cost. Maybe this is something that the neighborhood can do together? There is a city program that will help people install them.
  4. Rooftop or garage-top gardens add green space to absorb heavy rains.

So that’s the Q&A. If there is anything you’d like to see at future meetings or have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email:

Also, the next meeting will be at the end of October. We’re finalizing the date and will look forward to talking about Halloween safety and have a representative from the Friends of Ravenswood Elementary.

Alderman Pawar to Attend East Ravenswood Neighborhood Meeting

So we’re all set for our neighborhood meeting next week, Monday September 10th at 7pm at All Saints Church 4550 North Hermitage Avenue  Chicago, IL 60640 (enter on Wilson). The Alderman will be joining us and we don’t have much time with him so we are going to have him speak to the many questions that continue to arise in our neighborhood. The agenda is below and will be provided at the meeting. If you have any areas you’d like the Alderman to address please don’t hesitate to let me know. Thanks so much! I’ll look forward to seeing you next week.