April 2007 Conference Reporter

Volume 13, No. 1, April 2007. Produced by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, Chicago, a 501(c)3 neighborhood association since 1949

Articles and features:

The Conference in Action
HPKCC Schools Committee Features “After School Matters”

by Nancy Baum [HPKCC board member and Schools Committee Chair]

Walking around Hyde Par it is hard to believe that behind those facades of school buildings, churches, synagogues, field houses and storefronts, there is so much activity going on. Hyde Parkers who managed to attend the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Schools Committee’s forum “After School Matters” at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club on March 23, 207 were in for an amazing treat. Emceed by our very own board member, James Harris (whose smooth manner rivals any T.V. host’s), the public was introduced to the forum’s principal speaker, Janet Kafkas, Interim Senior Manager, Urban Group and Operations from the YMCA. She was dynamic and helpful, engaging the audience by first asking them to name a person in their life who had most influenced them. People responded by talking about loving parents and teachers who had changed the course of their lives. Janet continued by talking about how important it is for children to have these people in their lives. She even challenged us to get to know an endangered teenage (you know the kind, who hangs around looking like a prototype for a character in “The Wire”) and rescue them by engaging them little by little in conversation, and eventually leading them to activities that could be life-changing. She brought along helpful handouts for us to read in order to ponder the 40 fundamental building assets that children need t acquire during childhood for success, but that studies she shared show are often not acquired.

The other speakers were just a few of the many activity providers in the neighborhood who explained their programs to the community and how their programs fit into the building assets model. These organizations provide a variety of activities: sports, music, crafts, dancing, cheerleading and even glassblowing. It makes you want to be a kid again. Here is a list of activity providers and their representatives of that evening, followed by a phone number for the organization, website if available and a brief description of what each is all about:

· American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO): Joan Bullen and Vanessa James, 773-324-5424, www.AYSO751.org. Ages 4-19. Soccer teams formed.

· Abraham Lincoln Centre, 3858 S. Cottage Grove (53). Rodney Williams, Youth Coordinator, 773-285-1390, www.abrahamlincolncentre.org. Programs and services for families and individuals, child development, full and half-day programs, after-school care.

· Blue Gargoyle, 5638 S. Woodlawn (37). Kathy Barrett, Interim Executive Director, 773-955-4108, www.bluegargoyle.org. Provides tutoring and trains volunteers.

· Chicago Children’s Choir, First Unitarian church, 5650 S. Woodlawn (37). Davin Peelle and Molly Stone, 312-349-8300, www.ccchoir.org. Well-known after-school performing choir.

· Creative Mansions, 4745 S. Ellis (15). Marjorie Jones and Sharon Francis, 773-268-6066. Before and after-school programs for ages 5-10’ preschool, recreational summer programs, reading and math enrichment summer camps. [Bills itself as the Christian alternative.]

· Education Station: Natalie Oliver. CMS Marketing West, 312-520-5332. A national tutoring company.

· Hyde Park Development Center [at] United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd St. (15) Miss Ahzea, 773-324-0947, www.hydeparkdevelopmentcenter.com. Full-day program, 8 am-6 pm, preschool, ages 2-5, Music Together, yoga for kids and more.

· Hyde Park Learning Resources Center, 5114 S. Dorchester. Lillie Goldwin, Director, 773-363-5581.www.hplrc.org. After school homework support, individual and group tutoring and mentoring.

· Hyde Park Neighborhood Club, 5480 S. Kenwood. Peter Cassel, Executive Director and Holly Leiker, Assistant Director, 773 643-4062, www.hpnclub.org. Wide range of activities including open gym, ballet, jazz, tap, martial arts, hip hop, digital music, art, field trips and more.

· Hyde Park Suzuki Institute, United Church of Hyde Park, 1448 E. 53rd St. (15). Lucinda Ali and April Greer, 773-643-1388, www.hydeparksuzuki.com. Kindermusik, guitar, harp, viola, violin and voice.

· Hyde Park Youth Symphony, Hyde Park Union Church, 5600 S. Woodlawn (37). Mary Naftzger, Board Member. For auditions call William White, 847-651-5055 or director@hpys.org. Website: www.hpys.org.

· Indoors/Outdoor Junior Golf and Winter Junior Sno-Gophers Ski Club: Jacqueline Beard, jib7731@Ameritech.net, 773-978-0493. Beginners. Instruction at Golf Driving Range, 63rd and S. Hayes (off of Lake Shore Drive). skiing, day trips and one-week trip. www.snogophers.org.

· Jewish Community Center, 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd. (15). Michael Goldstein, Director of Programs, 773-753-3080, www.gojcc.org. Early childhood classes, gym, vacation day programs for nursery thru 5th grade, after school programs, grades 1-8, basketball, Tai Kwon Do, swimming, gymnastics, summer camp.

· Joan’s Studio for the Performing Arts, 1438 E. 57thSt. (37). Joan Steggemann, 773-493-9288. Tai Chi, yoga, Indian dance, Music Together, private or group music lessons from birth to adult and more.

· Little Black Pearl, 1060 E. 47th St. Annika Frazier-Muhammad (a parent). Chinyera Moody, Program Director, 773- 285-1211, www.blackpearl.org.

· Music Teachers of Hyde Park, Elizabeth LaCroix, 773-324-6250, www.mthp.org. Has a list of over 50 music teachers for private and group lessons in the area. [Ed.- Also has joint learning and performace camps during school year and summer.]

· Nichols Park Field House and Gym, 135 E. 53rd St.: Heather Kelly, Supervisor and Sonia Smith, Assistant Park Supervisor, 312-747-2703, www.chicagoparkdistrict.com. Day camps, sport for children and adults.

· Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1155 E. 58th St. (37). Carole Krucoff, Director of Education, 773-702-9514, and Jessica Caracci, Education Program Assistant, 773-72-9520, or http://oi.uchicago.edu. Family and children programs related to the museum’s extensive Ancient Near East collection.

· University of Chicago Laboratory Schools Summer Programs, 1362 E. 59th St. (37). Ned Reece, Director of Auxiliary Programs, 773-834-7766, http://summerlab.org. Adventure Kids Day Camp, Summer Lab on Stage, Summer School, Sports Camps, Field Study, full day, morning and afternoon programs for children of all ages.

· University of Chicago Summer Sports Programs: Richard Maloney, Director, 5530 S. Ellis, 773-702-9065, http://athletics,uchicago.edu/sssc.htm, rmaloney@uchicago.edu. Half-day and full-day programs for ages 6-16, tennis camp for ages 6-14 at the Ratner Center and Stagg Field.

· University of Chicago Office of Neighborhood Relations, 5525 S. Ellis, Rm. 165 (37). Duel Richardson, duel@uchicago.edu or Yelene Modley, ymodley@uchicago.edu, 773-834-1935. Many useful programs including credit and non-credit College Bridge, Collegiate Scholars (apply mid-march of freshman year), Special Programs/College Pre (6-12), Young Scholars’ Program for mathematics enthusiasts (7-12).

Activity providers brought along brochures for parents and after the presentations community members and activity providers remained to mingle and share ideas about the programs. Everyone was eager to learn more about one another. Attendees also were provided with the pamphlet “Raising our City Children” produced by 25th District State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie and Fourth Ward Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, which lists additional local programs available to our children and which can be obtained at both of their offices.

When the Schools committee started this project, with the impetus coming from a dinner discussion with Local Schools Council members who mentioned the need for after-school programs on half-days and other days off, we had no idea what wee were getting into. There must be over two hundred programs available to the youth of our neighborhood. The local public and private schools also provide after-school programs for their own students for a fee. The Schools Committee plans to poll all the activity providers for updated information and eventually provide as complete a list as is humanly possible to post onto the internet in time for the beginning of school next Fall, 2007-08. Eventually we hope to provide a printed list to get into the hands of every parent with school-age children in the area, a daunting project given the vast number of programs available. Adults can volunteer for many of them. Remember, if your child wants an activity you will find tons of information compiled by board member Gary Ossewaarde at http://www.hydepark.org/education/afterschool.htm.

Special thanks to the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club for helping to make this a productive evening and providing big comfortable chairs, and to all the services providers who came to the event, and to the committee members for helping to put it together: Nancy Baum, Chair, Judy Dupont, Annika Frazier-Muhammad, James Harris, Zoe Mikva, Julie Monberg, Gary Ossewaarde, Rev. Larry Turpin, and Julie Woestehoff and to the following businesses and organizations for their support: Century 21 Kennedy, Ryan, Monigal and Associates; Computer Resource Center; and PURE—Parents United for Responsible Education.

If you want to help pm the School Committee, call Nancy Baum at 773-288-5464, or e-mail her at nbbaum@sbcglobal.net.

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Garden Fair Schedules 48th Annual Plant Sale

by Trish Morse [HPKCC board member]

Though the wind is howling off the lake, the Hyde Park Garden Fair is just around the corner—May 18 and 19, 2007.

Gardeners this year have been anticipating the Garden fair since January and February, when the first annual “Garden Inspirations” lectures were held in the Augustana Lutheran Church meeting hall. Though the weather was anything but cooperative, gardeners from all over the city were indeed inspired to think of sprig—and ask lots of questions of the expert lecturers.

One of the great things about the Hyde Park Garden Fair is the wide range of departments—from exotic house plants to practical vegetables, from the long-lived shrubs and roses to the summer-long burst of color from the annuals, from the highly hybridized specialty plants to the native plants and wild flowers. The “Garden Inspirations” covered the gamut and got me itching to try new things.

Carolyn Ulrich, editor of Chicagoland Gardening magazine, launched the series with a slide shop show on “Beautiful Small City Gardens.” Not only was it refreshing in January’s snows to see those blooming oases, but it was also informative to see how a small space could be transformed by thinking vertically as wee as horizontally and by using a large variety of plants. It was interesting to see large containers on rooftop patios sustaining shrubs and perennials as well as annuals and grasses. Trellises defined spaces and provided privacy but also supported hanging baskets and climbing roses. One very tiny garden was a four-season wonder with its mixture of bulbs, shrubs, grasses, water garden, and annuals with a tiny curved path that provided different “vistas.”

The second lecture, “Landscaping with Native Plants” by Pat Armstrong, who is a field biologist, ecologist, and restoration expert and runs Prairie Sun Consultants, also opened horizons of possibility. Her experience teaching at places like the Morton Arboretum, the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the College of DuPage, showed in her fascinating and informative slide show about native slide show about native plants of Illinois. She had been forewarned that Hyde Park gardeners deal with a lot of shade, so she brought many suggestions—such as wild ginger for a great shade groundcover, mayapples for their interesting leaves, woodland phlox for soft spring bloom, and of course the spring trilliums and shooting stars. Even more fascinating were slides of her house and yard in Naperville, which she had converted into a prairie—including her garage roof. She showed how a yard could be filled with color and interesting foliage year round. Blazing star, rattlesnake master, prairie smoke, butterfly weed, native coneflower, and native beebalm—they all were lovely but also attracted many kinds of butterfli9es and birds. The native grasses moved in the breezes and looked terrific in winter. Compared to her neighbors with their bland green lawns, she has a yard that doesn’t waste water, requires no pesticides and fertilizer, and heals the planet.

Betty McCarthy, who mans the Information Booth at the Hyde Park Garden Fair, brought her expertise and long personal experience to “How to Grow Vegetables in Containers.” Her demonstration of just how easy and accessible vegetable gardening is was fascinating. Any sunny windowsill will do! And it doesn’t cost much since even very large tin cans will work to grow even tomatoes. It was inspiring to learn how easy it is to set up a drip irrigation, what kind of soil (and soilless mix) to use, how to have many crops on one window sill, and what types of tomatoes work well. She helped the eager audience understand just how to get started. Best of all was the tiny tomato she gave to each member of the audience to take home through the arctic blast. There should be many more windowsill and back porch farmer exploring the vegetable section this year.

Container gardeners also got great advice from Greg Stack, of the University of Illinois Extension, when he spoke on roses that could survive the howling winds and cold temperatures here in Hyde Park/Kenwood. He had a wonderful slide presentation on all types of roses—from 10-foot giants to hardy miniatures. He explained the difference between species roes (wild, gangly but hardy), rugosa roses (some of the best for winter hardiness and reliability), Old Garden Roses (developed before 1867 when the first hybrid tea rose was developed), floribunda and grandiflora roses. He pointed out for really tough places that Canadian Explorer roses have been developed for extreme hardiness. Though most roses need the sun, he pointed out a few that can handle light shade, like the floribunda “Iceberg.” There might be fewer blossoms, but the white blossoms glow. He also pointed out how to think of roses for their winter interest since many have beautiful hips. His tips on pruning and planting were much appreciated.

So, now the Garden Inspirations of winter have turned into a shopping list for the Hyde Park Garden Fair.

48th Annual Hyde Park Garden Fair. Friday, May 18, 9:00 – 6:00; Saturday, May 19, 9:00 – 4:00. Hyde Park Coop Shopping Center, 55th Street and Lake Park. www.hydeparkgardenfair.org.

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From the President’s Desk… [Retail options]

The sad state of retail in this community has many Hyde Park debating how to improve our shopping options. The emails are flying, and the opinions are too diverse to detail.

One school of thought favors big-box national chains such as Target or Home Depot. Personally, I think that highly unlikely. The average Target store occupies 175,000 square feet (according to their website); the Co-op Grocery Store, for comparison, is 45,000 square feet. The average Home Depot requires a 15-acre parking lot. That’s probably not going to happen in this neighborhood.

Then there’s the idea of the mid-sized national chain. The only worry about that is what happens if the store does not succeed. Many in the area are very concerned at the probable closing of Border’s Bookstore on 53rd street—how difficult will it be to find a tenant to occupy that space? Remember that Hyde Park once had a Benettons and a Pier 1.

That leaves the option of small businesses, which seems t echo what we currently are dissatisfied with.

In my opinion, the solution is mixed in with the above options. I think our first step as a community is to figure out what has worked and what we are currently happy with, and build upon that.

Everyone should remember that Hyde Park is an extremely diverse community. What has worked so far has been businesses that appeal to this diversity. Almost everyone (all racial groups, all income groups, students and seniors) patronizes a good restaurant, a terrific toy store, somewhere to get flowers or a new pair of shoes.

But hat about a good greeting card or party favors store? I miss Jeselsons, the fish store we used to have on 53rd. Or remember the butcher shop that used to be on 53rd? I would like to bring back The Eagle, a nice neighborhood pub where people gather after work. Of course a theatre or cinema. And most important of all, some place to buy socks and underwear!

HPKCC plans to hold a community forum soon on retail development. Please show up and express your opinion!

George Rumsey, April 15, 2007

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HPKCC Board Discusses Proposed 56th & Cornell Development with Planners, Critics
by Gary Ossewaarde [HPKCC Secretary and board member]

Major changes such only come along once in a generation are in store for 56th and Cornell, further south at 5800 and maybe elsewhere on Stony Island over the next few years. The Conference Board heard in January from of the 56th Cornell developers and in April from critics the plan, then from another with concerns about University of Chicago’s likely direction for former Doctors Hospital.

On January 4, HPKCC board members were favorably impressed but left with several concerns and unanswered questions about the proposed 26-story condo high rise for the present Windermere House parking lot, northwest corner at 56th and Cornell. Eli Ungar of Antheus Capital, developer, and David Quinn of Studio Gang Architects were the lead presenters, along with Graham Grady of Bell, Boyd and Lloyd.

Mr. Ungar stressed that as owner of many rental buildings in the area—several on Cornell, including recently-purchased Windermere House, Antheus has a stake in a having a building that makes a bold contribution and does not detract from the area. Antheus and its associated MAC Properties upgrade rental properties and hold them for the long run. This development will be their first foray into new condo construction.

Ungar and Quinn showed how site, shadow and traffic flow studies guided structure placement and site layout. Meetings with neighbors including Bret Harte school were started fairly early in the planning. They said they know the importance of no loss of parking during or after construction and that the Cornell residents, especially value the quiet and historic, low-rise architecture of their street. They believe, nonetheless, that the site, adjacent to transit, Jackson Park and the lakefront can absorb and support the increased density.

Studio Gang Architects, which has experience in innovative solutions and environmental buildings, was asked to design a new-looking, attractive building that respects neighbors including the school and birds, yet is parking neutral and financially viable.

The designed structure, then 268 feet and 25 stories (later raised a story) is midway in height between taller and shorter buildings on 56th Street. It would be set back 40 feet from 56th St. (noting that other buildings on the street also cut in and out) with a rise to the lobby entry to accommodate part of the parking. Behind the tower, set toward the south to reduce shadows, would be a 50-foot high but set back blanked-glass wall health club along Cornell.

The tower was noted as having visually interesting and environmentally friendly features, including inward facing, sloped glass walls to not attract birds, provide owner privacy, and reduce heat and utility load and glare for neighbors but bring in more winter light to the north face. Green (“LEED”) certification may be sought.

The presenters said they were prepared to make substantial improvements to Bret Harte, including the schoolyard.

Board members expressed concerns about traffic patterns and sidewalk cuts and other dangers to children and pedestrians (including for the play lots across the street). Members for solutions for interim parking, construction staging, the look of the lobby and its elevated approach and of the extension along Cornell, and patterns for traffic and service vehicles.

Asked about prospects for “affordable” units, the developers said the market makes this difficult—the last new rental building in the area was put up in 1969. Replacement costs for a $5 million-valued building is $15 million. Subsidies such as Section 8 and Class 9, they said, do not allow enough return.

The current schedule was to proceed with planning and hearings for the needed zoning change (planned development amendment) and construction from late 2007 to early 2009.

At the April 5 board meeting, a neighbors’ group seeking substantial changes to the proposal and called “Back to the Drawing Board” presented their concerns and critique. Chief presenters were neighbor Robert Greenspoon, parking expert Gerald Salzman of Desman Associates, and Oscar Worrill.

They first noted that 61 adjacent property owners had signed a petition of objection, the building has grown to 299 feet, the plan is now 36 parking spaces shy of promised no-net-loss. Features they said need to be changed are:

· Lack of inclusionary affordable housing—other developers have it

· Flawed traffic plan and missing parking parity

· Very adverse impacts on the affordable tenant building to the north

· Blank walls, shadows, and traffic hazards for the school

· Non-compatible scale, materials and design compared with Cornell Ave. and 56th St. including blank walls and continuous north-south length twice Bret Harte or the Windermere.

Board members asked questions and made suggestions for both the developer, Antheus, and the Back to the Drawing Board group, and will follow this development closely.

The board also discussed concerns with Steven Donald (UNITE HERE Local 1) [about what options] the University of Chicago may adopt for development and management of the former Doctors Hospital as a housing, hospitality and conference venue.

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Don’t Leave Home Without Your Whistle!
By Joanne Howard [HPKCC board member and WhistleStop Chair]

The Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference is a long time champion of the WhistleStop Program. WhistleStop is a program that initially began in California and spread to Chicago. It is a community action/safety program that encourages people to blow their whistle when you see something menacing about to occur.

Based on reports from our local CAPS meetings and the SECC, Hyde Park, Kenwood, and the areas to the north and south are experiencing lower crime rates. We would like to assist in encouraging this trend by placing a WhistleStop whistle in every community member’s hand.

Blowing a whistle calls attention to a crime in action, and it exposes the criminal and helps the victim. The success of this community action safety program is to ward off criminal activity by letting criminals know they are not safe in the Hyde Park area.

Purchase whistles from the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference by calling 288-8343 or email us at hpkcc@aol.com. You can also buy them at the HPKCC table at the Coop on [2nd] Saturday mornings [noontimes]. Spend $2.00 for a whistle. You will be glad you did!

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A Hyde Parker You Should Know:
Peter Cassel, Executive Director, Hyde Park Neighborhood Club

By Joanne E. Howard [HPKCC board member]

Peter Cassel assumed the leadership of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club six months ago. Peter is a member of the community and he and his wife, Danielle Meltzer Cassel , live in Hyde Park with their two children. Peter is a graduate of Carleton College in Minnesota, and the recipient of two master’s degrees from the University of Illinois at Chicago in urban planning, and the University of Chicago’s Graduate School of Business. After a successful career in recycling, he joins the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club with compassion and drive.

You have been with the Club for six months. Can you let the neighborhood in on your vision for the Club?

I really want to create and bring an atmosphere of excellence to the Club. Hyde Park is rooted in excellence from its inception as a suburb of Chicago through serving as host of the Columbian Exposition to the founding of he University of Chicago. Hyde Park is an exceptional place and I would like the Club to match the community. The staff and I want to create an environment at the Club that brings people together in a good way. For example, there were a number of people who wanted a chess program here. We looked at school-based chess programs and were lucky to find an international master who just happens to be the 5th best player in Illinois. We engaged him to run the class. It has truly been a great experience for the 8 year olds to 14 year olds to have beginning to advanced classes.

It is very interesting that you have taken suggestions from constituents and users of the Club. Can you talk a bit more about this?

Sure. The staff at the Club always has their ears primed to listen to the recommendations of our attendees and future attendees to the /club. We want to have good programming that appeals to a variety of community members. So, we have new staff associated with our adult daycare and they have introduced “Time Slips” - it’s a national program that works with people with various forms of dementia. We will show a provocative picture, like a man dancing on the top of a table and we will have people in the adult day care program take turns in telling parts of the story. The group storytelling fosters friendships and allows people to participate in a fun exercise. It also helps to build memories around an unusual story. We have more than 55 people enrolled in this program and on a daily basis we have from 25—30 attendees.

The Hyde Park Herald reported that the Club will be getting a new floor. How did this come about?

Representative Barbara Flynn Currie and senator Kwame Raoul were very instrumental in getting $100,000 so we could undertake this long-needed upgrade to our gym. This was in the works before I arrived and I am delighted it is about to happen. Irene Smith, a long-time and revered former Executive Director of the Club, put this in motion back in the 1j980s when the addition was put onto the Club. We hope to christen the floor in late June and early July by hosting a 3-on-3 basketball tournament.

The Club as a variety of events—can you review them for our reading public?

The Club is essentially open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. We host a “party” for 250 people on a daily basis. We host CAPS meetings, TIF meetings, after-school meetings, aerobics, basketball, French classes, bridge, Mahjong, and a host of other events.

This seems like a good deal of time to hold your doors open on a daily basis. What does your financial picture look like, and can you discus any financial challenges you want to correct?

15% of our annual revenue is generated from 400 members of the community who have been especially generous to us, and the remainder of our revenue is generated by fee for service activities. Our key goal is to introduce more people to our revenue mix and build on the relationships of our very loyal donors who have been with us for more than 40 years. Of course in order to do this, we will have to build on keeping our activities fresh and relevant to the community. At a holiday party this year, I met a couple who met at the Club in 1958. Can you imagine that! They celebrated their 49th wedding anniversary with the Club. This is a great historical aspect of the Club. We want to build on their warm feeling for the Club so that 40 years from now we leave a legacy for other people to top.

Can you talk a bit about your board of directors?

We have a wonderful board who have stuck by the Club through thick and thin . They have been unbelievably helpful and encouraging to me and the staff. There are 27 of them and I certainly look forward to our continued association.

Any final thoughts you would like to convey to members of the community?

I hope members of the community will see the Neighborhood Club as an asset and that they will take advantage of the myriad things we offer here. I also hope they will continue the legacy of support and giving so that years to come, people will be able to enjoy the Club.

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Picture: Members of the Hyde Park Disabilities Task Force meet on April15 to plan new activities for promoting disabilities awareness and compliance in Hyde Park, with a second round of business visits for June. The group was pleased to learn about the new audible traffic lights planned for 55th and Lake Park.

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Officials Update Lake Issue, Swim Bans at Jackson Park Meeting
by Gary Ossewaarde, body from JPAC Newsletter April 2007

In the September Reporter, we described changes in Chicago standards for swim bans at beaches based on testing, along with concerns some have expressed that the changes may present a danger to public health. Below is an update summary of a discussion at the March 12, 2007 Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting with Holiday Wirick, a Water Quality administrator with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 5, and Justin DeWitt, Beach Administrator with the Illinois Department of Public Health.

The U.S. Beach Act is the point of interface between Chicago and state and federal agencies. Chicago is currently in compliance with the Beach Act, the presenters said. This legislation requires that if a jurisdiction seeks eligibility for grants fund testing, surveys, etc. at beaches, then should the beach water reach a concentration of 235 cfu of indicator bacteria, that jurisdiction must take an action, which could be closure or public notification and signage.

Chicago formerly closed beaches after two days of readings of 235 or higher; it now gives notice after one day of such readings and closes the beach whenever 1,000 is exceeded. The federal standard, developed in the 1970s, has not changed—revised standards and protocols are being developed. Chicago tests much more frequently than most jurisdictions (the minimum is once a week). There is not agreement over what are the best tests or way and places to conduct them, they said—and agreed that many sources of illness are missed or not tested for. The guests said some trials such as in Lake County suggest that modeling is superior to testing. Also, the real goal is to have progress on safe beach waters and clean Great Lakes. As for a trend for more closures on the Great Lakes in the past decade, at least some reflects more testing, they said.

Questions were raised about adoption and public health implications of Chicago’s new standard. Director of Lakefront Operations Alonzo Williams reported that input was taken on the change and that Chicago will be applying for grants. Also, under a different grant, a thorough search will be made at two Chicago beach catchments for outfalls and point sources pf pollution. Members asked that the park district choose oft-closed 63rd Street as one of the test beaches. According to Williams, the district also has an educational program to discourage actions that contribute to beach and water contamination and is rolling out the new waste containers. And changes were made to the shape of 63rd beach. Members noted that most of the storm and general runoff from park lawn panels on the south lakefront ends up untreated in the lake.

Wirick, DeWitt, Ellen Sargent of the park district, Alliance for the Great Lakes spokesperson Frances Canonizado, and members agreed on the importance of the new Great Lakes Collaboration among the states and provinces to address the pollution problems of the Great Lakes Basin. This would require states’ ratification and heavy federal funding.

Asked when and for whom the waters are safe, the guests said it depends on the state of the individual and suggested people be cautious about entering the water when the 235 standard is exceeded, or the days after a storm. Members were concerned that Chicago may have set the level for closure too high; the guests said it is a good starting point. A suggested source of more information is the Centers for Disease Control website [http://www.cdc.gov]-- go to Healthy Swimming.
Members proposed better signage, that flyers explaining the protocol and the dangers be handed out at the beach whenever 235 cfu is exceeded, and that outreach be done in the schools and field houses before summer and at summer camps, and to seniors and other vulnerable persons. Chicago Park District, with the 5th Ward Office, is working to implement most of these.

Frances Canonizado of the Alliance for the Great Lakes said:
· Everyone needs to get together for better education,
· There is a funding problem, starting at the federal level (noting that the Beach Act doesn’t fund remediation), and
· It is urgent that action be taken to fix the problems—we should start green actions such as plantings, which have been shown to be effective.

Jackson Park Advisory Council
2nd Monday of Each Month
Jackson Park Fieldhouse
6402 S. Stony Island
Contact Ross Petersen, 773 486-0505

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Recent Actions of the HPKCC Board

January (2007)

Eli Ungar of Antheus Capital; Graham Grady of Bell, Boyd & Lloyd and David H. Gwinn of Studio Gang architects presented details and answered questions on the proposed 26 story high rise for the northwest corner of 56th and Cornell (see story on page 3).

Ossewaarde, Parks chair, was asked to discuss the proposed Olympics in Washington Park with the Parks committee. Board members (by raise of hands or proxy) interested in attending were Baum, Ciacci, Davis, Fedson, Freelain, Monberg, Ossewaarde, and Suchovsky. Withrow introduce a resolution concerning labor relations, endorsing unionization at Starbucks Coffee. The motion was not passed, 2-8 with 3 abstentions.

Differing views were expressed on how much of he next issue should focus on the Co-op. In the process, Davis and others suggested that we hold a workshop on what people really want by way of retail and development throughout the neighborhood. The Development Committee was directed to work up a proposal.

February

Ossewaarde discussed t he potential demolition of Giordano’s Pizza building, the former Eagle Pub and an “Orange” rated Chicago structure of “community significance.” He noted that Alderman Preckwinkle (4th) has attempted to negotiate with the owners to preserve the façade, with little success. Ossewaarde moved a letter to the Alderman thanking her for her efforts and encouraging her to continue to try to reach and acceptable resolution. Approved by 11 directors with 3 abstentions.

Rumsey reported that the City Council committee considering a proposed ordinance calling for background checks for representatives of companies providing services or utilities to residences, contacted us for opinions and has since held back the ordinance for revision. Rumsey reported he conveyed to the city the general support with the reservations expressed at the January board meeting, Members said we should ask to see the proposed final text.

Ammerman reported that Alderman Hairston’s office has been given a set of dates for condos governance seminar at South Shore Cultural Center. Rumsey said the Disabilities Task Force is compiling and analyzing team visits to area businesses and will set up another public meeting.

March

Fedson moved an environmental action committee. Members said such a committee should determine interests, focus, and one or more projects. Upon a second by Davis the committee was unanimously approved. The following expressed interest in serving on the committee: Fedson (who agreed to chair), Ciacci, Davis, Morse, and Suchovsky.
Ossewaarde discussed a letter on the Olympics in the area, sent by the Parks committee as discussed at the February meeting. The cover letter and detailed questions and concerns were sent to Mayor Daley and the Chicago 2016 Bid Committee, Park District CEO Timothy Mitchell, Aldermen Preckwinkle, Alderman Hairston, and the Jackson and Washington park councils.

April

Robert [Greenspoon], attorney and neighbor; Rebecca [Moore], neighbor, Gerald Salzman parking and traffic expert with Desman Associates; and Oscar Worrill submitted “Back to the Drawing Board,” a analysis of concerns about the proposed Windermere West development at 56th and Cornell. The document included a memorandum on Traffic and Parking Review and a complete draft of zoning amendment ordinance change requested by the developers. After presentation and question, the board placed the matter on the May agenda.

Steven Donald, of Local 12 UNITE HERE (representing hotel and hospitality workers) summarized his findings regarding Doctors Hospital and the almost certain operator of the University’s proposed hotel and conference center, White Lodgings, and his meeting with University vice president Hank Webber. Both general concerns and concerns about White’s labor record were cited.

The planned agenda for May will include Joshua Schwarz concerning Ancona School expansion* At the June meeting, Susan Campbell of the University is expected to discus results of a community retail survey.

Also in this issue: Mission, Membership form, Officers and Programs, 501© status, thanks to Hyde Park Bank, Aegis Properties, OnShore Communications, and Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

 

*The planned visit on Ancona School has been postponed until later in the summer--GMO, Editor

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