The State of the Ward // 2018

April 10, 2018

"We are well into spring and new beginnings."

Highlights of the State of the Ward delivered April 10, 2018, by Alderman Margaret Laurino.

The State of the Ward is upbeat because we are well into spring and new beginnings.   

This event was also SOLD-OUT.  Thank you, Mayor. 

And for the record, the State of the 39th Ward is – THRIVING – because of our accomplishments last year as well as what’s ahead in 2018. 

There’s honestly so much – we can’t get to it all during lunch, so let’s get to the highlights. 

Last spring, our friends at Alarmist Brewery on Peterson, opened up their tap room.  They’ve been good neighbors, hosting several fundraising events for our community. 

In the summer, we opened the North Branch Trail – Southern Extension in LaBagh Woods.  The popular, multi-use Trail now runs along the North Branch of the Chicago River from the northwest side – to the Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe. 

Also last summer, Mayor Emanuel joined us and Congressman Quigley to open the Fitzgerald Apartments in North Park Village.  They are 62 new units for low-income seniors in a state-of-the-arts building which includes a community room, fitness center and library/ computer lab. 

The Edgebrook-Sauganash Chamber of Commerce was formed in 2017 to leverage the resources and talents of two great chambers.  The results are in and it’s a big success. 

There were too many business openings last year to name them all.  But here are a few:

  • Wendy’s in Mayfair,
  • The Cabin’s Picnic Basket in Old Irving, 
  • Davita Dialysis in West Walker,
  • the Learning Experience in Sauganash, 
  • Top Driver in Edgebrook, 
  • the relocated and expanded Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club in North Park, AND
  • Pasta D'arte celebrated their 15th anniversary with an expansion in Gladstone Park 

In October, we cut the ribbon for the pedestrian pavilion at Whole Foods Market Sauganash.  The structure, which will be used for community-based activities, is in their new landscaped parking lot with triple the number of car spaces, 34 new trees as well as shrubs and flowers.     

What’s in store for 2018? 

Well, Whole Foods Market continued to be a community partner.   

They bought a traffic signal for Cicero and Glenlake at the entrance of their parking lot to ease congestion and encourage pedestrian access.  We flipped the switch to activate it in February. 

We also cut ribbons for a trio of Asian restaurants.  In February, we celebrated the grand opening of Wok N Chop in North Park.  Last month, we reopened The Elephant Thai Cuisine in Edgebrook after a long rebuild and Ruk Sushi & Thai Edgebrook, the third location for its owner. 

Next month, we hope the mayor will join us in celebrating a fully operational Albany Park Storm Water Diversion Tunnel.  The drainage tunnel will eliminate the danger of floods that have plagued our northwest side neighborhood for more than a century.  The 18-foot diameter tunnel will divert a flow of 2,300 cubic feet of water per second, bypassing Albany Park and emptying into the North Shore Channel.   

As the weather warms up, the Hollywood-North Park Community Association will again host Food Truck Fridays near NEIU.  Watch for the Perogi Rig and the Yum Dum Truck among others.  The association will also be hosting the North Park Community Market.   

You’ll want to mark your calendars for The Throwback Music Fest September 7 through 9.  This third straight year in Gladstone Park promises to be bigger and better.  Who thought you could have such a great party right on Milwaukee Avenue? 

People will be able to reach the Gladstone Park business district more easily this year when Pace breaks ground on their new Pace Pulse line for Milwaukee Avenue.  

Peoples Gas purchased the former Commerce Clearing House building in the Peterson Pulaski Industrial Corridor for their new administrative campus.  They’re currently in the planning process with the City for the 9-acre site and will break ground this year. 

This spring, they’ll also be hosting a neighborhood hiring fair. 

Across the street from the Peoples Gas facility, on the north side of Peterson, we are breaking ground this year on a new shopping center.  It will be anchored by a Dunkin' Donuts. 

Another vacant site won’t be for long.  A beautiful new shopping center to be known as the Edens Collection will be opening up along Foster between Gompers Park and Cicero. This project is also currently in review by the City and will break ground later this year. 

Finally, a pair of infrastructure projects for two of our busiest streets. 

The Department of Water Management is working on the Devon Sewer Improvement Project.  A private contractor is installing a critical sewer structure at the intersection of Spokane and Devon.  Completion is expected in June.  On Peterson, there’s repaving work from Cicero to Lincoln.  This is part of the Department of Transportation’s Arterial Street Resurfacing, North Area Project.  It will include ADA sidewalk improvements, curb and gutter removal and replacement as well as bus pad construction.  Completion is also expected in June. 

Finally, some well-earned thank yous 

Thank you to AT&T – for the generous sponsorship of this annual luncheon.   

Thank you – in alphabetical order to: 

  • The Albany Park Community Center 
  • The Edgebrook Sauganash Chamber of Commerce  The Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce 
  • The Peterson & Pulaski Business & Industrial Council
  • The Pulaski Elston Business Association
  • AND All of you for supporting business growth in our 39th Ward 

PIease give yourselves a big round of applause.  

There’s one more. 

A very big thank you to our special guest  He became a good friend of the ward when he served us in Congress.  He assisted with everything from floods to funding. 

Now, from the Fifth Floor of City Hall he continues to help the ward as well as Chicago with a wide variety of initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for all of us. 

Normally, we discuss key issues before City Council meetings.  If he has a pressing engagement, I get to pick up the gavel as President Pro Tempore and try to keep order among my colleagues.  It’s not always the easiest of tasks. 

But this afternoon, I get to ask HIM questions in a Fireside Chat Format. 

Ladies and gentlemen, our friend – Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


Photo credit credit: Brooke Collins