Archive for the ‘News/Announcements’ Category

Some quick notes to what will probably be our last newsletter of the year…

Community Development

Wilson L Project—Community Meetings on Public Space & Pedestrian Access Design

Back in 2012, GWNA conducted a community survey on the Wilson L Reconstruction project to learn what improvements people want included at the station and surrounding public space.  Five-hundred and twenty (520) people responded and we learned:

  • 89% of the respondents didn’t feel safe coming/leaving the station
  • 78% of the respondents wanted a secondary entrance/exit located by Target/Aldi
  • 80% of the respondents want the CTA and city to include the community in the design plan for the public space and pedestrian access

Phase 1 has begun and in early November, GWNA hosted a community meeting with block clubs, the CTA—Jeff Wilson and Alderman’s office—Tressa Feher, to start the discussion on best use for the public space and pedestrian access.  The Wilson L Reconstruction Project has the power to transform Uptown and this sketchy and unsafe area into a remarkable TOD (Transportation Oriented Design) with a thriving retail corridor, beautifully landscaped public plaza and great amenities like pop-up farmer’s markets.

You’re invited to participate, if interested, send your name and email to gwna13@gmail


Public Safety

Cold weather has done little to slow down the gangs, violence and drug dealing.

Murder on Wilson

On Tuesday, December 9, a little after 10 Am, a young man was shot in the head after completing maintenance on fire extinguishers at the Wilson Men’s Club.  He was an innocent victim who unfortunately was in the line of fire as the gang bangers attempted to shoot their intended victim who was sitting in a parked car a few feet away.  The victim died the next day from his head wounds.

4513 N Magnolia—CHA building with Drug Sales & Gang Problems

Neighbors are banding together to tackle another criminal housing problem in our neighborhood.

Several folks living by 4315 N Magnolia observed a stream of people, with their loud woo-woo calls, signaling drug dealers in unit E from early morning to late evening.   They reached out to other block club members, contacted the CHA security director, Kates Detective, who monitors other CHA properties and the alderman’s staff.  Steps are being taken to remove the gang/drug dealers.  We’ve started a very active 911 call tree as part of our public safety initiative. More information in our next newsletter on people coming together to take back our streets and neighborhood.

Please go to and read the comments posted to the article on the murder on Wilson. Excellent points on how the criminal housing keeps the gangs and violence right out our front doors.

One Uptown resident’s comments ring true, Uptown Girl makes pointed remarks which are a clear sign that Uptown residents have had enough…

“Criminal Housing. Criminal Housing. Criminal Housing. Where is the fricken State’s Attorney? We and the police all know the gang bangers who live here and instigate the shooting. We know their leaders. We know where they live and whose leases they violate.”

You can click the link to read the rest of Uptown Girl’s comments or copy and paste the link below.

Voters Gearing Up—Mayoral/Aldermanic Election is February 24, 2015

VOTE! Municipal elections are upcoming and that means we need to get out the vote. There are three candidates running for alderman of the 46th Ward. Be sure to read up on each candidate and make an informed decision when you enter the ballot box.

Beyond that, remind your neighbors and anyone else you know in the 46th Ward of the date and let’s get everyone out to vote!

Happy Holidays to you and yours from the GWNA Family!

And let’s all look forward to a healthy, prosperous and SAFE 2015!


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens

Can change the world.

Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.

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2012 was an eventful year in Uptown and our block club was busy with a number of projects to improve our community and make connections with neighbors, local businesses, the alderman and the City. We’re really proud of what we accomplished and have great plans for 2013.

The spring began with a membership ( “meet and greet” at the Driftwood on Montrose. We met many neighbors (and their dogs!) over a beer and learned about their concerns for the neighborhood. Public Safety remains a major issue and GWNA members are working with Alderman Cappleman, the Chicago Police, and property managers through the CAPS program to pinpoint and report crime when it occurs, keep an eye on problem buildings and attend court hearings when arrests are made and evictions are in the works. Hard work and persistence by GWNA members have resulted in a number of successful prosecutions of known troublemakers in our community.

Wilson L Station Reconstruction Project coming soon

The upcoming $213 million Wilson L station reconstruction project will dramatically change our neighborhood. Graceland Wilson Neighbors created an extensive survey ( to find out what Uptown residents wanted to see with regard to safety, convenience and amenities in and around the new station. More than 525 residents completed the survey (thank you!) which was presented to the CTA and the alderman in October.

The most important issue was safety, with a secure, well-lighted station surrounded by vibrant retail shops and restaurants at the top of most respondents’ lists. Safe, short access to the Wilson L platform via a Sunnyside entrance was another priority. Members of GWNA’s board also met with the local managers from both Target and Aldi who said they also support a safer, closer entrance to the Red Line station for their employees and shoppers.

The CTA hosted a community meeting at Truman College this fall where we found out that the CTA also favors an entrance on Sunnyside along with a refurbished entrance on the north corner of Wilson and Broadway. You can read more about the Wilson L Station amenities that could include a restaurant/coffee shop and international food mart and check out the renderings by visiting . We’ll also continue to participate in conversations with the Alderman and CTA and report on its progress on our website.

GWNA Efforts to Improve Public Safety

We’re especially proud of our GWNA member’s efforts to make our neighborhood a safe, great place to live. Thanks to our members who have worked very closely with Dana Fritz from the alderman’s office, we have identified three neighborhood residents whose behavior has been violent and destructive. Eviction proceedings were initiated. One tenant has moved, another scheduled to leave in January and the third tenant will be back on court this week. We’ll continue to focus on public safety and welcome new members with new ideas on how to make this happen. If you’re not already a GWNA member, check our membership form and details at ( .

GWNA 2012 Accomplishments

We’re going to toot our horn right now and recap all that we’ve accomplished in 2012. Hope you’ll join us soon and make 2013 an even more remarkable year.

* Created and presented the GWNA menu money survey for public improvements like streets, alleys, lights
* Designed, promoted, and presented the Wilson L Station Reconstruction Survey to CTA and alderman
* Met with Target & Aldi’s management to discuss Sunnyside L entrance
* Supported three key eviction cases in our neighborhood
* Requested new tree plantings on Sunnyside by Magnolia
* Hosted Clean & Green
* Hosted an ice cream social event in the fall, which will be moved to July in 2013.
* Hosted third annual Kids Halloween on the Sunnyside Mall
GWNA Looking Ahead to 2013—More Members, We need you!

Save the Date for GWNA Membership Event: We’ll be kicking off 2013 with a general meeting and get-together on January 17 at The Spot on Broadway. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors, find out what’s going on in Uptown and become a member of GWNA yourself. Watch this space ( for more details.

Join us for a our Membership Event!
The Spot
4437 N. Broadway
Thursday, January 17^th
6 to 8 pm

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Last  night, the CTA held an open house meeting at Truman College to unveil its initial plans regarding the planned renovations to the Wilson L station. If you missed it, a great write-up on the event can be found on Grid Chicago. You can also view the CTA’s page about the Wilson Station project.

The CTA is actively soliciting community feedback on this project, so now is the time to make your voice heard! In addition to sharing the results from the survey we conducted earlier this year, GWNA is encouraging area residents, students, and businesses to share their thoughts. You can do so by filling out this form and sending  it to the CTA in one of the following ways:

  • Mail to:
    Chicago Transit Authority
    Attn: Wilson Transfer Station Project
    567 W Lake Street
    Chicago, IL 60661-1465
  • Fax to:  312-681-3897
  • Email your comments to

Not sure what to write about? Based on the results of the neighborhood survey, and the reactions of the community and alderman at yesterday’s meeting, the GWNA hopes that comments will include:

  1. the Sunnyside entrance should be built and open for use by CTA customers;
  2. the Sunnyside entrance is necessary to serve CTA customers going to and from Target, Aldi, Truman College, Broadway businesses, and the residents living west and south of the Sunnyside entrance;
  3. safe, well-lit, inviting, and accessible direct pedestrian routes are needed from the Sunnyside entrance to Broadway, Montrose Avenue, Clifton Avenue, and Truman College;
  4. CTA property at, around, and leading to the Sunnyside entrance needs to be put to good retail or public use, including pedestrian plazas.

We encourage additional constructive comments beyond those four main points.  We need the same comments to go to the 46th Ward’s Alderman, James Cappleman, at and to Mayor Emanuel via  Mailed comments to the Alderman and the Mayor can be sent to their attention at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle Street, Chicago  60602.



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We’re hoping for next weekend and will keep you posted!

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Alderman Cappleman will host his evening office hours this coming Wednesday at Broncho Billy (weather permitting):

  • Broncho Billy Playlot—Magnolia, between Montrose & Sunnyside
  • Wednesday, August 15
  • 5 to 7 PM

If you’d like to personally speak with Cappleman, please stop by Broncho Billy Playlot on Wednesday.

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Bike Uptown logo(forwarded from Bike Uptown)

How do you Heal A Broken Intersection? Streets are undervalued public spaces that if programmed with creativity, can transform dangerous intersections into lively plazas. In Uptown, not everyone lives near a park, but everyone lives on a street.
Can you imagine reclaiming the intersection of Broadway, Montrose, and Sheridan (the intersection with the highest crash rate in the 46th Ward) to be a space with greenery, coffee stands, and hula hooping?
Bike Uptown has developed a draft rendering of the intersection that re-enlivens it to make way for people by improving safety and harnessing its potential as a gateway to Uptown. Our advisory group has been working with Alderman Cappleman, the Chicago Department of Transportation and other interested parties to make the space calmer, less confusing and as hazard-free as possible for all users.
The design presented is not final, but a suggestion to activate the discussion and get positive changes to the intersection of Broadway, Montrose, and Sheridan moving forward. We would like to get feedback from our fellow neighbors to see what they like and dislike about the redesign. What do you think?
Visit Bike Uptown’s post to see a diagram of a possible solution here.
(comments are closed to allow discussion to take place at

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Hope everyone is doing well during this spring/summer transition.  Here’s the latest from Graceland Wilson Neighbors Association:

Menu Money Survey Results for Neighborhood Improvements

Thanks to the 57 GWNA members who completed our GWNA Menu Money Survey and shared their suggestions for spending the $1.3 million allocated to each ward for our streets and alleys’ improvements.  To review the survey executive summary, please click here (PDF).

Residents were also asked to comment on the Sunnyside Mall with ideas on improving this public space (and people had a lot to say!). To see everyone’s ideas and comments on Sunnyside Mall, please click here (PDF).

Chris Korn, GWNA President, and Carolyn Lewis, Vice President, met with Alderman Cappleman and his staff to present the survey findings. Here is a summary of what we learned:

  • Some of the changes are happening now.  The alley between Malden/Magnolia has already been stripped of asphalt.
  • The Sunnyside Mall will not be getting running water due to costs and its the responsibility of the residents based on how it was designated when it was created.  The Alderman suggested that we could meet with a rep from the Water District to discuss collecting rain water via rain barrels and creating retention ponds in the mall.
  • The alley between Clifton and Racine is not scheduled to be resurfaced at this time and when it is, it will likely not be using brick pavers due to costs.
  • Lighting: The city is getting away from light poles with 2 lights (one over the road and one over the sidewalk). The ones over the sidewalk break too often.  We were told that it is the responsibility of the neighbors to light the sidewalk.
  • A few days ago, I saw the guys turn on the water at Broncho Billy and they said the city is going to implement timing devices on all of their water features city wide with a 15 minute/15 minute off cycle.  The buttons that you push to turn on water features are too expensive to be repaired and they are frequently breaking.

Gay Pride Parade Route begins at Montrose & Broadway—Sunday, June 24

The 43rd Annual Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade will have a new parade route with the starting point stepping off from Broadway & Montrose at noon on Sunday, June 24.  GWNA neighborhood will include the staging area with floating lining up at 8 a.m. along both sides of Montrose from Broadway west to Clark St, and marchers along both sides of Broadway from Wilson to Montrose. We are in contact with the alderman’s office and various city departments to ensure our neighborhood ends up safe and clean and that parade visitors respectfully enjoy our neighborhood.

Residents should be prepared for huge crowds at the Wilson El Station and throughout the neighborhood. Plan on severe traffic disruptions.  Street parking along Montrose and Broadway will be banned, And through traffic will likely be closed. Please plan ahead. More information from GWNA will be sent closer to the parade date.

Wilson El Station Reconstruction Survey—We want to hear from you!

If you haven’t heard, the Wilson El Station will be undergoing a massive reconstruction project thanks to $135 million from various sources. The initial planning and survey work has already begun. This reconstruction will be the single most important project in shaping our community’s future. For those of us who have endured the Wilson El Station’s current conditions—we look forward to sharing our ideas on the project.

We’re asking you to take just a couple minutes and answer the survey questions now.

Please click here to take the Wilson El Station survey now!

Our intention is to collect the comments and ideas from a broad range of people who do or would use the Wilson El Station and present these findings to The Alderman and the CTA.  We believe this information will be essential for making public transportation a safe and welcoming gateway to Uptown.  After you take the survey, we encourage you to please forward it to others.

Coming Soon

  • More details on the Gay & Lesbian Pride Parade, June 24
  • Next Meeting: We’re currently planning one for mid-July (currently looking at 7/16 @7PM, but Date/Time/Location TBA officially in the next newsletter)
  • Home Safety
  • GWNA Summer Events

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A lot of stuff flying around these days, but wanted to get a quick post on the GWNA board elections and a menu money survey.

We’ve also got a meet and greet and a clean and green (and, quite possibly, other rhyming events, if our thesaurus behaves).

GWNA Elections

Graceland-Wilson Neighbors Association elected a new board at the March 8 meeting.  We’re proud to introduce our new board members:

  • Chris Korn—President
  • Carolyn Lewis—Vice President I (Liaison to Truman College)
  • Katharine Boyda—Vice President II (Communications & Public Relations)
  • Max Reising—Treasurer
  • Vacant—Secretary

Committee Chairs:

  • Julie Emerick—Community Gardens
  • Dean Winn—Wilson El Station Renovation & Transportation
  • Pat Reuter—Communications & Public Relations
  • Julianne Scherer—Parks & Public Spaces
  • Vacant—Crime & Community Safety

Survey:  What to do with the Alderman’s Menu Money?

Every year, each alderman receives $1.3 million to spend on ward infrastructure projects.  Alderman Cappleman  has asked for block clubs’ input on what their neighborhoods want. Money can be spent on items such as:

  • Street lights
  • Alley resurfacing and lights
  • Street improvements such as sewer improvements, curb cuts, pedestrian markings

Please let GWNA and our alderman know what you think; take the survey now:

It’ll only take 5 minutes to complete and your input will be invaluable.  Also, please forward it on to your neighbors.

This survey will help the alderman prioritize what projects will be completed in 2012.  Results will be tallied and shared with the alderman and GWNA members in early May.


Meet your Neighbors at Driftwood: Thursday, April 19th at 6:30PM

Our next gathering will be a fun social event on Thursday, April 19:

WHEN: Thursday, April 19, 6:30 to 8:30 PM
WHERE:  Driftwood; 1021 W Montrose

Please come out to say “hello” — and also invite your neighbors!

Clean & Green, Saturday, April 21st at 9:00AM

Time to pretty-up the ‘hood.  Join folks throughout the city to make an immediate difference in the Uptown by volunteering your time and effort to help beautify, clean up and improve the neighborhood.

Susan Ridihalgh will be heading up the festivities and will be handing supplies out in Sunnyside Mall on or around 9AM.  Please come by and lend a hand!

Look forward to seeing everyone; thanks!

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Last time we checked in it was Halloween. Time has clearly flown.

But, now we’re getting things back on track and want to invite you to a couple important upcoming events.  Block clubs are a pretty powerful way to give normal folks a voice in their community’s future — so please join with your neighbors who are already working on some important community issues and projects (that can enact some wonderful changes in our ‘hood).

So without further adieu, here you go; pencil ’em in:

46 Ward Town Hall Meeting on Transportation on February 22

Please join Alderman Cappleman for the first 2012 Town Hall Meeting, with a focus on transportation.

The agenda will cover:

  • Wilson El Station Renovation
  • Improving intersection safety
  • Making 46th Ward better for biking

WHEN: Wednesday, February 22 from 6 to 8 PM

WHERE: Truman College Cafeteria—1145 W Wilson

Graceland Wilson Neighbors General Meeting & Board Elections on March 8 at 7PM

You’re invited to participate in the Graceland Wilson Neighbors general meeting & board elections. The following people have expressed an interest in serving on the board. If you’re interested in serving on the board and have been a GWNA member for at least six months, please send your name and bit of background on your area of interest to Max Reising, All residents living within the GWNA boundaries (Montrose to Wilson, Malden to Broadway) are welcome.

Potential Board for Elections:

  • Chris Korn, President
  • Carolyn Lewis, VP-1 (Truman College)
  • Katharine Boyda, VP-2 (Communications & PR)
  • Max Reising, Treasurer
  • Secretary, Open

Committee Chairs also serve as board members:

  • Julie Emerick, Community Gardens
  • Dean Winn, Transportation & Wilson El Station Renovation
  • Pat Reuter, Communications & PR
  • Aleasa Green, Family & Kids
  • Public Parks & Spaces, Open
  • Public Safety, Open

NOTE: We’re also looking for someone slightly tech-savvy to help run the blog and newsletter (it pretty much runs on its own via hosted WordPress and Mailchimp, so anyone who even barely knows what those two things are is qualified). If you’re interested, please email

WHEN: Thursday, March 8 from 7:00—8:15PM

WHERE (updated 3/3/12): Brightview Nursing Home, First Floor Dining Room, 4538 N. Beacon St.

See you there!

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Just a reminder that the Sheridan Park Yard sale is tomorrow, Saturday August 6th from 9AM to 3PM.

There are over 40 buildings ready to sell their wares within the boundaries of Montrose/Lawrence and Racine/Dover.  Come out, stroll the neighborhood and see if anything strikes your fancy.

Maps should be available at all the individual yard sale locations.  Enjoy!

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