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Around Rogers Park: Onward Opens in Hampton Inn on Sheridan Road

 

Onward restaurant is now open on the ground floor of the Hampton Inn at 6580 North Sheridan Road. The restaurant is the latest entry on the rather short list of “fine dining” establishments in Rogers Park. Time will tell if it is more successful that other restaurants that aspired to bring fine dining to the neighborhood, but mostly failed in that effort.

Still, there is reason to believe Onward will be different. First of all, it is in one of the best locations in the neighborhood, just a block north of the Loyola Red Line Station, and nestled inside the successful Hampton Inn across the street from the Loyola University Campus. In fact, it is Loyola that owns and leases the retail space on the ground floor level of the hotel, and was part of the development team that got the property built in the first place.

In addition to the excellent location and Loyola affiliation, Onward benefits from a deep-pocketed investor (Michael Olszewski) whose previous experience includes Grace, the now-close, two-star Michelin restaurant in Chicago’s West Loop. Mr. Olszewski has tapped into the deep restaurant talent that has turned Chicago into a foodie paradise. He seems to have struck just the right balance between elegant dining and laid-back Rogers Park style. People that have been to the restaurant so far rave about it, and there is no question it fills a niche that no other restaurant north of Devon (and south of Evanston) fills. This is yet another feather in the cap of the Sheridan retail corridor between Devon and Pratt. Onward seems likely to become a Rogers Park favorite for both special occasions and just a fun night out on the town.

 

Around Rogers Park: Breaking News – New Microbrewery on Howard Being Considered

 

Howard Theater building

 

A new microbrewery is being proposed for 1617 W. Howard Street in the Howard Theater building owned by RPBG Director Jay Johnson. The brewery would be known as the Howard Street Brewing Company and would require a special use permit and a tavern license to operate.

The owner of the proposed brewery, Ryan “Chuck” Patella, has an established relationship with The Factory Theater which is currently located adjacent to the proposed brewery location. Mr. Patella believes a new brewery would be a complementary and synergistic use in a building that is emerging as the focal point of the Howard Street commercial district. Sol Café is located on the other side of the brewery space, and already serves as a gathering point for neighborhood locals in the Howard Street vicinity.

Although approval of the new brewery is not guaranteed, there is little doubt that this business would increase the appeal of Howard Street and bring more traffic and commerce to the area. If approved, Howard Street would take another significant step forward in reestablishing itself as a major entertainment district for the Rogers Park community. RPBG strongly supports the approval of the microbrewery on Howard and congratulates Director Jay Johnson for his tireless efforts to revitalize Howard Street and make his property a focal point for this commercial activity.

 

Around Rogers Park: Nick Kosiak’s State Farm Agency Building Destroyed by Fire

 

Saturday morning’s fire on the 7000 block of N. Clark
photo from Alderman Moore’s website

In the early morning hours of December 22, just a few days before the Christmas holiday, a fire broke out in the 7000 block of North Clark Street, destroying several businesses, including the State Farm Office at 7051 that housed RPBG Member Nick Kosiak’s insurance agency. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the incident. Shortly after the fire, Nick was upbeat in spite of the devastation caused by the fire. Nick was confident that he would be back on his feet in the near future.

Well, it looks like that confidence was well founded. In a recent email update, Nick reports that he has secured a new lease for a permanent office location on Greenleaf, just around the corner from his previous location. If all goes as planned, Nick should be in his new office with full operational capabilities by February 4, a remarkable recovery from the unanticipated and unwanted events of late December.

If you haven’t seen Nick at recent RPBG meetings, you will understand why he has had other things on his mind. But Nick reports that he renewed his membership and expects to be at future meetings. We congratulate Nick on his quick recovery from a difficult situation, and wish him well as he gets back on his feet. We feel safe in our assumption that he was properly insured!

 

Around Rogers Park: CPS Schools in Rogers Park Continue to Improve

 

According to the 49th Ward Email of October 29, the most recent ratings for CPS schools in Rogers Park show continued improvement. CPS uses a rating system from 3 (lowest) to 1+ (highest), with intermediate scores of 2, 2+ and 1. The eight public schools in Rogers Park were all rated in the top three grades in 2018. Highest ratings were given to the Chicago Math and Science Academy and to New Field, both rated 1+. Three schools received a rating of 1: Acero / De La Cruz, Jordan and Kilmer. And three schools were rated a 2+: Field, Gale Academy and Sullivan High School.

As recently as one year ago (2017), three of the eight schools were rated a 2, the second lowest score on the five-point scale. Clearly, education is improving in Rogers Park, a good omen for the entire neighborhood.

RPBG is proud of the contribution we have made to the local public schools and is committed to continuing this effort for at least the next several years. RPBG has had an affiliation with Sullivan High School throughout the decade, and has expanded that relationship to other public schools in recent years. We applaud the progress these schools have made, and recognize the hard work and commitment of the teachers and staff that have made this happen. This is unquestionably a good-news story and an encouraging sign for the future of the neighborhood.

 

REMAIN CALM!

Doug Imber



I’m reminded lately of the final scene in Animal House after the Deltas caused a riot and Kevin Bacon’s character keeps feebly shouting “Remain Calm!!… All is Well!!” Then he’s flattened by a stampede of parade goers.

 

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RPBG Charitable Giving – 2018

 

March 2018: RPBG Vice President Sarah Lisy Presents CMSA Staff with $1000 check for student Chrome Books

Once again in 2018, RPBG provided generous support to the Rogers Park community through a series of charitable donations. The organization directly contributed $7,300 to a variety of charitable causes and non-profit groups around the neighborhood. Members and Directors contributed thousands more out of their own pockets.

 

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Rent Control – It’s Not Just Happening in Chicago

Photo credit realtor.com

We’ve been hearing a lot about rent control in Chicago lately – so much so, in fact, that you might think that this is a purely local issue.

But you would be wrong. Like a lot of movements with local impact, the roots go much deeper. Rent control has emerged as an important policy goal of the progressive movement, a movement that has been energized by the unanticipated election of Donald Trump in 2016 and rapid increases in rents from coast to coast since the end of the last recession.

 

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The Immigration Debate Rages On

 

Among Chicago’s thriving refugee populations are the Rohingya. Many acclimate to US culture through soccer

Last year, the Rogers Park Builder ran a series of three articles about immigration, refugee resettlement and Rogers Park. Rogers Park is a community of immigrants. Although this is generally true of the entire country, it is especially true of Rogers Park. Unlike much of the rest of the country, many of the immigrants and refugees living in Rogers Park are recent arrivals, not the descendants of long-ago ancestors who came through Ellis Island.

 

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Ups and Downs - Fall 2018



We live in turbulent times. It seems as if everyone is angry all the time and, increasingly, willing to act on their anger. This was on full display the last week of October when a political zealot and all-around loser living out of a van in South Florida tried to send pipe bombs to prominent Democrats, and then even more so when another, even bigger loser walked into a Synagogue in Pittsburgh and opened fire. The eleven dead were among a congregation of innocent people peacefully gathered in the presumed safety of their place of worship. This was just the latest of a never-ending string of shootings with semi-automatic weapons that have become as American as apple pie.

 

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As I See It: Recognizing Rogers Park’s Strong Community Partner


 

In the early 1980s, while a Senior at the University of Rochester, I received shocking news. The City of Rochester announced plans to install parking meters along the stretch of Wilson Boulevard aligning the campus, the preferred area where students owning cars could park.

Determined to take action, I assumed a new role – that of ‘student activist,’ and I brought my case to the Rochester City Council, ultimately prevailing.

 

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Around Rogers Park: Alderman Considers Redevelopment Plans for the Lerner Site on Howard Street

 

Former Lerner Site on Howard Street (Source: DNAInfo.com click on the image above)

 

Three Corners Development in currently in discussions with Alderman Joe Moore about a proposed, new construction apartment property at the long-vacant Lerner Site at Howard Street and Ashland Avenue. The City took control of the property in 2011 and has been trying to come up with a viable redevelopment plan since that time. The Three Corners proposal is still in its conceptual phase, and much remains to be done before this plan can become reality. Current plans call for the creation of a 240-unit apartment property in which 20% of the units will be affordable, whether through reduced rents or some other form of rental assistance.

 

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