Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Re: Boombox Chatham

On Sunday Worlee Glover had a meeting with representatives of Boombox Chicago and shared this report over at Nextdoor.

I think I can see in addition to whatever vendors that could take up residents in the Boombox at 79th/Rhodes they could turn that lot into a plaza of sorts. Perhaps there can be events that could be serviced by food trucks during key times, especially when the weather warms up.

In Worlee's meeting we see some issues address and hopefully we'll see the results of this in the near future. Hopefully the Boombox will soon be a great spot.

Meeting With Boombox

Yesterday, I had a meeting with Boombox Chicago founder and President Katherine Darnstadt. She is also the president of Latent Design. 

 Boombox Chicago has been in existence since 2015 and has grown from one site to 6 currently and with more in the works. 

Boombox Chatham located at 521 E 79th(79th Rhodes) late 2017 as a result of the establishment of the Retail Thrive Zone program https://thrivezones.com. The site was selected because it’s in the Chatham Thrive Zone and is on a City of Chicago owned lot. Boombox Chicago has received some funding from the Retail Thrive Zone and is partnered with the Greater Chatham Initiative(GCI). 

There are questions about the location of the Boombox and it was stated that this is a result of talks with the City of Chicago. Various plans were submitted including placing in the center of the lot and multiple boxes and the City initially approved allowing the box on the eastern corner(near alley). The plan was modified and the majority of the front of the lot was allowed to be used. The box is located at the western end of the lot so other portions of the front of the lot can be used such as food trucks. Food trucks are allowed on the lot. 

Food trucks must be LICENSED and fill out an application at https://www.boomboxchicago.com/rent. Per our conversation there has been some resistance from mobile food vendors as a number are unlicensed and unwilling to get the proper licenses. The 6th Ward service office maintains a list of local instructors who offer sanitation certification courses. The ward office used to host the courses but had very low attendance. 

The issue of marketing was addressed. The GCI Harvest Fest was suppose to be the kickoff of Boombox Chatham. The marketing of the Boombox has been predicated on the budget. The Boombox started off strong but there were points whereas the space was vacant and the vendor over the crunch period of Christmas pulled out at the last minute leaving no time to find a replacement. It was stated that there are plans to add some table and chairs and additional signage to the actual Boombox. Also they stated they are looking at increase their community outreach. 

I was delighted to hear that both Greater Chatham Alliance(GCA) and Park Manor Neighbors Community Council(PMNCC) hD reached out and extended invitations for Boombox Chicago to speak at their meetings as well as be added to the information list. I was told they were provided a list of community partners but never told who. If there are local organizations that you feel need to be on the information list, please have them contact shop @ boomboxchicago.com and be added. 

I was also delighted to hear that they will work on posting to additional social media outlets such as Facebook so more people will know. They will also consider placing signage up at 79th State. This was mentioned here by JP Paulus. 79th State has a minimum of 10,000 people transferring from train to buses during rush hour and nit including the car traffic. Also the 79th bus line is in the top 5 for ridership.

One of my concerns was local mobile vendors. How can they get into the Boombox. Boombox has a license that these vendors can work under but they typically look for a 2 week commitment. It was stated they will look at options for these type of vendors. 

Lastly, the size of the lot dwarfs the Boombox and they have acknowledged this. It was stated that budget permitting they plan to have events on the lot. It was further stated that they plan to disseminate some information on how community groups can host an event on the site. 

Overall, it’s a work in progress and will need to be tweaked along the way and until a permanent business is going on that site. It will also require us to speak up and give feedback along the way. Again, if you have comments, criticism or compliments, contact shop @ boomboxchicago.com

No comments:

Post a Comment

PLEASE READ FIRST!!!! Comment Moderating and Anonymous Comment Policy

While anonymous comments are not prohibited we do encourage you to help readers identify you so that other commenters may respond to you. Either read the moderating policy for how or leave an identifier (which could be a nickname for example) at the end of the comment.

Also note that this blog is NOT associated with any public or political officials including Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer!