Wednesday, July 18, 2012
We're the midst of the worst drought since the 1950s, and Lake Michigan is 8 inches lower than last year and dropping. Do you water?
Growing up in the west, dry summers are nothing new. Rain falls in the fall, winter and spring, and summers are warm and dry. Some winters you don't get the snow in the mountains, and by July the reservoirs are low and water restrictions are in place. But in this part of the country, the majority of the rain is supposed to fall in the spring, summer and fall in the form of thunderstorms. Not so much this year. It's dry. It's been 76 days since the last rainfall of 1.5 inches. But you don't need statistics to know it's dry. Just look at local lawns. Or most of them, at any rate. For the most part this summer, I've gone with as little watering as possible. A couple days week I'll hit the flowers and shrubs with a good soaking. In the days …
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The group may have been small, but the thoughts and ideas they expressed is proof there are good new ideas for how Evergreen Park can evolve.
A couple of weeks ago at the Patch community forum on what to do with the Plaza site, I wondered aloud what it might be like if someday we lived in a world where small, locally owned businesses forced the Walmarts and other big-box retailers out of business. I didn't conceive it as an applause line or anything. I really believe a world like that would be a place we'd all enjoy living. I also think that day is coming, inevitably, as large-scale retail operations collapse under the weight of their massive supply lines and rising costs. There was some agreement among the people at the forum, and I like to think that for a second we all imagined the Walmart bulldozed and turned into a park across 95th Street from a town center housing local …
At our open forum discussing the proposed redevelopment of The Plaza Shopping Center, resident Tim Moran talked about the unique opportunity that the intersection of 95th Street and Western Avenue presents.
As residents dreamt aloud about the future of The Plaza Shopping Center's redevelopment, resident Joe Moran, who grew up in Evergreen Park, pointed out what "unique opportunity" the location presents for villagers and developers. "Ninety-fifth and Western is uniquely situated,” said Moran, since the intersection is served by both the CTA and Pace bus systems and is the gateway to both Chicago and Evergreen Park. The property presents the opportunity for a true destination, he said. Moran reminisced about a bustling Evergreen Plaza that helicoptered Santa Claus into the mall and as a place where people went "accomplish a variety of goals." Watch our video and join the conversation. Check back with Patch for continuing coverage of the ideas …
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
It's one of the best events of the year; how did you celebrate?
Returning from the Evergreen Park village fireworks show, it was refreshing to walk into a cool, dry house. It was a hot one out there. I have a quick poll question for you all this week, but first a note of thanks to everyone who came out for our Community Forum to discuss redevelopment at the Plaza. Thanks also to Patch Editor Renita Young and the rest of the Patch crew for hosting and Jacob's Well Church Community for use of their space. I'll be typing up notes my wife Kimberly took at the meeting, as well as the bits I scribbled. We'll give the finished document to village officials at the next board meeting. Now, on to the poll question: For me it was a tossup between the village animal control truck dressed as a giant dog - complete …
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Patch's Community Forum on the Plaza re-development is this Thursday. Where will you be?
There used to be – and maybe there still is – an old signboard ad for The Plaza on a building near the 99th Street Metra station in Beverly. It reads "the plaza IS the place. 95th & WESTERN." The sign is old and the boards are buckling in places. It obviously harks back to an earlier time when the Plaza was The Place. When I saw it, it reminded me of those faded mural ads for long-gone stores that you see on buildings in Chicago. Like the Boston Store "ghost sign" on the north façade of the 1 North Dearborn building (which, in fact, used to be the Boston Store). They are reminders of times gone by, happier times for some. While they last, the faded signs are also reminders that times change, and often there is no going back to the way …
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Not able to make it to our forum on The Plaza in-person? Join the conversation online and participate in our live blog. Sign up for your reminder.
We're gearing up for our second community forum that will focus exclusively on The Plaza Shopping Center and the ideas you have for developing the space. The building is currently under contract to be sold, and since the deal has not technically been made, we want to hear your suggestions. As our Evergreen Parker columnist Chris Clair says, "All ideas are welcome." We will be live blogging the event via CoverItLive if you can't make it in-person. Evergreen Park Patch editor Renita Young will be happy to field your questions and comments to the crowd. Sign up for your reminder today so you can join the conversation. Like Evergreen Park Patch on Facebook and tell your friends about our forum.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The Evergreen Parker wants to hear what you think should go in the block-long empty space along 87th Street east of Troy Street
Here's a tough one – the empty lot along the south side of 87th Street between Troy Street and Albany Avenue. There are a lot of uses around this lot, which makes figuring out a single use more difficult. On the surface, it seems to make sense to build – this will shock regular readers – a mixed-use development. To the west across Troy Street is an apartment building. Across 87th Street is a school. To the south are single-family homes. To the west are a giant strip shopping center with a grocery store on the northwest corner of 87th and Kedzie, a little strip mall carved out of the cemetery on the southwest corner of 87th and Kedzie, and a little tobacco shop that is totally out of context by itself on the southeast corner. This is an …
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
The goal of Patch's forum is to generate ideas for the property to give to the village board, so the community is on record as having some preferences.
It doesn't matter whether you think the old Evergreen Plaza mall should be bulldozed and turned into a town center, rebuilt as an indoor amusement park or made into a strip mall, we want to hear from you on June 28. That's when Patch is sponsoring a community forum to discuss the Plaza property, the proposed plan to build a strip mall there, and other options. The meeting takes place at 7 p.m. at Jacob's Well Church Community, 3450 W. Maple St. in Evergreen Park. Regular readers of this column know I favor a town center-style development to replace the old mall, not another strip center. I hope to use my time at the forum to make the case for a town center and show some examples of other dead regional malls that have been successfully …
Thursday, June 7, 2012
This week's question from The Evergreen Parker is "To strip mall or not to strip mall?" Join the conversation and meet us at our next forum on June 28 discussing The Plaza.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Sooner or later every type of development has to weather a downturn. Strip malls can look particularly ragged. Is that what we want for The Plaza?
If you drive west out Illinois Highway 38, near where Geneva and St. Charles meet, you'll find an empty parcel of land, just east of Randall Road. Weeds poke through where the asphalt has cracked. The land has been scraped, save for a couple of outlot stores that are now empty, too. It's just sitting there. It looks horrible. It used to be the 294,000-square-foot St. Charles Mall. The mall opened in 1979 and was fairly successful until another mall opened across town. By 1996 the last tenant had closed at the mall. The structure was torn down. Since then, local officials have been trying to figure out what to do with it. Meanwhile, it's an eyesore of a parking lot, a flat, broken monument to a one-dimensional mode of development with no …