Jul 14

July 17th: Special UVNA meeting about St. John’s church redevelopment

The UVNA asked Victor Drapszo, from Red Architects, to give a presentation on the changes planned at St. John’s church located at Walton and Hoyne.

The project is expected to have a variety of 2 and 3 bedroom units, and each of the buildings will have three floors with 10 units per building. The Landmarks Commission approved the plans, but a permit is needed from Alderman Fioretti’s office to begin construction. Tim Stevens, chief of staff from Alderman Fioretti’s office, was at the July 17th meeting and stated that no letter of support for the plans has been issued from the Alderman’s office yet. He also stated that the office wanted to get an idea of how the community felt about the project before proceeding.

The Church building

In the front of the building (Hoyne side), the façade and stained glass will be restored to their original state. The damaged stairs will be fixed, and new railings will be installed. On the side of the building (Walton side), the façade will be preserved, and the window shapes will remain the same. The stained glass on that side will be removed and either sold or reused elsewhere in the project.

The School building

The school building will also have the façade and windows restored, along with the front door (which will be decorative only). The glass blocks on the lower floor will be opened up into more traditional windows, and the molding around the windows will be restored. New entrances will be added on both sides. There will be an addition in the back, where the roof will be raised 10 feet. The addition will not be visible from the street per the terms of the Landmarks Commission.


Both buildings will have parking. There will be room for 10 cars in the church (accessed through one main garage door), 8 in the school (4 two-car garages off the alley), and 2 in outdoor spaces on the property (between the two buildings). The developers are proposing that cars use the back alleyway to enter and exit the parking areas.


Many residents were concerned about the alley proposal. They believe the alley is too small to handle that kind of traffic (20 extra cars), that the extra traffic will damage their property, and that it is a more dangerous option, due to the sight lines exiting the alley. Victor replied that there will be a large garage door to exit from, so vehicles will have a wide turning radius. He also mentioned that the last plan, which had a curb cut onto Hoyne so cars could exit out the front of the building, had some concerns about sight lines coming out. In addition, the Landmarks Commission would prefer the design with the alley. They did not want to approve the curb cut on Hoyne, but left it up to the neighbors to decide if they were ok with the curb cut or not. Previous UVNA membership meetings and surveys showed neighbors were unhappy with a curb cut on Hoyne and preferred an alley exit for cars.

UVNA Requests

The UVNA is requesting additional protection for the alley, including mirrors, signage, and additional lighting be placed in the alley for the plan to move forward.

The UVNA has requested regular grounds maintenance for the duration of the project. Victor confirms that the contractor has been made aware of the need to move the red pickup truck near the site (currently parked on Hoyne), to trim the bushes and mow the grass around the property, and to secure all openings into the property.

Ongoing questions

1) Has an environmental study has been completed yet?

2) Does the building have insurance?

3) Why is the work taking place at odd hours, and who do we contact about the work crews? (The contractor will identify a main contact person for neighbors)

4) When will streets and the alley need to be shut down? (Currently they do not have the permit to begin work, so there is no timeline to share)

– Special thanks to Victor Drapszo, Tim Stevens, Leigh Kelsey, Kim Jackewicz, Patrick Danaher, Samantha Arnold, Paul Matwyshyn, George Matwyshyn, Harriet Siller and Steve Niketopoulos

Please stay tuned for more updates on www.uvna.org

Jul 14

Urgent Meeting this Thursday night about development changes to the old St. Johns church and school building (Hoyne/Walton)

Please join the UVNA and Victor Drapszo from Red Architects for a discussion about the redevelopment plans for the old St. Johns church property (located at the corner of Walton and Hoyne).

This happens Thursday night July 17th at 7:30pm. We will be meeting outside of the old church at the corner of Walton/Hoyne to talk about what work is being done, what changes have been made to the last plan we saw in early spring, and what neighbors can expect to see change in the neighborhood because of this development.

Neighbors who share an alley with the old church should especially make a point of attending the meeting.

The plans that were most recently submitted to the city are attached below:

913-925 N_ HOYNE-SCHOOL (1)

931-925 N HOYNE-CHURCH set


May 14

UVNA April 2014 Meeting Notes

Thursday February 20th, 2014 – 6:30pm – Helen School Cafeteria

Officers and UVNA Board Members in attendance:

  • President: Paul Matwyshyn 
  • Treasurer: Harriet Siller 
  • Secretary: Samantha Arnold 
  • Board Members: George Matwyshyn
Historic Homes and Historic Preservation
Keith Goad, a Vintage and Historic Property Broker (Prudential Rubloff) gave a presentation on listing, buying, and maintaining a historic property. He is an active member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, Preservation Chicago, and Landmark Illinois, so he brought a lot of background and experience to the discussion.
  • We had a lot of questions and discussions about historic districts and their requirements for historic properties, as well as the guidelines for maintenance, and how to work with Landmarks to make updates to your own property.
  • We also talked about economic incentives for the repair and rehabilitation of historic buildings at the local and national level

Keith writes a blog about vintage property, that covers buying, selling, as well as historic preservation issues, and maintenance issues like foundations and windows.  It’s called Do You Speak Vintage? and can be found here.

UVNA Officer Elections
We conducted an election for new officers for 2014 and the following individuals were elected:
  • Steve Niketopoulos – President
  • Leigh Kelsey – Vice President
  • Kim Jackewicz – Secretary
  • Lily Steele – Treasurer

The date for the next meeting will be announced soon!

Mar 14

UVNA March 2014 Meeting Notes

Thursday March 20th, 2014 – 6:30pm – St. Helen School Cafeteria

Officers and UVNA Board Members in attendance:

  • President:  Paul Matwyshyn
  • Treasurer: Harriet Siller
  • Secretary: Samantha Arnold
  • Board Members: George Matwyshyn


Discussion of Possible Historic District Expansion

In light of the recent demolition of the New Hope Bible Church on Leavitt street, and the purchase of the Hoyne Avenue Weslyan Church by a developer (see this link for a further discussion of these properties in our February Meeting Notes)  we started a discussion with our members and Alderman Fioretti from the 2nd Ward, and his Chief of Staff Tim Stevens,  at this month’s meeting about the status of the current historic district. We dicussed properties included and excluded from the district, as well as how we could best go about protecting the building stock of our neighborhood that is not within the boundaries of the Ukrainian Village Historic District.

We reviewed the areas that are currently outside the historic district boundaries as well as some of the churches that are excluded and determined that if we would like to propose another extension to the historic district, that we should start with a small management geographic area.  Based on this, we decided to start with the properties along Augusta Avenue between Western and Damen that are currently outside the existing boundaries of the historic district. This area includes the St. Helen school and church on the south side of the street, as well as St. Stephen King of Hungary Roman Catholic Church near Augusta and Damen.

We need to survey residents/building owners along this stretch of Augusta as the Alderman has suggested that we would need approximately a 50% or higher approval of the property owners within the proposed extension boundaries in order to move forward with proposing the extension to the Chicago Landmarks Commission.

  • Steve Niketopolous volunteered to talk to residents along Augusta between Hoyne and Damen Avenue
  • Samantha Arnold and Paul Matwyshyn will talk to residents along Augusta between Leavitt and Hoyne
  • Harriet Siller will talk to St. Helen’s Parish and St. Helen School between Western and Augusta

We will report back our findings at the April Membership Meeting.

Downzoning of Property at 1137 N. Leavitt Street

Alderman Fioretti, who was also in attendance at our meeting, proposed that his office downzone the now vacant property at 1137 N. Leavitt, formerly the New Hop Bible Church, as a method to insure that the developer will need to meet with the neighborhood association to review his plans and zoning requests before construction begins.
Discussion of possible Expansion of  the boundaries of the neighborhood association

There has been some discussion among some members and some potential new members about expanding the boundaries of the neighborhood association to match that of the officially declared neighborhood which goes south of Chicago Avenue to Superior Street, as originally declared by Mayor Byrne in 1983.    If there is sufficient interest from residents in that area, we could put the issue before the board.  However, there is also a survey circulating to residents beteween Chicago, Grand, Damen, and Western, about the interest in a neighborhood association to serve the entire area as well.  The survey can be found here. 

Chicago Architecture Foundation Open House – October 2014

The CAF has expressed an interest in including the Ukrainian Village Historic District in it’s fall Open House.  The board members will be meeting with CAF and will bring more information to the April meeting.

Clean & Green Events

Many wards, including the 2nd ward, are hosting Clean & Green neighborhood clean-ups on April 26th.  Contact the 1st or 2nd ward offices for details on events or to coordinate a clean-up event on your block or in your neighborhood.

Mar 14

UVNA February 2014 Meeting Notes

Thursday February 20th, 2014 – 6:30pm – St. Helen School Cafeteria

Officers and UVNA Board Members in attendance:

  • President:  Paul Matwyshyn
  • Treasurer: Harriet Siller
  • Secretary: Samantha Arnold
  • Board Members: George Matwyshyn
Updates on status of neighborhood churches


St. John’s Lutheran Church (913-925 N. Hoyne)
Nothing further has happened with this development since the UVNA agreed to the curb cuts and zoning change requested by the developer.  The 2nd ward alderman’s office has no updates and has not spoken to the developer since the last discussions in late 2013.  UVNA will try to contact the developer for an update


New Hope Bible Church (1137 N. Leavitt)
A demolition permit was issued for this property 0n 2/13/2014.  This church was built in 1894 as the First Evangelical Lutheran Church, though the architect is unknown.  It was not listed/identified in the Chicago Historic Resources Survey ,  not orange rated (meaning a property that possess some architectural feature or historical association that makes it potentially significant in the context of the surrounding community). It was not  considered for inclusion in the original historic district –  sounds like there was little interest to include it at the time, and the congregation may not have been interested either.  According to Chicago Landmarks , all of these things mean that they have no means to stop the demolition.  (thanks the 32nd Ward office for providing more info on this property)


Hoyne  Avenue Wesleyan Church (2108 W. Iowa St)
This church was sold on 12/2/2013 to an LLC .  This church is also not orange rated and was not originally considered for inclusion in the historic district. As of this meeting, no permits have been requested for this property. (thanks the 32nd Ward office for providing more info on this property)

It appears that neither one of these churches could be added to the district on their own,  like St. John’s church was, as  St. John’s was part of the  historic context of Ukrainian Village.  While the historic district is rather tightly framed as residential,  St. John’s  congregation played a very active role in the historic residential development of Ukrainian Village.  That history helped link St. Johns to the residential context of the village two years ago.

These recent sales have raised concerns by many neighbors about other churches that may not be landmarked and how we can protect them from demolition.  Based on some very preliminary research, it appears that the best route to preserve existing structures not already within the boundaries of the Ukrainian Village Historic District, might be to request another extension to the district that combines parcels that currently exist outside the boundaries.  Churches that may be outside the boundaries at this time include:

  • St. Helen Parish (2315 W. Augusta Blvd)
  • St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral (2250 W. Cortez St)
  • Saints Volodymyr & Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church (2245 W. Superior)
  • St. Stephen King of Hungary Church (2015 W. Augusta Blvd)

In order to start this process we will need to, among other things, review property in the neighborhood and make a proposal to Chicago Landmarks.  We will follow up on this at the next meeting. Neighbors interested in assisting with this effort should contact the UVNA at info@uvna.org.


Eddie Winters – Democratic Candidate for State Representative

Eddie Winters is seeking to become the Democratic nominee for State Representative in the 10th district. The primary election will be held March 18th, 2014.  He stopped by our meeting to meet with neighbors in our area.   You might remember him from his 4-month term as representative when he replaced the expelled Derrick Smith.  More info can be found on his website here.

UVNA Officer Elections

Elections for new officers (President, VP, Treasurer, Secretary) will take place at the April 2014 meeting.  In order to run for office you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a current member of UVNA (dues paid by the March 2014 meeting)
  • Be part of a slate – meaning that in the election members will vote on proposed slates of 4 officers
    • one member may only be on 1 slate
    • slates consist of president, VP, treasurer, secretary

Board members and committees are appointed or approved by the officers.

You can join online on our membership page or bring cash to the March 2014 meeting.   If  you have any questions about membership, send an email to info@ unva.org.