Brochure highlights attractions in area


Commuters at the Jefferson Park CTA terminal got an early look at a new Northwest Side tourism brochure which will be available for free at O’Hare Airport and Midway Airport and at the tourism center in the Chicago Cultural Center.

Members of the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce and the Jefferson Park Advisory Council distributed 500 of the booklets to commuters on Dec. 17. Between 75,000 and 100,000 copies of the 32-page brochure will be printed, but an initial printing of 500 was funded by the Rabb Family Foundation in what could become a monthly campaign in which local merchants greet commuters.

"We gave all 500 books away in less than 90 minutes," Mark Kestnbaum of Omicron Technologies said. "We got a lot of positive feedback from commuters and restaurants."

Gale Street Inn owner George Karzas said that the some commuters said that they did not want a brochure because they live out of the area. "That’s the challenge," Karzas said. "That’s why we want them to have this brochure. The idea is to have them walk across the street (to area businesses)."

The "Explore Chicago’s Northwest Corridor" brochure features descriptions of area restaurants, theaters, coffee houses, art studios and summer festivals and its accessibility via public transportation. Alderman John Arena (45th) and his wife, Jill, developed the concept for the brochure, and it was co-sponsored by the Six Corners Association and the Jefferson Park, Portage Park, Greater Avondale and Gladstone Park chambers of commerce.

"Chicago’s Northwest Corridor is known as the land of single-family bungalows, cultural landmarks and hidden gems," the brochure’s introduction states. "These neighborhoods shine as a source of pride for all who know them, not just as a gateway to the city, but as home to the talented people who make Chicago work."

Arena said that after hearing people say that the area lacks good restaurants, entertainment venues and stores, he made a list of amenities on the Northwest Side and was impressed by what by what the area has to offer. "There are 150 businesses at Six Corners, and many of them are good restaurants," he said.

The brochure cost $18,000, which is being paid for by advertising. It is intended to remind area residents to shop and eat locally and to reach out to the thousands of tourists who visit Chicago, Arena said.

Six Corners Association executive director Ed Bannon said that plans are being made to take workers in the hospitality industry on a tour of the area’s cultural attractions and to have them sample local restaurants. Bannon said that about 20,000 of the books will be distributed to area homes.