Gladstone Park community group sets Aug. 18 meeting


The Friends of Gladstone Park will discuss whether the group should become a registered nonprofit organization at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 18.

The meeting, which will be held at 7 p.m. Aug. 18 in the auditorium at Hitch School, 5625 N. McVicker Ave., will be the group’s first meeting since last summer. In the past year the group has communicated with residents through its Facebook page and e-mail messages.

"We want to make sure that there is enough interest to do this and to meet more regularly," Joe DiCiaula, who helped found the group last year, said. "It can’t just be done with one or two people. There are costs involved. Are people willing to pay (membership) fees?"

DiCiaula said that more than 300 people attended the group’s meeting last summer and that the concerns expressed by residents were heard by city officials. "We’ve proven that our voice can be heard," he said.

Many of the people at the meeting opposed a proposal to reduce the number of traffic lanes on Milwaukee Avenue from two to one in each direction to allow the installation of protected bike lanes along the curb between Central Avenue and Elston Avenue. The road project is being constructed this summer without the protected bike lanes and lane reductions.

Residents also heard from a representative of the Fair Allocation in Runways, and in the past year many elected officials have endorsed the goals of the organization, which is seeking reduce the effects of jet noise, DiCiaula said.

The coalition will provide an update at the meeting, DiCiaula said. The group also will discuss the planned express bus service between the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal and the Golf Mill Shopping Center in Niles and actions being taken by the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce.

DiCiaula said that he hopes that the Friends of Gladstone Park will encourage residents to become engaged in their neighborhood and that the group has been publicizing community events.

The possibility of forming a garden club to help maintain the landscaped refuge islands and bump-outs for pedestrians that the city is installing on Milwaukee Avenue has been discussed on the group’s Facebook page, DiCiaula said. The islands are intended to provide a safe waiting area for pedestrians crossing the street.