Archive for the ‘Ward Council’ Category

Notes from Neighborhood Meeting Monday June 4,2012

As we head into summer, East Ravenswood Neighbors met last week to discuss a some items for the season the notes are below…

1. Block Parties: An excellent way to have fun and get to know your neighbors! I passed out petitions so that neighbors could organize their block, if you’d like to do so please go to the Ward office to pick one up or contact 65% of the block needs to agree to the event because of the street closure. Once you have that then you can the Ward fill out an application for the party. They ask that you plan a month ahead of time. For more detailed information please click here.

If block parties aren’t your thing, you can organize a garage sale on your own or with some neighbors. However, a permit is also required. You can find more information and apply by clicking here or by contacting

2. Senior Council: In addition to the Ward Council, the 47th Ward is creating a Senior Council to address issues concerning the seniors in our Ward such as creating a phone tree and making the neighborhood more accessible for this growing population. Area 5 is looking for a representative. If you are interested in learning more, please contact Dara at

3. State of the Neighborhood Association: People seemed generally happy with the the blog, emails and frequency of the meetings. I will give more notice of meetings so that people can plan for it. The reason we always do Monday nights is because All Saints graciously opens their doors for us.(Thanks All Saints) If Monday night is extremely inconvenient I can find another space to mix it up. But most importantly, we need Volunteers! The number of canvassers to flier the blocks to let neighbors not on our email to come to meetings and join the email list have dwindled and less people are knowing about the blog and meetings. Please help spread the word! And if you’d like to write something for the blog about our awesome neighborhood please don’t hesitate to let me know. We have so many exciting things in our community from Lillstreet to All Saints Church (the oldest wood frame church in Chicago) to the American Indian Center, let’s celebrate it by sharing the story with everyone!

Another thing people have noticed is the rise of rats in our alleys. If you see one please contact 311 and the ward office. The more people who tell them there is a problem the more likely they are going to do something about it.

4. CAPS: Another way to get involved in the community is by going to CAPS meetings which will now be held monthly at Chase Park. Please refer to the previous blog post for the schedule and the sidebar to the right of this post to learn more about CAPS. The more people that know about what is going on with the police and crime in our neighborhood the more we can look out for one another. 

5. Mariano’s and Lawrence Avenue Streetscape: The Mariano’s developers are still waiting for the green light from the City’s building commission. The Lawrence Ave. Streetscape is slated to start this summer.

6. Lycee Francais: They are going to begin demolition of Ravenswood Hospital in July. They will be starting from the inside and working outwards. They won’t begin construction on it for awhile, but they want to free up the lot and relieve it of the vandalism and trespassing that was occurring in the space. They are hoping to open the school in the Fall of 2015.

7. Montrose Construction: Will be going on until mid July. In addition to repaving it, Metra is reinforcing the retaining wall at that intersection. There are two seasons in Chicago: Winter and Construction. I know it feels inconvenient but our neighborhood will be stronger for it:) If you have questions please contact You can also check the website to see a more up to date schedule.

8. Things to look forward to: It was suggested at the meeting to invite the Alderman to attend one of our neighborhood meetings. We’ll nail that down for our next meeting in the early Fall.

9. Have an excellent and safe summer and please spread the word of the blog and email list at the block parties!!!

Permit Parking Consolidation and Ward Council Meeting Minutes #6

It’s almost time for new city stickers and that means, Permit Parking Consolidation. When purchasing your 2012 City Vehicle Stickers from the City Clerk’s office, please be aware of the following permit parking zone consolidations in our neighborhood:
Zones 1394 and 126 are consolidating into Zone 62. Zone 62 will remain 62.
Car owners in these areas need to be sure the new zone number is printed correctly when purchasing their new city sticker.
II. Ward Council Notes
I was unable to make the 6th Ward Council meeting this Wednesday May 16th, but it was attended by Area 5 Alternative Representative, Linda Wilson. Thanks for the great notes, Linda, here they are:
A. Report from the Alderman:
1.  Infrastructure trust
This has been covered extensively in Pawar’s newsletters.
– it’s the right thing to do
– it was messaged and presented in a way that guaranteed opposition
– there are limits to what can be done with municipal bonds
– he supported the amendments and all but one of the Aldermanic changes were accepted by Emanuel
– he would have voted for the alternate proposal but it wasn’t stated in a way that was legal, so he didn’t
– as with all political decisions there were lots of aspects to consider, compromises were made.  Look at the extremes that were said about the issue and the truth is somewhere in the middle
2.  Speed cams
Alderman Pawar voted against it.
3.  Clark Park Stadium
The funding has passed and the next step is the legal documents, then the ground-breaking.  The funding is a combination of money from Cubs Charities (1M), Kerry Woods and his wife (1M), Turner construction ($750K), Park District ($500K) and TIF money (didn’t get the amount).
It’s a flagship project, first of its kind, will be completed sometime this year.  He’s worked with the Clark Park Advisory Committee on this.
B. Questions and Answers:
1. Have any other projects been described yet?  None other than the one on retrofitting public buildings.  This will be revenue neutral, reallocating monies that would have been spent on energy to the developers with the plus being jobs for tradespeople in unions, which have high unemployment rates.
2. Is the revenue used for debt service too?  Yes, that’s the cost
3. Has anyone compared the cost of this system to the cost of municipal bonds?  Not able to do so because the cost of bonds (and the cost through the trust) vary project to project.
 Final statement:  The trust is a shell with subject-matter experts.  He saw the way aldermen stood up and succeeded in changing it on the floor as a positive.  He’ll put out more information in an e-mail.
4. Was there any further information on NATO?  Check the web site for OEMC and sign up for “Notify Chicago.  Sure, there will be protests – most will be a good thing but they may be some provacateurs.  He said no big, the United nations is in New York and they handle protests daily with no issue.

C. Ward Council Discussion:

Dara took the stage and handed out pads of paper and slips with questions on it.  We broke up into small groups to answer them.  Dara and Jim collected the responses and are below.
The questions were:
What are the most useful/best elements of the Ward Council Meetings?
What are the least useful elements?
How would you like to see the Ward Council meetings develop from here?
Are there any issues that you would like to see included on the Ward Council Agenda?
What role should delegates/alternates have in the Ward Council?
Are there presentations from any organization you would like to have at the Ward Council?
How often do you think the Ward Coucil should meet – monthly, every other month, or quarterly?
The representatives enjoys the “tour of churches” throughout the ward that the Council meetings have given us and would like the local neighborhood group to “host” along with giving a short presentation about their area, schools, highlights, etc. General consensus was hearing all the inside stuff from the Alderman and the transparency of the process is the best thing, meetings can get too bogged down in reporting to us as a passive audience, lots of suggestions for different organizations (but these may be different meetings), and monthly meetings are too frequent but quarterly meeting aren’t frequent enough.  Figure every 6-8 weeks (next one will be mid-July at Addison Community Church at 2132 W. Addison, exact date TBD.
The discussion also asked about what are the two or three things the delegates to the council should accomplish, and what is the mission statement. This is independent of all the committees and working groups Dara is working to set up.
The alderman ended the meeting with saying the terms on the Zoning Advisory Committee are coming to an end (they go for one year), and anyone interested in serving on that group to contact the office.

D. Suggestions from the Small Group Discussion (emailed by Dara this week):

• More presentations/education (CPS, Police, Parks, etc.) – topics could be: how the ward and city work, how a successful Neighborhood Group is organized. Some of these could be outside of Council Meetings and be part of what the Ward Council sponsors.
• Coordination of local projects which the audits will help.
• Agenda on the website
• Create working groups; environment, recycling, safety, CPS & parks in the ward, etc.
• Role of the delegates and alternates: what is their mandate? Communicate with
neighborhood group and neighbors, be involved with committees, get to know the
other delegates.

The Council discussed their purpose and tasks. Jim spoke of supporting one another, organizing their neighborhood group and informing the alderman of what’s happening in their area.

Additional recommendations: Members would like to be informed in advance of major city ordinances which would be posted to the website and accept comments, discussion of menu expenditures.

Ward Council Members will now take this back to their respective Neighborhood Groups to discuss these issues and what they would like the Ward Council to be moving forward. So…

III. Our next neighborhood meeting:
June 4th at 7pm at All Saints Church on the corner of Hermitage and Wilson. Please come to meet your neighbors and discuss the above and other items that are of concern for our neighborhood. The agenda will be posted on the blog. I hope to see you all there!

East Ravenswood Neighbors Meeting, Tonight 2/13

Hello All,

I wanted to send out a quick reminder that Bill Higgins, the 47th Ward Transportation Specialist will be joining us for our neighborhood meeting tonight: Monday, February 13th at 7pm at All Saints Church on the corner of Wilson and Hermitage (please enter on Wilson).

He will be there to discuss residential permit parking and the petition process for changing or adding permits. We will also be discussing the Block Audit. The Alderman’s office has asked neighbors to evaluate every block in the ward to find trends and areas for improvement. In the meeting we will discuss how best to facilitate the survey. Click here to view it so you can start thinking about your answers to these questions. It will be a great tool for making our area the best in the ward.

We’ll also get an update from the latest CAPS meeting.

Looking forward to seeing you tonight!

Ravenswood Station & Nov. 21 Meeting Notes

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.

2. Agenda:

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 (

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?

c.    Rats:

i.     Rats were an issue that many recollected with no clear resolution.

d.   Tags/Graffiti

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).

e.   Crime

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.

6. Roles

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

8. Adjournment

Join us!

Hello East Ravenswood Neighbors,
Come meet your neighbors at our next Neighborhood meeting this coming Monday, November 21 at All Saints Episcopal Church 4550 North Hermitage Avenue at 7pm. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.
The most important item on the agenda is preparing for the upcoming Ward Council meeting. You can read the agenda for the upcoming Ward Council meeting by clicking here: Agenda for 2nd Ward Council Meeting. East Ravenswood’s Ward Council representative, Rebecca Zemans and alternate Linda Wilson will be on hand to brief us on the last Ward Council meeting and listen to your thoughts on a variety of issues. They will then share neighbors’ thoughts, questions, and concerns with the Alderman and the larger Ward Council the following week.
This month, the Ward Council will be particularly focused on:
  • permit parking
  • transportation
  • development
  • needs (from the Alderman’s office) for the neighborhood associations
  • senior citizens

Hello Neighbors!!!

My name is Rebecca Zemans. I’m the new Area 5 representative to Alderman Ameya Pawar’s 47th Ward Council. I created this blog so that it will be easier for everyone to find news about meetings, events and general excitement around our lovely neighborhood. In this post I’ve included my notes from the first council meeting on 10.27.11. Please read them below. I also videotaped the meeting which the ward office will be putting on their website and I will link to from our brand new blog! Another great perspective on the meeting is the Center Square Journal’s article by Mike Fourcher.

Thanks so much for the opportunity to represent our wonderful neighborhood. Because this is all very new, please email suggestions to so that we can improve and make our neighborhood the best in the ward:)

I’m looking forward to meeting and working with all of you.

All my best,


Notes from 1st Ward Council meeting:

The goal of this meeting was an orientation to the Ward Council not an opportunity to voice concerns in the ward. Alderman Pawar researched previous models, his goal was to formalize block clubs not based on precinct boundaries. Right now there are 22 block clubs. He is also going to reach out to Senior Centers and Silent Cooperative to send delegates as well.

He considered doing participatory budgeting (like Joe Moore) but he doesn’t want one area to compete with another. His vision is to have us inform him about what is going on in the ward so that we can influence his decisions as an advisory council. He wants us to look for trends so that we can solve the roots of the problem rather than the symptoms.

His goal is to have a real time conversation on the ward council, not a emotional one. He’s looking forward to working together on policy with the Ward Council but said specific things within each area are to be handled at a different time with the ward office. Anyone should feel free to voice their concerns and problems directly with the Ward office. We may dislike or like his final decisions but he wants to formalize the process of the decision making through the Ward Council.

The meetings will be about once a month. We’ll go through the agenda (which will be posted two weeks prior to the meeting) and then open up for questions. There will be a listserv of the delegates so that the conversation can continue virtually through email.

I will be creating fliers at the Ward office to notify people not on our email list of meetings we will be having and how to join it.

Aldermanic Menu

$1.3 million for infrastructure upgrades. They are not planning to repave streets, but they are set to fill potholes in alleys. Apparently there is some pothole filling machine that will come to us soon.

There are many plans in the next ten years to replace 100 year old water manes and Peoples Gas lines. He feels it is inefficient and a waste of funds to repave roads that are going to be torn up for these repairs.

The ward office has created a map of the alley resurfacing. It also showed the cost for each project. The entire alley between Ashland and Paulina will be addressed as will the alley off of Wilson between Paulina and Hermitage. I have let the office know of the other pot holes that have come to my attention.

Maps of construction and timeline of streetscape projects are published on Many are planned and others are waiting to get passed through budget but are being planned and designed.

City Budget

There will be a town hall November 2nd to discuss and voice your opinon. It will take place at McPherson Elementary: 4728 N. Wolcott 6:30-8pm.

There will be $420 million in cuts. Major changes that we’ll see will be with service time expectations. For example, 18 months to trim a tree, 76 days to replace garbage bins and 73 days to remove grafitti. He stressed to figure out where we can do things ourselves so that we can get the job done more quickly. e.g grafitti removal. Although the response to CAPS meetings in our area have been spotty, it’s still extremely helpful to be the eyes and ears of our community.  Email the ward and call 311.  Let me know if there are any trends that you are seeing…help everyone keep track of it.

Police Redistricting

71% of the budget is public safety. How resources will be allocated and beats realigned is yet to be determined. Again, he stressed the importance of using our eyes and ears.

50 years ago there were 1 million more people in the city and less police. Today we have more police per capita than most large American cities. Just because we’re cutting some of the budget on public safety doesn’t mean that other things have to get cut too. Again, there will be a harder look at larger systemic problems that have been absorbing cash flow.

311 and 911 response will be different so messaging must be clear and consistent. Merging of police facilities will close the Western and Belmont station. Our officers will be based in Tom Tunney’s ward at Addision and Halsted. This will put more officers on the street and less in the office doing administrative work. He has asked the police to help send messages to the Ward office so that they can better communicate what’s going on to us.


Someone asked about the library cuts. He said that we could find the money to fix the symptom, but there are larger structural problems at play and they need to figure it out to solve the problem and increase efficiency.


Pickup with be going to a grid system and will no longer be tied to political boundaries and wards. There will be increased efficiency all across the board. Yay!

Building Community

Among other services cut will be response time to emergencies. He plans to have Emergency Preparedness Seminars for area residents. His belief is that the most resilent neighborhoods happen when people know their neighbors. For example, if you have a generator and you know that your neighbor has refridgerated medicines, in the event of a power outage you can help that neighbor.

Block parties are another great way to get to know your neighbors. He is going to make the porcess easier by getting information to us earlier. December will have a funding opening round and there will be a quicker turnaround.

Larger Vision for the Ward

How do we maintain character of community? Density survival happens around public transit. What are the wards assesst? Where do we want to go forward? Including our green policies?


The first thing that they ask investors is to regard the character of the community through architecture and plans. There is a Zoning planning committee but wants to include the council more. This is an area that he really wants to include the council to get our imput and to maintain the integrity of the ward. Zoning decisions and discussions are made public via email. For example, the Lycee Francaise school is using part of the Ravenswood Hospital now.

There are 6 TIFs in the ward. 10% of the money will be returned to the city. We need to figure out how to use the rest of it or we will lose it…

A big development plan still in its discussion phase is the Western Ave. rapid bus service. It will cost approximately $70 million (most of the funds are from the federal government). It will be a short term pain, but wonderful to create density around public transit and efficient use of the space for that will open it up for seniors, mixed income housing which ultimately lessens the tax burden for everyone over time.


200,000 residents of the South and West side have moved out which is going to make all the wards redistrict by shifting a little bit. Ward 47 will only lose about 2000 residents and it will most likely not affect Area 5.

Grow 47

The Alderman’s initiative to enhance community through helping the high schools and other CPS. The trend is that most people leave the neighborhood when their children are in 7th grade and can’t afford private school or their child won’t test into the magnet public schools. He believes that what happened with Coonley and Bell can happen with Lake View High School and Amundsen. Building stronger schools, builds stronger communities because people want to live there.

Former comptroller Dan Hines and Paul Rosenfeld are leading this project. Exciting news about this should be coming out next week.

Non-Digital Residents

I had asked about how we can include more people who don’t use the internet so much. Ward council members can use the photocopier in the office for fliers within reason. And they will be working on ways to get information to those that don’t use the internet like dial in phone messages for updates.