45th Ward Update,

45th Ward Update,

Dear Neighbor,

With Easter this Sunday, I want to take the opportunity to wish everyone a joyous and relaxing holiday with their friends and family.

In observance of the holiday, my office will be closed Saturday, April 15. We will re-open on Monday, April 17, at 9 AM.

Vets/Disabled Housing Update

I am pleased to report that a Cook County Circuit Court Judge denied the motion for a temporary restraining order on the approval process for the proposed development at 5150. N Northwest Hwy.

The request was made by opponents to the proposed housing for veterans and people with disabilities in Jefferson Park, adjacent to the proposed storage facility. The judge noted in his ruling that the opposition had “presented no facts” to justify blocking the development.

We will continue to keep you up to date on any new developments in their lawsuit, but again–we won’t be bullied out of doing the right thing for our veterans and the disabled, and we are confident that this proposal stands on firm legal ground.

Annual Clean and Green on April 22

Join your neighbors for Chicago’s annual citywide Clean and Green Day of Service at 10 AM on Saturday, April 22. This is a great opportunity for individuals and community groups to gather and help beautify our neighborhoods.
This year we will be focusing on the three following areas:

  • CTA Jefferson Park Terminal
  • Along Avondale between Irving Park and Pulaski
  • Along Avondale near Lawrence

In addition to the supplies available at my office, the Department of Streets and Sanitation will provide rakes, brooms, shovels, and bags. Please bring your own work gloves.

To sign up, contact my office via email at ward45@cityofchicago.org or call (773)286-4545 by Tuesday, April 18.

How would you spend $1 Million to Improve Your Neighborhood?

Come to a neighborhood assembly to share your ideas and help decide how to spend YOUR tax dollars.

Every year, each alderman is allocated $1.3 million in Aldermanic Menu funds — yes, there is literally a menu to spend on infrastructure.  In most wards, this money is allocated by the alderman, with varying degrees of input from city departments, staff, and residents. The 45th Ward, however, uses a process called participatory budgeting to give power to its residents to make real decisions that affect their lives.

We are in the beginning stages of the 2018 participatory budgeting cycle and want to reach as many residents as possible to join in on the process. Beginning May 4, we will host five (5) neighborhood assemblies where we will gather infrastructure improvement ideas from stakeholders. Past ideas have included pedestrian refuge islands, the Independence Park playground, pedestrian bump-outs, and bike lanes along Milwaukee.

The neighborhood assemblies will take place on:

  • Thursday, May 4, from 6:00-7:30 PM at St. John’s Episcopal, 3857 N. Kostner;
  • Saturday, May 6, from 11:00 AM-12:30 PM at the Jefferson Park Library Branch, 5363 W. Lawrence;
  • Monday, May 8, from 6:00-7:30 PM at Hitch Elementary School, 5625 N. McVicker;
  • Tuesday, May 9, from 6:00-7:30 PM at Eden United Church of Christ, 5051 W. Gunnison; and
  • Thursday, May 11. from 6:000-7:30 PM at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee

You can find more information on participatory budgeting in the 45th Ward online. I hope you will join me in working to improve the 45th Ward!

Get Your LumberJack on at Thunderbolt Starting April 19

Pull out your best flannels for the grand opening of Thunderbolt Chicago, 4842 W. Irving Park Road.

The indoor ax-throwing business will open its doors to the Northwest Side at 5 pm on Wednesday, April 19. Pricing, hours, and online reservations are available at the Thunderbolt website.

‘What They Had’ Film Notice

What They Had Film, LLC will be filming scenes for the upcoming film “What They Had” on Tuesday, April 18, through Saturday, April 22. Please be aware of the following No Parking/Tow Zonesigns that will be posted from 1 AM on Tuesday, April 18, through 2 AM on Saturday, April 22, in order to park necessary vehicles and equipment for filming:

  • East side of Lowell from 3918 to Irving Park Road; and
  • South side of Irving Park from Kildare to Tripp

What They Had Film, LLC will work closely with the Chicago Film Office and the Chicago Police Department to ensure a safe and positive film experience.

Storage Unit Facility Zoning Meeting Scheduled for May

I am pleased to announce that Zoning Committee Chairman Daniel Solis, at my request, plans to call the 5150 N. Northwest Hwy storage proposal before the committee in early May.

While most of the robust feedback we have received–both supportive and in opposition–has to do with the housing for veterans and people with disabilities proposed for 5150 Northwest Highway, we wanted to make sure neighbors have abundant time to ask any questions and voice any concerns about the proposed adjacent storage facility before the Zoning Committee reconvenes on this topic. We are also further researching the concerns addressed in that feedback around pedestrian access and the impact on our schools, among other issues.

In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Please take this extra time to read all about the storage facility, give us a call at (773) 286-4545, email us at ward45@cityofchicago.org, or pop into ward night most Tuesdays, 5-7PM. (Please note that there is no ward night Tuesday, April 11.) My staff and I look forward to addressing any questions you may have.

Second Fly Quiet Rotation Test to Begin April 30

In collaboration with the Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA), the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC), the FAiR Coalition, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), I am pleased to announce that a second round of the Fly Quiet runway rotation program will start on April 30 and run for 12 weeks. The decision to enter a second rotation test was made based on overwhelmingly positive survey feedback and data collected during the first pilot program, which ended Dec. 25, 2016. The Fly Quiet runway rotation test was first implemented in July 2016, after receiving approval in May 2016.

Similar to last year, the plan will rotate on a weekly basis the runways used between 10 PM and 5 AM. By rotating runway usage during Fly Quiet, night time noise is shared by communities around O’Hare rather than being concentrated over our neighborhoods.
The second runway rotation test should help alleviate the amount of noise Northwest Side residents endure overnight while we await final approval from the FAA for a permanent rotation plan. A schedule of the runway rotation schedule is available online.

As a member of the ONCC and the ad-hoc Fly Quiet Committee, I am pleased with the collaborative efforts put forward by the CDA, ONCC, the FAiR Coalition, and the FAA to improve the quality of life for those living in our community. I especially want to thank the members of the Suburban O’Hare Commission who have been partners in creating this equitable noise sharing relationship. We all benefit from the economic engine that is O’Hare, and we are all working to find innovative solutions to the challenges a complex airfield imposes on the communities that surround it.

Congressional Town Hall Meeting April 17

Indivisible IL-5 (5th Congressional District of Illinois) is hosting a Congressional Town Hall Meeting on Monday, April 17, from 6:15 PM to 8:15 PM at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox.

Congressman Quigley (IL-5) and Congresswoman Schakowsky (IL-9) will address a variety of topics including how to ensure a fair and thorough investigation into ties with Russia, what comes next in the fight over health care, new threats to immigration, and will answer other questions as time permits.

The event is free to attend, though donations will be accepted to cover costs associated with the event. Doors to the event will open at 6 PM. Please arrive early, as the event will begin promptly at 6:15 PM.

To submit questions and learn more, join the Indivisible Chicago Northwest Side Facebook group.

Register Your Child for Summer Day Camp

Summer day camp season is almost here! Day camp runs June 26 through August 4, and late summer camps August 7 through August 18. Summer camp is a great way to keep your kids active, engaged, and safe throughout the summer.

Registration opens at 9 am on Monday, April 24 for parks west of California Avenue and at 9 am on Tuesday, April 25, for parks east of California Avenue. You can view camps now and start building a wish list before registration opens now at the Chicago Park District’s website.

Spring Yard Waste Collection

The Department of Streets and Sanitation is coordinating a dedicated yard waste collection team this spring to assist resident in clearing their yards, parkways, and storm drains of any debris.

The spring yard waste collection will run Monday, April 17, through Saturday, April 22. Residents may request a pick-up by calling 311, calling the ward office (773-286-4545), or byemailing my office.

Residents should bag yard waste and leave it next to their refuse and recycling carts in the alley or at the curb. A DSS truck will collect the bags based on 311 requests and take it to be composted.

As a reminder, yard waste should not be thrown into blue recycling carts as it contaminates the recycling stream.

Street Sweeping Schedule Now Available

The Department of Streets and Sanitation will begin their residential street cleaning schedule starting in April. Street cleaning runs through November.

The city hangs bright orange temporary parking restrictions the day before sweeping service is scheduled to begin. Those who fail to move their vehicle between the restricted hours, between 9 AM and 2 PM, will be eligible to receive a $60 ticket.

The street sweeping schedule is available to view online at
the Sweep Around Us website. Residents also have the option to sign up for text or email alerts to ensure they don’t inadvertently miss a street cleaning notice on their block. Instructions for how to sign up for text or email alerts is available online. Those who signed up for alerts in previous years will need to resubscribe, as alert subscriptions do not carry over into the new year.

Jumping Jack Applications Open April 19

In 2016, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) announced the Jumping Jack application is now anonline process. Applications are no longer accepted in paper form, email, or fax.

The application is accessible by smartphone, computer, or tablet, and improves the efficiency of the application process. Applicants will be able to view available dates for the jumping jack, allowing them to plan their block parties accordingly. Applicants will also receive notice within approximately 8 hours of submitting their application.

The Jumping Jack Program only operates on Saturdays and Sundays from May 27 through August 27. The application will open at 9 Am on Wednesday, April 19, online.

Chicago Policing Advisory Panel Seeking Public Input

The Chicago Police Department (CPD) and members of the Community Policing Advisory Panel (Panel) are seeking public input from Chicago residents on how to engage with our communities and share ideas on the future of CPD’s community policing efforts. The Panel will be hosting three Town Hall Meetings as well as collecting feedback via an online portal to receive direct input as the Chicago Police Department continues to renew its focus on community policing and building trust between CPD and the residents they serve.

The Panel is chaired by CPD Chief of Patrol Fred Waller and consists of national experts in the field, members of CPD Command Staff, and Chicago community leaders. This strategic planning group was appointed in the fall to provide a comprehensive and thoughtful report proposing ways CPD can engage and collaborate with communities to fight crime and restore trust by the end of the first quarter of 2017.

Comments collected through the Town Hall sessions and theonline portal will be reviewed by the Panel to inform recommendations. The Town Hall Meetings will take place at the following dates and locations:

Tuesday, April 18:   George Westinghouse College Prep
3223 W. Franklin Boulevard
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Tuesday, April 25:   Sullivan High School
6631 N. Bosworth Avenue
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Tuesday, May 2:    Corliss Early College STEM High School
821 E. 103rd Street
6:30 – 8:30 PM

Please take a moment to provide thoughtful feedback online or attend a Town Hall Meeting to help strengthen community relationships with our local police departments.

Host an On the Table Discussion

Over the past three years, tens of thousands of Chicago-area residents have come together to participate in On the Tabe, an annual forum designed to elevate civic conversation, foster new relationships, and inspire collaborative action across the region.

These conversations will continue with On the Table 2017 on Tuesday, May 16.

Friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues will take part in mealtime conversations across the Chicagoland area. The act of people coming together to discuss the issues that matter most to them has never been more important. When we come together as a community to learn from each other, we have the power to impact our neighborhoods and lives.

On The Table is inviting YOU to host a mealtime conversation with your network. You can register online at their website. While online, you can also download a host toolkit.

Previous On The Table conversations have been enlightening and thought provoking. I look forward to engaging with community members once again this year for these important discussions.

Secure Your Space for Hands To Help’s Annual Trivia Night

Hands to Help Ministries’ Trivia Night is filling up quickly! Enjoy tasty food, test your trivia knowledge, support your neighbors, and have a ton of fun.

Hands to Help is offering early bird pricing for this fun-filled evening. Purchase an individual ticket now for $45 each or a table (seats 8) for $350. Early bird pricing ends on April 1st and the event has a history of selling out, so buy your tickets now! Business sponsorship opportunities are available as well. More information and tickets can be purchased at Hands to Help Ministries’ website.

Trivia Night will be on Friday, April 28, at 7 pm at the Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee. This community event and fundraiser will continue to support services and activities that break the cycle of homelessness in our community.

Support the Homeless and Enter a Chance to Win Tickets to Pitchfork

Hands to Help Ministries is offering an exclusive raffle opportunity to win a pass to the Pitchfork Music Festival.

The winner of the raffle will receive 2 three-day VIP tickets to the Chicago concert on July 14-16 at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph.

The internationally recognized Pitchfork Music Festival offers over 40 bands highlighting the best in new and emerging music. The winner of the VIP pass — valued at $500 per pass — will receive exclusive access to the VIP-only area of the festival. The winner will also enjoy FREE BEER and watch the bands — including LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, Solange, and many others — up close!

Raffle tickets are being sold online at 1 for $10 or 3 for $20. Those interested in purchasing raffle tickets are not required to attend Hand to Help Ministries’ Trivia Night to win!

Learn more and purchase your raffle tickets online.

One Summer Chicago Applications Open Thru May 15

The City of Chicago’s One Summer program will return this summer, providing the city’s youth with over 30,000 job and internship this summer. Now through May 15, youth ages 14 to 24 can apply online.

The One Summer program connects Chicago’s youth with valuable work experience, helping them realize their full potential and work towards a brighter future.

This year’s One Summer Chicago will also link young men and women participating in Becoming a Man (BAM) and Working on Womanhood (WOW) to jobs with After School Matters, one of the city’s leading youth employers and One Summer Chicago partners. Exposure to these programs has proven to reduce involvement in crime and to increase on-time high school graduation rates by nearly 20 percent. 2,000 BAM and WOW participants will have an opportunity to build on progress made during the school year with meaningful work opportunities this summer.

A new-and-improved application process will use a tiered matching process to pair youth
applicants with jobs, apprenticeships and skill-building opportunities based on their interest area and skill-level. New opportunities in 2017 include the Youth Arts Corps, enabling youth to contribute to public art projects as part of the city’s 2017 “Year of Public Art.” Returning this year are the traditional work and apprenticeship opportunities—including urban agriculture, bike repair, outdoor forestry projects—as well as office and clerical work.

This year’s program includes a new crowd-funding component, allowing the general public to donate funds to the mission of keeping youth safe and engaged in productive experiences during the summer months public a chance to support positive summer opportunities and safer communities through the OSC program, focusing on enhancements to four distinct program areas: neighborhood beautification, college access, youth-led anti-violence initiatives and summer opportunities and supports.

Sponsorship ranges from financing work supplies and transportation for participants, to major community beautification projects, like murals and planters; donations can also support FAFSA workshops for students and families, and stipends for books for first-time college students. A top tier donation can support an entire summer job to serve an additional youth in the program, and all donations made to the One Summer Chicago Fund will directly benefit the youth participants through added opportunities to contribute to their communities and build new skills.

Donations to the “One Summer Chicago 2017 Fund,” a fund of the McCormick Foundation, can be made online or by mail with checks payable mailed to: One Summer Chicago 2017, 23912 Network Place, Chicago, IL 60673-1245.

Chicago’s Free Tax Preparation Assistance Program Now Open

Eligible individuals and families with children could receive up to $6,896 from the federal and state Earned Income Tax Credit alone, not including other valuable credits. Many Chicagoans may not claim all the income tax credits they deserve without the help of knowledgeable preparers, however.

Families earning up to $55,000 of taxable income or individuals earning up to $30,000 of taxable income are eligible to take advantage of the city’s free and confidential income tax assistance at 19 sites across Chicago.

Volunteer tax preparers certified through IRS-approved training will assist eligible tax payers with federal and state income tax returns for the 2016 tax year. Sites will be open between late January and mid-April 2017. For specific information on location and site hours, visit the Tax Prep Chicago website. The closest site for 45th Ward residents is at Wilbur Wright College, 4300 N. Narragansett. Their hours are:

  • Mondays from 5 pm to 8:30 pm January 30 thru April 17;
  • Saturdays 9 am to noon January 28 thru April 8; finally
  • This location will be closed on February 20, April 14, and April 15.

Last year, the City of Chicago’s free income tax assistance helped 20,000 families and individuals receive $31 million in tax refunds and credits. This added income not only has a direct impact on the lives of Chicago residents – it also helps sustain small businesses, strengthens neighborhoods, and infuses millions of dollars into the local economy.

For more information and to view additional locations, visit the Tax Prep Chicago website.

Thanks for reading,

 John Arena