Alderman Debra Silverstein has announced that a community meeting will be held on Monday, March 20, at 6:30 p.m. at Warren Park to discuss the new library-senior housing building to be constructed at Pratt and Western. Officials from the Chicago Public Library and the Chicago Housing Authority will be present to listen to neighborhood residents regarding our input on the needs for our new library.
Please be sure to tell friends and neighbors to attend. It is important that we have a large showing in order to provide additional feedback sent to our local officials on this important development.
This week was the first hearing in court regarding the vacant storefronts on Devon Avenue that were formerly home to Rosenblum’s Book Store. We have raised concerns about this property, including the tattered awnings, filthy windows, horrible upkeep and a lack of any response to inquires about renting the property. We appreciate Alderman Debra Silverstein’s role in asking the Building Department to inspect the properties and bring the owners to court. Our real estate committee played an active role in encouraging neighboring residents and business owners to attend the court case and make sure that the judge sees the community involvement on this issue. While the case has been continued, we look forward to the next hearing in early September. We will let you know the exact time and place in order that you might attend.
Friends and Colleagues:
Sharing the facts is changing the perception about West Rogers Park. Our community is growing. Synagogues have an increasing membership of young families, millions of dollars are being invested in new and existing neighborhood institutions and government resources are now being directed to improve our streets. On a recent visit at a community function, I only recognized a handful of familiar faces which indicates positive growth and development!
One of our priorities has been raising awareness about the hidden gems of West Rogers Park. Our Alderman, Debra Silverstein, has referred to Devon Avenue as “a diamond in the rough” and we agree. The way to influence perception is to engage in a public relations campaign and we are very fortunate to have the volunteer services of Beverly Siegel who has gotten us considerable visibility. Our work (and more importantly, our neighborhood) has been featured in news articles in:
1. Chicago Tribune
2. JUF News
3. Chicago Jewish News
Most recently, we were included in a story about Devon Avenue in the AmericanWay magazine which is distributed on every American Airlines flight domestically and internationally. This exposure is a great way to showcase local businesses and raise awareness about advocacy. A number of friends traveling to Chicago have commented positively after reading the article. That article is posted here: http://www.gowrp.org/blog/
I encourage you to visit our website, www.GoWRP.org, and share that link with your colleagues and neighbors. Recent news articles and blog updates on our progress are regularly posted. We also have links to our active social media pages. There is no substitute for positive word of mouth!
Friends and Board Members,
Since re-launching in late 2013, the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park has taken on many priorities. While we try to use these weekly emails as a platform to update our key stakeholders on our work, there is so much more that is taking place behind the scenes. Our top priorities have been and remain business development and advocacy. This week was a great example of how we move those items forward on a daily basis.
On Monday of this week, Tony Martinez of the Chicago Community Trust, a resident of our area and a member of our advocacy committee chaired a meeting attended by key leaders in the Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park, the West Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the West Rogers Park Community Organization. The agenda was discussing a path forward regarding organizing for improvements to the NorthTown branch of the Chicago Public Library. Each attendee took on several key next steps which involve petitions, social media, and meetings with officials. If you would like to be included in this conversation, please let me know so we can keep you informed on next steps.
You have likely seen the final touches to the first phase of the streetscape on Devon Avenue. The improvements are major and the credit for that is owed to Alderman Debra Silverstein. Now we have to leverage those positive developments and attract businesses to all of our major commercial areas in West Rogers Park. To that end, Howard Rieger and I have been discussing the possibility of adding a part-time position to our organization and hiring a business outreach assistant to support my work in bringing commerce and small businesses to our thoroughfares. Several candidates have been recommended and we are looking for additional resumes to review (draft job description is available here). Your suggestions for candidates would be very much appreciated.
As always, I look forward to your feedback and welcome the opportunity to meet to review our progress.