Mar 15

Upcoming 2nd Ward debate, March 24th starting at 7pm

You are invited! The UVNA is co-sponsoring the upcoming 2nd Ward debate on March 24th between Alyx Pattison and Brian Hopkins.

Two of the best political writers in the city will be moderating. Greg Hinz , Political editor for Crain’s Chicago Business, and Hal Dardick, City Hall reporter at Chicago Tribune.

This time our moderators and candidates will have the freedom to go into detail with open questions and responses. Candidates will even be allowed to ask each other direct questions.

This event is co-sponsored by the East Village Association, and the Wicker Park Committee. Special thanks to Principal Oleksy and Columbus Elementary for the use of their auditorium.

To submit questions for this debate, please contact us at president@uvna.org

When: 7pm on Tuesday, March 24th (exactly two weeks before the special runoff election on April 7th).
Where: Columbus Elementary School Auditorium (1003 N. Leavitt St.)
Parking is provided in the school lot across from the entrance.
Please enter the building on the west.


Nov 14

UVNA November Meeting, Monday the 24th

This Monday night, November 24th from 7pm to 8pm. To be held in the basement meeting room at St. Helen’s church (2347 W Augusta Blvd. The entrance is on Augusta at the bottom of the steps near the statue. A sign will be posted).

The Topics:
– We will discuss the request for a liquor license and zoning change for the tavern located at 2125 W. Division St. Matt Eisler will be on hand to discuss his plans in detail for the tavern, which was discussed at the last meeting but not voted on. After his presentation we will be discussing and voting on whether to support the plan for this restored tavern (to be located in the first floor of the white building shown on the attached photo).
More on this plan can be found here: http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20141010/wicker-park/queen-mary-boutique-cocktail-bar-planned-for-tavern-empty-since-1975#

– The Butterfly mural plan is set. We will also be talking about ideas for raising funds to repaint the walls of Western park and recruit volunteers for the week long effort in Spring 2015.

– We will hold a review of the UVNA and what role we play in the community. We would like to have a discussion of the best things Ukrainian Village has to offer and how the UVNA can help in highlighting them. This will include a series of ideas already set for group discussion, but will also be open to new ideas as well.

We hope everyone can stop by, and we want to give a special thank you to Marianne Johnson and St. Helen’s School for letting us use this space for our meeting.

Additional Note: UVNA meetings are now usually held on Thursday’s, but due to the Holiday we are holding this special meeting on a Monday. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Oct 14

Next UVNA meeting: Thursday October 9th at Innjoy Pub, starting at 7pm

The next meeting of the UVNA Membership will feature:

– Updates on the Western Park butterfly mural project with artist Tony Sparrow

– The upcoming Open House Chicago architectural tour synopsis and updates

– A question and answer session with Jess Loren (organizer of the Chicago Christmas Crawl) and David Coleman (head of security for the Chicago Christmas Crawl)

– A presentation from Matthew Eisler on his tavern restoration project at 2125 W Division

Please make sure you are there by 7pm, InnJoy is also featuring ½ Price Boneless Wings, ½ Priced Pitchers, $6 Stoli Flavors and $5 Fireball Shots.

Aug 14

A history of St. John’s church, the community vote and what to expect


Below is a summary of what was discussed at the recent UVNA meeting in regards to the redevelopment of the old St. John’s church and school building at the corner of Hoyne and Walton.

St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church
It was built between 1905 and 1906 by German immigrants and Worthmann & Steinbach, a Chicago-based architectural firm. The congregation and school trace their history back to 1867 (Chicago itself was founded in 1833 and incorporated in 1837). In the case of St. John’s they dissolved in 1974 and sold the property to the Seventh-day Adventists. They started a Spanish-speaking congregation in the church and used the school as a social service center. Then, as with the congregation before them, their congregation moved from the area and they decided to sell the property.

By 2002, when it was known as the Central Hispanic Church, engineers report significant structural movement. Places the floor had separated from the walls. In 2005, the interior was stripped bare, with all of the pews and other furnishings removed. In 2009, a city water main broke and the basement was flooded before it was discovered and stopped. Since then vandals have also ripped out the building’s plumbing and wiring, causing extensive damage in the process.

In 2012 the property was listed for $2.6 million: “the Church will be offered via sealed-bid auction with a minimum bid set at $1 million”. Alex Troyanovsky bought the former Saint John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in February of 2013 for around $1.1 million. That same month the building were designated a historical landmark by the city, thanks to the efforts of Alderman Waguespack.

In the 2 years since there have been proposals for redevelopment that were eventually not supported by the Landmarks Commission and in some cases not supported by neighbors. In July 2014, Landmarks approved the newest plans for redevelopment, leading to an outdoor meeting of the UVNA to discuss the plans with the new project architect Victor Drapszo of Red Architects.

The current plan is expected to have a variety of 2 and 3 bedroom units, and each of the buildings will have three floors with a possible 10 units per building.

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.

Parking: 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.
Some residents at our July meeting were concerned about the alley proposal for garage traffic. They believe the alley is too small to handle that kind of traffic (20 extra cars). In addition, the Landmarks Commission would prefer the design with the alley. They did not want to approve the curb cut and added traffic onto Hoyne, Previous UVNA membership meetings and surveys showed neighbors were unhappy with a curb cut and preferred an alley exit for cars.

In July the UVNA had 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 had also requested regular grounds maintenance for the duration of the project (trim the bushes and mow the grass around the property, and to secure all openings into the property).

Property: By August the grounds had been cleaned up, and the architect wrote us that “we can provide additional safety elements like additional lighting and mirrors on intersection of Walton Street and alley, for the safety of pedestrians and one way traffic on Walton St. For the school garage, we will move the parking stalls as far as possible into the building so it will give more space for turns.”
Also neighbors wanted more accountability on work taking place at odd hours. Igor with MBI construction is the main contact, just reach out to Steve Niketopoulos at president@unva.org if you need help with any issues.

Regarding construction, all that has been done is interior demolition. As of the August meeting they did not have the permit to begin work on the outside, so there is no timeline to share. What we do know is they hope to have the School building ready for sales next Fall (2015), and already have a name for the new project, calling this “The Belfry”. The Church building should be ready for sales a few months after the School building.

Community Vote: At the August UVNA Membership meeting we discussed all the above points. The vote for the Church redevelopment was 20-3 in favor. The vote for UVNA membership was 11-1 in favor, while neighbors who were not current members voted 9-2 in favor. We made sure to let all neighbors who attended to have a say in this process as this has been something in development for years.

Many neighbors believed it was more important to see this property refurbished and lived in than remain vacant and not maintained. We plan on adding any new information about construction timelines to our mailing list and Facebook page as soon as we receive them. We have contacted the 2nd Ward to let Alderman Fioretti know we support these current plans.

Thank you to everyone for being an engaged community, through the efforts of many neighbors this building will remain a fixture in Ukrainian Village.

* Full plans for the development are available here: http://www.uvna.org/2014/07/urgent-meeting-this-thursday-night-about-development-changes-to-the-old-st-johns-church-building-and-school-hoynewalton/

Aug 14

UVNA Membership meeting this Thursday August 14th

(photo credit Elaine Coorens)

When and Where: Neighbors are invited to attend the UVNA Membership meeting. It starts at 7pm at Whisk in their back patio (weather permitting). Whisk is located at 2018 West Chicago Ave, in the space formerly occupied by Chickpea. In an effort to highlight local businesses, we have been hosting our membership meetings at different locations. This will be our first meeting at Whisk

What will be discussed: Thursday night we will be taking a membership vote on the final condo development plans for the old St. John’s church at Walton and Hoyne. This plan has been picking up steam in the last few months, and this vote will show our support or lack of support for the project.
More on this issue can be found here: http://oururbantimes.com/preservation/ukrainian-village-association-vote-current-development-plans-former-st-john-evangelical
Additional updates will be given at the meeting to bring neighbors up to speed.

Also we will be giving updates on street safety projects, upcoming festivals, area development and park projects. We will need a lot of feedback on which future projects you want UVNA to focus on, so please consider attending and sharing your ideas. Also, we will be highlighting details for our September social event.

Whisk will have a lot of options for dinner as well. Have a look – http://whiskchicago.com/menu/dinner-menu

Hope to see you there,
The UVNA officers