Thursday, August 28, 2014

So what's going on over there in Ward 17???

Ward 17 Chicago
In an article from the Sun-Times where we learned that a member of the Daley family - Patrick Daley Thompson - is interested in running for Alderman of the 11th ward, I also learned that a nearby Alderman is unsure if she will run for re-election. That came up because in order for Mr. Thompson to run for Alderman that means incumbent Ald. Ed Balcer has to retire himself and he now had to answer - as he does in this article - whether or not the Daley family simply pushed him out.

Now in relation to this, we learned that Ald. Balcer wasn't the only one who's expected to retire and therefore not run for re-election next year. And then at the end of the article I discover that Ald. Latasha Thomas of the 17th Ward is unsure what her future plans will be.

Since she discussed this with the Sun-Times, I decided to find that article and it was earlier this month that she discussed her plans. A former aide plans to run for Alderman of the 17th and the man who challenged her in 2011 and forced a run-off back then seems to be in full campaign mode. As a matter of fact you may find him in the FB group Chicago's Chatham Connection.

In that article she denies that the decision by Father Michael Pfleger to endorse her former aide factored in whether or not she wants to run again.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

WBEZ: Why does South Shore still not have a grocery store?
71st & Jeffrey by Eric Allix Rogers/flickr
[AUDIO] While it seems Mariano's is interested in moving to South Shore in the near future, we still have a storefront that one housed a major grocery store that remains vacant. Mariano's snatched many former Dominick's locations throughout the Chicago area so far seems unwilling to snatch up the former Dominick's space at 71st & Jeffrey.

WBEZ presents this write-up and the audio which is embedded below

Here's an excerpt of the write-up
South Shore organizers are taking steps to make sure that happens. They’ve hosted several community meetings, circulated a survey and met with city officials. In some ways their fight for a grocery store is part of a larger struggle playing out across the city. The intersection of race and retail often leaves African-American consumers short on access to goods and services. Even basic ones like where to shop for dinner.

This is especially true on the South Side where many neighborhoods, regardless of income, are food deserts. Juxtapose this with some areas on the North Side awash in grocery stores. Recently, residents of Wicker Park rejected a new Trader Joe’s due to traffic concerns.

Over the past decade, more grocery stores have opened in Chicago overall. But many on the South and West Sides feel left out when their only nearby food options are discount chains.

“On the South Side of Chicago in general, we experience retail redlining. There’s a certain kind of marketing. When we talk about institutional racism, it’s the dismissal of communities that have income and that expendable income,” [South Shore resident Anton Seals] said.

South Shore is a dense, truly mixed-income neighborhood. Mansions and multi-unit apartment complexes share alleys. The community has a median income of $28,000 but there are thousands of households earning more than $75,000.
Mari Gallagher is a researcher and expert on food access issues and said South Shore has really been a misunderstood market for a long time.

“There’s a lot of buying power in South Shore. And I know from the research and I know anecdotally people who live in South Shore who go all the way down to Roosevelt Road or Hyde Park to do their shopping. There’s a lot of leakage, money leaving these neighborhoods,” Gallagher said.

She said black Chicago has long struggled to nab quality retail. Billions of dollars leave the community each year and are spent in other neighborhoods.

“And it’s not necessarily because they can’t support it as a consumer base and certainly people do eat as part of the human condition,” Gallagher said.

Target Market News is a consumer research group that tracks black spending and found that black households traditionally outspend whites and Latinos on fruits and vegetables and items that have to be cooked to be eaten. In the Chicago area they spend approximately $240 million on fresh produce annually.

“So why do certain neighborhoods have quality grocery stores and other neighborhoods have none or just very very few, perhaps one?” Gallagher said, adding that changes in the grocery industry perpetuate this gap.
Lots of questions but so far no solid answers. All we know about Mariano's is that their CEO Bob Mariano doesn't like the 71st & Jeffrey location. And perhaps there are some issues with the owner of this property who reportedly lives in Los Angeles or with the property itself. Beyond that why is no other grocer interested in this location?

 We've had people share their thoughts on this subject I hope someone out there has something new to report or opine.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Congratulations to Jackie Robinson West: Let's Support the Other Litlle League Associations

I congratulate Jackie Robinson west Little League(JRW) on their outstanding showing at Williamsport. The young men have shown great poise, athleticism and intelligence. This LLWS has made me reminisce about my little league days, although I never played at the level these young men play, it was always fun and I cherish the memories and some little leaguers grow up and become media personalities such as Matt McGill. I always remember JRW always being a class act league and the highlight of my final Southside Little League season was watching our allstars beating JRW in the LL qualifying round.

Southside Little League started in Chatham in the late 1950's and is one of the oldest African American Little League associations in the country. Since its inception other associations such as Roseland, Southeast and others have formed.

Unfortunately over time, the cost of playing baseball has risen(equipment, uniforms, sponsorship) and with basketball popularity, baseball became the bald head stepchild. The consequences of African Americans losing interest in baseball shows as you look at the baseball teams of HBCU's and you find very few African Americans and we do not have to go far as you look at the Chicago State baseball team.

While the associations have to work on bringing the business community back to sponsoring teams, individuals, block clubs and fraternal organizations can assist in making baseball more affordable.

Block Clubs: Collect used baseball equipment(balls,gloves, bats,shoes, etc) at your next clean and green or garage sale and donating it to local associations.

Fraternal Organizations: Have your lodge/chapter sponsor a team for your fraternal league(i.e American legion, etc)

Individuals: Consider volunteering(concessions, fundraising, etc) and if possible sponsoring a scholarship for a young person to play.

We can all promote youth baseball in our community whether we like the sport or not and we can continue to see our young people playing in the LLWS. Jackie Robinson West Little League #Southsidelittleleaguechicago

The "non-Magnificent Mile"

[VIDEO] Close to three years, YoChicago shared this video by Partee Wesley doing a drive along south Michigan Avenue - this thoroughfare he refers to as the "great Michigan" or the "non-Magnificient Mile" - between 120th and 110th Streets in the Roseland area.

In spite of this bleakness, Partee's comments makes this video hilarious. We see vacant lots and abandoned buildings along this street and with a detour along Edbrooke near 110th St. And he makes reference to why the 2016 Summer Olympics didn't come to town. At that point the memory of that disappointment was still quite fresh!

Now, I post this video in relation to the 2015 election. It's easy for me to compare Roseland to Englewood. Both communities after significant "white flight" had experienced some declines over the years. The difference however is that Englewood's business district was largely decimated thanks to urban renewal efforts in the past, but the Roseland business district is still in tact but certainly could use a greater investment.

It seems the main development has occurred east in the Pullman neighborhood in recent years with House of Hope and the Pullman Park shopping center that contains Walmart, Ross, and a Planet Fitness. Earlier this summer there was a groundbreaking for the new Pullman Athletic Center. Also a Method Products factory is being built behind the shopping center

This part of the city is another area in need of investment.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Congrats to Jackie Robinson West #JRW

I want to offer a belated congratulations to the Morgan Park based Jackie Robinson West Little League team. They made it all the way to the Little League World Series and unfortunately lost to a team from South Korea on Sunday for the Little League baseball world title.

Unfortunately I never had the chance to truly watch them play but it's great to know this group of young men have already tasted success in their young sports careers. Here's hoping they will continue to have success not only on the baseball diamond but also in their lives away from sports.

Every young man or woman either playing youth sports or even playing in high school, college or professional can always have the ability to become a champion if they work extremely hard. That also goes for life whether in school or in a career as well.

What does it mean to invest in a neighborhood?

Recently JP Paulus posted to our FB page an article about a group in Bucktown who purchased a building that contained a recently closed bar. They wanted to turn this place into a "community amenity". JP posed this question: "Could we do that with some of our fading businesses?"

Recently I ran into this post at EveryBlock, this was posted over two years ago and RAGE made a call about asking for investors for Englewood. Now a new question: What does it mean to invest in a community?

Does this involve purchasing real estate with a strong purpose? Does it involve building upon the real estate? Does it involve opening a business that not only provides jobs, but also tax revenue to the community at large? Does it also involve providing necessary services and amenities for the community?

Upon seeing that EveryBlock post I had this idea of doing a post and starting it off this way. This blog initially started in 2007 mainly to talk about the communities of the 6th Ward, especially Chatham. Chatham is a neighborhood known for having a strong population of Black middle-class people.

In recent years, Chatham has experienced issues it's safe to say the neighbors there have rarely seen. Now it's still rare yet with issues of crime & violence but those issues are there and probably more often that not even if it's still miniscule. Also it's still a community where you can tell people take care of their property.

Regardless, Chatham is still a great place to live but just like Englewood it needs investors of its own. I want to point out this earlier article from Red Eye where Ald. Sawyer's chief of staff Brian Sleet was quoted: "The neighborhood needs a facelift because it looks the way it did in the 1950s, but the vibrant storefronts are now gone, Sleet said."

Now we have a new question. What does it take to attract investors to Chatham? I would like to think in the long run where Chatham goes hopefully so will the surrounding neighborhoods.

ALSO, I posted about this DNA Info article from out of Humboldt Park on the north side. This is one answer to investing in a neighborhood. It was my hope that this would spark some ideas.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New 9th Ward Candidate for Alderman

The field for Alderman of the 9th ward continues to grow. We received an announcement today from Agin Muhammed. Here is a flyer

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Public Meeting on Pullman as Chicago's 1st National Park

Location: 11057 South Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, IL 60628, USA
The information below was sent to those signed up to Alderman Anthony Beale's e-mail list. This event will take place tomorrow night:
  • Public Meeting for 1st Chicago's National Park
    DATE: Thursday, August 21, 2014
    TIME: 6:30 pm
    LOCATION: Pullman Factory Complex
    11057 S. Cottage Grove
    Chicago, Illinois
The flyer for this event is below.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Irony on 79th

This photo shows the irony of the original sign, as a new business takes over.

First we see "promises fulfilled" which belonged to SCCS  (South Central Community Services). They ran a great after school program in that spot. The facility included a smart board among other amenities. The children also came out to Ruggles playground many afternoons. Their presence helped keep the park safe while they were there.

But unfortunately, this was a state run program, so when state funding ran out, the facility was closed.

SCCS actually had two buildings, which were interconnected.

The west building has become a training facility for Jackson Hewitt, but not widely advertised as such. In fact, the "private" sign from the Howling Moon "social club" (a previous "business" that seemed to be an underground bar) is still on the door.

Then we have the sign for the Dollhouse Boutique, which is advertising intimate wear, and the photos suggest an objectification of women. Definitely not the kind of business that will get a lot of community support, and certainly not impact Ruggles playground anymore.

This is sad, and just makes the SCCS sign seems ironic.

Sun-Times: Hairston, Mariano's CEO tour ward for grocery store sites

So Mariano's CEO Bob Mariano gets his tour of South Shore checking out sites for a potential future store in the community. One day we won't have that far to go for a Mariano's:
Hairston took Roundy's CEO Bob Mariano on a two-hour tour of seven prospective construction sites in her ward, and Mariano promised to get back to the city’s Department of Planning and Development with a decision in a few days.

The shuttered and still vacant Dominick’s store at 71st Street and Jeffrey Boulevard remains Chicago’s only shuttered Dominick’s that has yet to find a replacement grocer.

It still hasn't. Mariano and Hairston toured that shuttered store on Monday, along with Planning and Development Commissioner Andy Mooney and a real estate consultant hired by the city. But Mariano, who once worked there, rejected it.

Other sites, however, have not been ruled out. In a press release issued after the tour, Hairston noted that she initially had four sites in mind, but expanded the list to seven to “increase the odds” of enticing Mariano. The most attractive sites are located on Stony Island Avenue.

“We looked at property that is owned by the city and privately owned. What was interesting is to find out that Mariano wants 60,000 square feet for his stores. We also talked about the importance of egress and ingress to site locations,” Hairston was quoted as saying.

“If he decides on a site that is owned by the city, the project could move faster than one that is privately owned. Sears owns the site from 77th to 79th and Stony Island. The city owns both the 6800 and 6900 blocks.”

The 5th Ward tour also included a site at 60th and Stony Island.
So am I reading this right, she wants Mariano's to look at the old Sears store site near 79th & Stony Island?

Either way this is another entry in the story where the Dominick's store at 71st St. & Jeffrey Blvd. still hasn't found another grocer to set up shop. Earlier Bob Mariano's noted he didn't think this site can fit his standards and even cited the Metra Electic tracks that run on 71st Street.

Monday, August 18, 2014

9th ward candidates town hall Saturday August 23, 2014

Location: 11901 South Loomis Street, Chicago, IL 60643, USA
Ward 9
You know I think it's time to publish the 2015 Elections page. Until the conclusion of municipal elections which could either be in February or April - if there are run-offs - we provide coverage for both ward 6 & 9. We already have a ready list of candidates for both wards and later this month petitions will begin circulation for candidates in the municipal elections next year.

Another reason we're going to publish our 2015 page is because this coming Saturday, August 23, 2014 there will be a town hall featuring candidates for the 9th Ward. This event to be moderated by Rhymefest who ran for Alderman of the 20th Ward in 2011 will be held in the Crystal Room at the Legacy Chicago located at 11901 S. Loomis and the town hall doors would open at 9:30 and will be held from 10 AM to 12:30 PM.

The flyer below you may have seen posted on our FB page and our Instagram account. Here's hoping you attend and let us know if this event would sway your vote in the elections next February.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DNA Info: Movie Theater Will Give Away Free Tickets For Donated School Supplies
Photo via UTD Discount Activities
And again sorry for the short notice on this, but if you're going to the Studio Movie Grill theater in Chatham @210 W. 87th St. perhaps you can bring some school supplies as well:
An annual event at Studio Movie Grill-Chatham will give away movie tickets for a donated school supply worth $5 or more.

Tickets can be used to see any movie but must be used the same day, said Lynne McQuaker, a spokeswoman for Studio Movie Grill. High school and college students must show a valid ID to receive their student tickets and no adult tickets will be distributed.

The third annual Back-To-School Supply Drive runs from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday at the South Side theater, 210 W. 87th St.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Greater Institutional Block Party on Saturday, August 16

Sorry for the late notice...but tomorrow (as of this posting), Greater Institutional AME Church is hosting a free block party, from 10am - 4pm.

9th Ward Back to School parade, picnic, & health fair

I apologize for this short notice. This event is expected to occur tomorrow afternoon and is worth noting here.

Further information is below:
  • Alderman Anthony A. Beale's 15th Annual Back-to-School Parade, Picnic and Health Fair
    Join Alderman Anthony Beale for his 15th Annual Back-to-School Event
    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Parade Kick-off: 11:00 a.m.
    Roseland Little League
    12483 South Michigan Ave.
    Picnic Immediately Following in Palmer Park
    201 E. 111th Street

    Alderman/Committeeman Anthony A. Beale
    34 East 112th Place
    Chicago, Illinois 60628
Flyer is below

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Changes are coming soon to the Chatham 14

Concept of the new SMG Chatham theater

Since the spring of this year I sat on this post regarding Studio Movie Grill Chatham and now it's time to share this today because of a recent DNA Info article about the expected renovations to the former ICE Theaters Chatham 14 are behind schedule.

I had been up there to watch a movie back in May and see the complex has largely been emptied especially of it's game room but not sign that any work has commenced. And so far nothing new had been put onto the building. So what's going on?
The owner of the former Chatham 14 Theaters, 210 W. 87th St., said it is waiting for city approvals before beginning renovations, which were expected to begin in February and end by June.

"We got pushed back a bit trying to get licenses and approvals from the city," said Lynne McQuaker, a spokeswoman for Studio Movie Grill in Plano, Texas.

But according to data from the city's Buildings Department, the theater received a permit on April 21 and as of Tuesday no other permits had been issued.
So what's the hold-up? Some customers have their opinions:
"I have been coming here since it opened in 1997 when it was called ICE Chatham 14, then Chatham 14 Theaters last year and now Studio Movie Grill," said Walter Childs, a 67-year-old Grand Crossing resident. "My wife and I come to Chatham to see a movie every weekend and we're looking forward to coming more often once alcohol is available."

Rosemary Burns, 75, said she goes to the theater three times a week with other seniors from her West Chatham neighborhood.

"The community room is what I was looking forward to the most. There's not a lot of places in Chatham that provide meeting rooms for seniors," Burns said.
Here's hopeing these new exciting changes will commence soon.

Now here's the information I sat on from this past spring. So time to dust this post off for more information. To start, a press release from SMG. Also another DNA Info article about the name change as the Chatham Theater went from ICE Theaters to Chatham 14 Theaters and now SMG Chatham.

Feel free to let us know what you think of these changes and whether or not you'd support the theater with its coming changes.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

CTA Provides Update on Proposed Red Line Extension from 95th to 130th Street

Future Red Line extension
Nothing new was reported in this recent press release by the CTA regarding the Red Line extension to 130th Street. CTA is further narrowing down its options as far as the extension from from 95th into the Roseland community and Altgeld Gardens where the extension would ultimately terminate. Now it's where along the Union Pacific tracks would trains be routed.

I got wind of this via CTA Tattler which shared an article from the Tribune which illustrated how much of the city - eh strike that the Chicago area in general - is a transit desert. That is depending on where you live if you don't own a car it's difficult to get around the area on public transit. The scheduling may be inconvenient or the services aren't always fast and efficient.

I had seen that article and thought exactly about the communities on the far south side. The people of Roseland and Altgeld Gardens should be able to get to opportunities outside of their neighborhoods if that's where they are. And yes I'm referring to jobs and education.

Another piece I saw recently from Chicago Magazine was the future of transit in Chicago. One of the pieces of future transit was extending the L train network around Chicago in the next few years. At that the Red Line extension was one piece of that puzzle.

Also Greg Hinz recently wrote about attempting to make big plans for transit construction. Mainly the focus is around downtown Chicago which I understand, the city should take care of downtown. At that same time here's hoping city planners are considering people in the neighborhoods outside of downtown when it comes to public transportation.