"The State of the Ward is upbeat"
Highlights of the State of the Ward delivered March 2, 2017, by Alderman Margaret Laurino.
The State of the Ward is upbeat because of our accomplishments last year as well as what’s ahead in 2017.
In May, we broke ground for the Albany Park Storm Water Diversion Tunnel.
This 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.
Also in May, Señor Pan opened its third Chicago location at 4821 N. Elston for Cuban food, tapas and vinos.
Last summer – HMR Design, a major wedding and event design company that does everything from flowers to furniture – left Goose Island and opened shop at 4200 W. Bryn Mawr. They occupy 75,000 square feet and work with a staff of more than 50 employees.
In August, Northeastern Illinois University opened its first on-campus residence hall.
Northeastern had been the only public, 4-year university in the state to not have dorms. Now they have a 6-story building for 440 residents called The Nest.
In September, we opened Seafood City, a California-based grocery complex at 5033 N. Elston.
With more than 20 locations in California, Hawaii, Nevada and Washington, this was Seafood City’s FIRST, Midwest location.
If you haven’t been there, it’s really a sight to see. It’s a “one-stop shopping destination” with fresh seafood, meats, produce and restaurants. Their packaged goods offer a “home away from home” for Filipinos and Asians who previously couldn’t find many of those products in the states, let alone in such abundance.
Talk about being a good neighbor, Seafood City brought more than 200 jobs to Mayfair.
Also in September, Old Irving Brewery opened its doors at 4419 W. Montrose. You can dine there AND drink freshly made beer.
You may remember the Cubs won the World Series last year. Well, in October right before the games, Clark Street Sports opened at 4506 W. Lawrence. Fans were buying Cubs stuff out of shipping boxes, before it could even be put on display.
Pictured, left to right: Guest speaker Gabrielle Buckley, Shareholder and Co-Chair of the Business Immigration Group of Vedder Price, ML; Alderman Laurino; guest speaker Ruth Lopez-McCarthy, managing attorney with the National Immigrant Justice Center's Legal Protection Fund Project; Janita Tucker of PPBIC
What’s in store for 2017?
Alarmist Brewery at 4055 W. Peterson has been selling their beers by the keg for a couple of years. This spring they’re looking to open up their tap room.
Also this spring, the Fitzgerald Apartments will open in North Park Village. They are 62 new units for low-income senior housing.
This summer, thanks to the hard work of Hollywood-North Park Community Association and Northeastern, we’ll have our first food truck stand on the 3600 block of Bryn Mawr. All the licenses aren’t in yet, but I believe this will be the farthest north location of any in the city.
The way it works is a food truck location is approved by the city, then vendors who have also been approved park at these spots to sell their goodies. I’m told several food trucks will visit the area from Tamale Spaceship to Happy Lobster.
Now there’s been some concern about the vacant Wolters Kluwer building at Peterson and Pulaski. Don’t worry. Plans are being finalized for the space to be taken by a very large employer. So as billboards used to say, “Watch This Space.”
Finally, I’d like to say that Deb Mell and I are working with the city to bring back the Elston Bus which used to run through the wards and into the Loop – 25 years ago.
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 Chamber of Commerce
- The Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce
- The Peterson & Pulaski Business and Industrial Council
- The Pulaski Elston Business Association AND
- The Sauganash Chamber of Commerce