Tuesday, March 27, 2012

FREE TAX REVIEW: Amundsen High School, Thursday March 29th, 2012

Free tax review at Amundsen High School, 5110 N Damen, Thursday March 29th from 7::00AM to 9:00AM and 2:30PM to 4:00PM.  Call 773-202-2470 for details.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"State of Winnemac Park" & Park Advisory Council Meeting


On Monday, March 19th, over 20 neighbors attended an informal meeting led by members of the previous Winnemac Park Advisory Board and Winnemac Park Supervisor Lisa Ragucci. 


Members of the Board gave a brief history of the Park and their organization, which was formed by neighbors around 15 years ago. At that time, there was no Park Supervisor, few trees and the playlot equipment was outdated. With the Board's efforts, the Park was transformed to the neighborhood treasure it is today. 



Park Supervisor Lisa Ragucci then presented an overview of Spring park programs. Programs start the first week of April. You can find a list of these programs at the Park District's web site www.chicagoparkdistrict.com. You will need to create an account and sign in. For Location, choose "Winnemac Park". The pool at Amundsen High School has re-opened, although too late to have programs listed on the Park District website.  Pool programs for all ages also start the first week of April. Please note online registration has closed and you will need to register in person or by phone.  You may also contact Lisa at lisa.ragucci@chicagoparkdistrict.com or at (312) 742-5101 to confirm park information.



The Park Supervisor explained the ongoing issue of the muddy lawn in the south east part of the Park is due to digging by the City Water Department to perform repairs on existing underground pipes.  They have yet to restore the area to its previous condition. There was discussion of installing a shallow flood retention ditch to handle water overflow during heavy downpours in that area. In the wintertime, it could be used as a toddler sledding "hill".


A discussion of possible improvements to the park took place with the sobering news of hefty price tags associated with most suggestions. The layout of the existing playlot swingset was designed to have one additional section (called a "pod"). A swing would cost $6,000. A dedicated dog park runs around $350,000.  A new fieldhouse would cost substantially more. 

Vandalism at the Park is an ongoing concern. Past attempts to install and maintain a community sign board were quickly defaced by vandals. Communication about Park activities to the neighborhood will need to be via internet and flyers. 

The possibility of starting a youth baseball program was also discussed. The ball fields are used by the schools, so scheduling may be an issue.

Photo: Scott Bloom

The Advisory Board is looking for volunteers to take over the reins of the organization and lead it into the future. Please contact info@winnemac.org if you have interest.

More information about Chicago Park District Advisory Councils can be found at

The Advisory Board is also looking for a Prairie Community Volunteer Coordinator as the previous coordinator has moved away.

One immediate concern is the need for volunteers to pull thistle in the prairie plots.  There is 47th Ward wide community service day planned for Saturday, April 21 and a Winnemac Park community service day planned for Sunday, May 6. Please consider helping out.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Winnemac Park meeting, updates and more!

MEETING: "State of Winnemac Park" and Park Advisory Council Meeting
Monday March 19th, 7:00PM Amundsen High School (South door on Damen)
Learn about park programs, the continuing role of the Advisory Council, volunteer opportunities and ways the community park and schools can improve Winnemac park together. This is your chance to become a park advocate!
Winnemac Park in sunny March: Photo Eric Rojas

Winnemac Park Neighbors Updates:

I. Sunday May 6th service day "Square-Care" is in the works at Winnemac Park.  Sponsors  Community Christian Church representatives and Walgreens met with WPN at last Tuesday's meeting.  There will be a sign up event site for various service projects at Winnemac Park, Chappell and the surrounding area.  We will post the sign-up site as soon as it's available!  If you have a public planting, fixer-up, or painting project that you think the park/ school area needs, let us know!

II. 47th Ward Spring & Clean on April 21st: The 47th Ward service office will hold spring clean-clean up in the Ward.  We can request mulch, equipment, shovels etc... from the Ward office for drop off at project areas.  Turn dirt on the planting corners, mulch, pick up garbage with the kids at Winnemac Park.
**If you are interested in organizing the project at Winnemac Park and would like to reach our group (over 100 neighbor emails plus blog readers), please let us know info@winnemac.org and the 47th Ward office (Dara Salk dara@chicag47.org)  We do not have a "specific team lead" for this at this time, so step it up!**

OR
General info:
City Wide Volunteer Clean-Up Day April 21, 2012. If you’d like to participate in cleaning and greening a part of our neighborhood please register by April 13 at Chicago's 311 line or the Alderman’s office. The City will work with you to provide brooms, rakes, shovels and bags to help get the job done.

 III.  LSC Elections: Brendan O'Connor, Candidate for Amundsen Local School Council, Community Representative, addressed the meeting.  Brendan was well received and made a good overview of his experience and goals.  Please check out Brendan O'Connor, Jeffrey Newman and Bill Helm for this April 19th's Amundsen LSC Election...all three candidates have addressed our group!  Eric Rojas is running for Parent Representative at Chappell Elementary.  That election is April 18th.

IV. DonorsChoose Projects at Chappell:  Since meeting with Chappell teachers earlier this year, 5 DonorsChoose projects have been completed with funds raised at over $2,500 in less than a month! Check it out and donate to new projects! http://www.donorschoose.org/school/chappell-elementary-school/5427?historical=true

V.  McPherson needs LSC candidates for Community Representative! Friends of McPherson let 
us know they need candidates for their Local School Council, Community Representative.  If you are in the McPherson attendance district and do not have a child at the school, you can run and help the school! Filing deadline is this Friday, March 23rd.  It is easy to file. Details HERE  http://www.cps.edu/Pages/LSCElections.aspx

As always, please sign up for updates at the 47th Ward (www.chicago47.org) and the 40th Ward (www.aldermanoconnor.com) for official news.  Many of your Winnemac Park Neighbors are attending top level meetings, working with schools, parks and business officials to keep the Winnemac Park area a TOP neighborhood in the city to live, work, go to school and play!

LSC Meetings to watch:

Chappell LSC Candidates Forum Friday, March 23rd, 3PM (at Chappell Elementary, enter main doors on Foster).

Amundsen LSC Candidates Forum Monday, March 26th 6PM (at Amundsen High School)

LSC Candidates Forum sponsored by Center Square Journal, April 10th at Dank Haus (details TBD)


*Sign up for automatic email updates at: www.winnemac.org

Monday, March 12, 2012

Center Square Journal reports on Chappell, DonorsChoose project!

Neighbor Kris Swanberg and teachers at Chappell's computer lab. Photo Eric Rojas
UPDATE 3/22/12... Five teacher projects were funded for about $2,500 in donations at Chappell School since the WPN workshop on DonorsChoose! If more parents get involved in each class, that number will go up fast.  Reach out to any parents you know at Chappell.

Check out the story at Center Square Journal about Winnemac Park Neighbors and Chappell Elementary teachers helping to raise funds through DonorsChoose.



Neighbors group aims to raise Chappell Profile on DonorsChoose

http://tinyurl.com/7a9awlp





Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lawrence Avenue Streetscape

Lawrence Avenue Streetscape Project Implications for Winnemac Park Neighbors

The Lawrence Avenue Streetscape is a project that will have a major impact on our neighborhood. Some aspects will be beneficial, others not so much. The project plans to reduce Lawrence Avenue down from 4 lanes to 3 lanes on the majority of the stretch from Ashland to Western.

The data from the initial traffic analysis presented to the community (as shown below)  indicates greater vehicular travel times on Lawrence and traffic backing up on side streets.



Traffic will most likely back up for blocks during morning and evening rush hours like it does currently on Lawrence Avenue west of Western Avenue. Ainslie is currently used as a short cut by some vehicles avoiding the Lawrence/Western/Lincoln intersection. Our neighborhood's concern is that if these estimated traffic numbers are conservative, we could experience hundreds of additional vehicles cutting down Ainslie every day during morning and evening rush hour.

We need to be proactive and insist the Alderman's office incorporate traffic calming elements such as bump outs and storm water bump outs (as shown below) on Ainslie as well to alleviate the additional traffic. Cost savings could be achieved by the city if these elements are built at the same time as the Streetscape Project.




Here is a link to the page on Alderman Pawar's Website where you can view the most current draft of the Streetscape Design.  Note the draft does not reflect the current location of certain bus stops which were relocated last summer to the "far side of the intersection". You can also view the full Lawrence Avenue Streetscape Presentation prepared last summer showing various design elements and examples of similar projects.

http://chicago47.org/lawrence-avenue-streetscape/


Thursday, March 8, 2012

State of Winnemac Park: Advisory Board Meeting, Monday March 19th

 "State of Winnemac Park" and Advisory Board Meeting
Monday, March 19th
7:00PM to 8:00PM
Amundsen High School (South Door on Damen)
5110 N Damen Avenue


The Winnemac Park supervisor will address our community in a "State of the Park Address" this Monday March 19th at 7PM. The meeting will be help at Amundsen High School. Please enter the "park district entrance door" furthest south on Damen Avenue. The attendant will direct you to the meeting room.

This meeting will also act as a "re-start" to the established Winnemac Park Advisory Board (WPAD).  Those wishing to serve on the Board can get more information at the meeting and look for updates on this blog.  Winnemac Park Neighbors and the Advisory Board will work together with the Chicago Park District, CPS, the Alderman's office and the community to enhance our local treasure.  Goals will include regular meetings with park leadership, fund-raising when needed, programming support, volunteering for the physical maintenance of the park, better public information and to help address community concerns.

Please join us...get the word out and pass on this information by email, 
social networks and print and post for your neighbors!


Monday, March 5, 2012

Teachers, neighbors and parents help build and fund projects at Chappell

Graphic: Kris Swanberg

Well done! Kris Swanberg and some Winnemac Park Neighbors are helping to complete fund raising projects with Chappell teachers...check out the first success.


A big congratulations to Ms. Sucher at Chappell Elementary School for getting her project funded on Donor's Choose!  In less than two weeks, she raised over $500 and will receive an LCD projector for her 7th grade class!  

Check out her project and you'll see that most of the contributions came from community members and even people outside of Chicago!  Congrats to Ms. Sucher!  We can't wait to see more projects get funded!

 Check out more Chappell projects here!

Winnemac Park Neighbors Next Meeting Update: Tell your neighbors!

Our next Winnemac Park Neighbors Meeting is
Tuesday March 13th at 7PM,
Dolce Casa Cafe
4947 N Damen
Photo: Eric Rojas
On tap for this month's fun and interesting meeting open to everyone:
I. Service Day coming, Speaker Tammy Melchien
Here's your chance to really get dirty and improve Winnemac Park and the school campus. Christ Community Church (services held at Chappell School) and Walgreens have organized a Service Day for Sunday May 6th. Pastor Tammy Melchien will address our group with early details and updates. Activities will include planting at the schools, weeding the prairies, painting benches, mulching, fixing fences and more. We'll continue to promote the day and solicit volunteers.
II. Local School Council Candidates will address the group
We're inviting registered LSC candidates for Chappell, McPherson and Amundsen to address the group. We limit statements to about 5 minutes and then 5 minutes question and answer period.We'll ask for candidates to make statements after 7:30PM
III. Possible representative from the 47th Ward Alderman's office to address the Lawrence Street-scape project (invite pending).
As always, we'll have quick notes on our group's volunteer efforts at the schools, the Winnemac Park Advisory Board update, local developments, Garden Committee updates and news of note as time permits. If you'd like to address the group on any subjects affecting the Winnemac Park area of Ravenswood, please contact us ahead of time at info@winnemac.org We enjoy connecting with our neighbors...good things are happening in our neighborhood!
Finally, we can use more bloggers/ writers for our web site updates. If you'd like to post short updates, news and photos for the neighbors around Winnemac Park please contact us. We'd love to see more great news from around our community (school news, business, sports, parks whatever!). It's easy and fun...do one post or do many!