Jeff Park group revises bylaws, extends boundaries into Gladstone Park


The Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association at its Sept. 30 meeting overwhelmingly approved new bylaws which clarify the organization’s mission and which expand the group’s membership area into Gladstone Park.

The new bylaws will help the association operate more efficiently and “allow it to grow as an organization,” association vice president Brian Wardman, who wrote the first draft of the new bylaws, said.

The bylaws call for the association to promote a safe and clean neighborhood and for it to serve as a community liaison to elected officials and as a watchdog over those officials. They also state that the group should foster social activities, promote civil community discussion, participate in land-use planning and support a mix of residential, commercial and institutional uses in a balanced urban setting.

The new bylaws also clarify how the association’s platforms can be changed, Wardman said. The board is now required to survey the membership every 3 years about whether amendments should be made to the platforms, with a two-thirds vote of the membership required for changes.

In 2007 the association adopted platform statements which oppose upzoning but support downzoning, call for the dissolution of the Jefferson Park Tax Increment Financing District and support laws that limit government’s use of eminent domain.

The bylaws also call for an expanded membership area because some residents have expressed an interest in joining the association but are reluctant to do so because they live outside the boundaries, Wardman said. The association allows anyone to join, but it grants voting privileges only to those residents who live within its area.
The association’s boundaries were Montrose Avenue on the south, the Edens Expressway on the east, Austin Avenue on the west and Foster Avenue on the north, with an additional area between Central Avenue on the west, Foster on the south, Ardmore Avenue on the north and the Metra railroad tracks on the east.

The new boundaries are Nagle/Narragansett Avenue on the west, Ardmore on the north, Montrose on the south and the Edens on the east, excluding Forest Glen. The new boundaries take in much of Gladstone Park, where five of the group’s 188 members.

The association’s boundaries would overlap with the membership boundaries being considered by the new Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association, which has not formally organized and which is not a registered nonprofit organization.

Wardman said that the board would be open to having a discussion on boundaries with organizers of the Gladstone Park group but that it is not unusual for boundaries to overlap and that residents can choose to join more than one neighborhood association.

Several years ago the Portage Park Neighborhood Association extended its northern boundary from Montrose Avenue to Lawrence Avenue into Jefferson Park despite the fact that an established association already was in place, Wardman said.

Planning for the new boundaries began in March, before the Gladstone Park group started holding regular meetings, Wardman said.

The bylaws also prohibit the release of membership lists for uses not related to association business. Annual dues are $15, with a $5 discount for seniors.