Recent News

Taste of Lincoln Avenue Tow Alert: July 26th and 27th

The Wrightwood Neighbors Association presents: Taste of Lincoln Avenue on July 26th and 27th from 12PM – 10PM.

No parking will be allowed from 1:00AM Saturday, July 26th through 4:00AM Monday, July 28th on the following streets.

Lincoln Avenue: From Fullerton to Wrightwood
Montana Street: From Lincoln Avenue to west to the 1st Alley
Altgeld Street: From Halsted to Sheffield
Lill Street: From Lincoln east to Halsted
Halsted: From 2401 to 2423 on Halsted

If you have any questions, please call Special Events Management at 773-868-3010.

Electricity Rate Changes

After recent rate changes, Chicago consumers are wondering whether the City’s electricity deal with Integrys is still right for them.

The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and the City have collaborated to create the Chicago Power Calculator to help consumers determine whether they should stick with Integrys or return to ComEd for their electricity supply this summer.

Click here to use the Chicago Power Calculator. (www.ChicagoPowerCalculator.com)

2014 Chicago Air and Water Show Schedule

The Chicago Air and Water Show begins August 15th with a practice show, and continues August 16th and 17th! The Blue Angels will be present at this year’s show.

Beginning Monday, August 11, 2014, the parking lot at North Avenue beach will be closed for site preparation, which will continue throughout the week. On Friday, August 15th, beginning at 10:00 am there will be Air Show rehearsals, which will end at 3:00 pm. On Saturday and Sunday, the show will run from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The parking lot at North Avenue beach will re-open to the public on Monday, August 18th at 3:00 pm.

Stockton Drive Pedestrian Underpasses Rehabilitation

The three pedestrian underpasses located under Stockton Drive at approximately Deming Place, Belden Avenue and Dickens Avenue will be under construction beginning July 7th.

Construction will be staged to ensure at least one tunnel is open to the public during construction, and is scheduled to be completed by September 2014.

Stage 1:
The tunnels located at 2600 N. Lakeview Avenue and 2250 N. Lincoln Park West will be closed. The tunnel located at 2050 N. Lincoln Park West will be open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Stage 2:
At least one of the tunnels located at 2600 N. Lakeview Avenue and 2250 N. Lincoln Park West will be open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
The tunnel located at 2050 N. Lincoln Park West will be closed.

Diversey Sewer Main Installation!

Beginning in early July, the City of Chicago’s Department of Water Management (DWM) will begin construction to replace the sewer lines on Mildred Avenue, between Wolfram Street and Diversey Parkway, as well as the sewer lines on Diversey Parkway, between Mildred Avenue and Halsted Street. The current lines date to 1885 and are in need of replacement. The project is expected to last until the middle of August.

For a full description of the project, please click here. Additionally, should you have any questions, please contact DWM Assistant Commissioner Tom LaPorte at 312-742-1029 and he will be able to assist you further.

Pride Parade Street Closures: Cannon Drive and Diversey Pkwy

Chicago’s 45th Annual Pride Parade will take place Sunday, June 29th.

To make way for the parade route, Cannon Drive from Fullerton Parkway to Diversey Parkway, and Diversey Parkway from Broadway to Lake Shore Drive will be closed beginning at 5:00 am on Sunday, June 29th. Signs will be posted in advance, so please ensure your car is off the street as towing will begin at 5:00am on Sunday.

Please be advised that with an expected one-million parade attendees, traffic will likely be congested in areas surrounding the parade route. The parade will have a greater police presence this year to assist with the flow of traffic, however, it is advisable to walk or take public transportation on the day of the parade, and allow extra time for travel.

A full list of Parade details and street closures can be found here: http://www.chicagopridecalendar.org/Parade.html

Volunteer for a Homestay: Host for U.S. Department of State

The Department of State annually hosts international youth to explore civic engagement, leadership, community, and diversity. Participants stay with host families in Chicago.

Host families provide room and board, while introducing the youth to life in America. The Department of State provides transportation, lunch, cell phones, and program activities from nine to five, so evenings and weekends are free to spend with host families.

The dates include:
July 10–24 | Iraq – 12 youth (6 female, 6 male); 2 adult mentors

July 14–23 | United Kingdom -12 youth (6 female, 6 male)

July 21–Aug 2 | Mexico – 14 youth (9 female, 5 male)

Aug 12–23 | China – 9 youth (5 female, 4 male); 1 adult mentor

Sept 12–23 | Bolivia, Peru & Ecuador – 12 youth; 3 adult mentors

Oct 2–10 | Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Niger – 15 youth, 3 adult mentors; French speaking

For more information or to volunteer contact:

Maria Krasinski (Youth Program Manager)
mkrasinski@worldchicago.org
312-254-1800 x102
Find more information at worldchicago.org

Filming Notice: June 20

Sherpa Pictures Inc. will be filming scenes for an upcoming Las Vegas tourism commercial in our neighborhood on Friday, June 20.

In order to park the necessary vehicles and equipment for filming, the following streets will be posted with NO PARKING / TOW ZONE signs.

East Side of Clark St from Webster to Grant Place from 10:00AM through 2:00PM.

Alderman Smith Weighs in on Pensions

On Monday, June 9, Alderman Smith authored a piece published in Crain’s urging Governor Quinn to sign a bill reforming pensions for Chicago’s municipal employees and laborers.

Click here to read the Crain’s piece. Text is also below.

Following the Governor’s signature of the bill, the Alderman joined two of her colleagues on WTTW’s Chicago Tonight to discuss the bill and pension challenges.

Click here to watch the discussion.

The Alderman looks forward to working with her colleagues in the City Council and the Emanuel Administration to devise an innovative and comprehensive plan to address all of Chicago’s pensions.

Sign the city pension bill, Gov. Quinn
By Alderman Michele Smith
June 9, 2014

On Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk sits a bill reforming pensions for Chicago’s municipal employees and laborers. While not perfect, this bill reduces liabilities by $3 billion.

In a proposal praised by the Civic Federation as well as by many large property owners as a “balanced approach,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel originally sought to rectify the remaining $6 billion pension shortfall — caused by decades of underfunding — with property taxes. That requirement was stripped from the final version of the bill, leaving the funding mechanism unresolved.
How should we fund this difference, and should the lack of a mechanism in the bill prevent the governor from signing it?

Among the proposed funding mechanisms are property taxes, tax-increment financing expiration bonds, an increased share of the state income tax, a “LaSalle Street tax” and even commuter or city income taxes.

Property taxes are favored by the financial markets because they can be levied without having to consult with Springfield, allowing the city to control its own destiny. Unfortunately, they aren’t tied to income and could result in disproportionate tax increases in some areas of the city.

TIF expiration bonds call for future property taxes to be estimated from the expiration of a TIF district to finance a bond that would be used to make pension payments today. Perhaps the intention is to avoid a current property tax increase (why some favor it), but it’s as much a mortgage on the future as the parking meter deal was.

The governor proposes increasing the distributive share of revenue to municipalities, thereby helping fund the city’s pensions. There are merits to this idea — it avoids reliance on property taxes — but any change to the distributive share would have to be baked into legislation, in order to make it predictable to the financial markets to avoid downgrading Chicago’s debts and increasing our costs to borrow. Moreover, it depends on continuing the “temporary” income tax increase, which is in no way certain.

DOWNWARD CYCLE

Other ideas include a “LaSalle Street tax” on trades in the commodities exchanges, a “commuter tax” on individuals who work in but live outside the city, and a city-only income tax.
These aren’t feasible options. A commuter tax or city-only income tax would reverse the good work being done to bring corporate jobs back to the city. A LaSalle tax would put a cost on trading that exists nowhere else and could prompt a move of our remaining exchanges.

These revenue grabs could put the city into a downward cycle of disinvestment, with too few people to support ever-increasing payments. The city, hobbled, could sink.
Meanwhile, pension reform itself is at risk. Municipal employees and laborers have reached a good-faith compromise and have come to the table ahead of other unions. They also have not sued to block reform, as other unions have.

No one wants a property tax increase, including me. Without this first step toward reform, about half the pension shortfall is unresolved and we still face a $600 million property tax increase, thanks to a bill foolishly enacted in 2010 by the General Assembly.

It is urgent that Mr. Quinn sign the city’s first pension legislation. Putting pen to paper will create the opportunity to negotiate a series of revenue measures aimed at mitigating the impact of property tax-only revenues.

Let the city step up and govern itself — and make the tough decisions that lie ahead.

Ohio Street Feeder Ramp Closures

Beginning Friday, June 13, the Illinois Department of Transportation will begin demolition of the westbound Ohio/Ontario Street Bridge to eastbound 1-90/94 over I-90/94. Demolition will occur over the course of three weekends.

June 13, 14, 15: 10pm Friday – 5am Monday – Closure of eastbound I-90/94 and the reversible lanes.

June 20, 21, 22: 10pm Friday – 5am Monday – Closure of eastbound I-90/94 and the reversible lanes.

June 27, 28, 29: 10pm Friday – 5am Monday – Closure of eastbound I-90/94 exit to Ohio Street.

Click here for more information.