Gladstone Park group to bring holiday decorations to Milwaukee-Elston


Plans for holiday decorations at Chopin Plaza and the role of an express bus service in revitalizing the area’s commercial corridor were discussed at the Dec. 1 meeting of the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association.

The association is spearheading an effort to install holiday lights and 4-foot-wide wreaths at the triangular-shaped traffic island at Milwaukee and Elton avenues. In 2014 the City Council approved an ordinance naming the island after Polish composer Frederic Chopin.

Association member John Garrido said that several businesses have donated materials for the project and that the association is working with Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) to gain access to a power outlet on the city-owned island. He said that a converter may be required because the voltage of the outlet does not match what is needed for the lights.

Member Richie Betts said that lights should be installed by the second week of December and that battery packs will be used for the lights if needed.

Remnants of holiday lights that the Gladstone Park Commerce of Commerce installed on the island a decade ago still remain, Garrido said. The island includes a brick pavement, benches, flagpoles, bushes and trees.

Also at the meeting, member Joe DiCiaula reported that the planned Pulse express bus stops along Milwaukee at Central Avenue, Ardmore Avenue and Haft Street could attract more stores to the Gladstone Park business district. He said that the goal would be “to develop a cohesive neighborhood around them.”

The association was a cosponsor of a recent workshop in which the chamber and city Department of Planning and Development solicited community input on land uses along Milwaukee between Foster Avenue and Devon Avenue. “This is long-range planning in the area,” DiCiaula said.

At the workshop, a Pace official gave an update on the project, which calls for service with limited stops on Milwaukee from the Jefferson Park CTA Terminal to the Golf Mill shopping center in Niles. The Pulse route is scheduled to start in 2017 after the construction of 60-foot-long bus stops with shelters, electronic message boards and raised platforms to facilitate the boarding of passengers, and the Pulse buses will offer Wifi and charging stations for cell phones.

It also was reported that several of the recommendations for the 45th Ward participatory budget process call for improvements in the Gladstone Park area, including enhancements to the campus park at Hitch School, 5625 N. McVicker Ave. Several members urged residents to support local projects when a community vote on how to spend the ward’s discretionary funds is held next May.

Alderman John Arena is one of eight aldermen who hold a community vote to determine how to spend most of their ward’s annual allocation of $1.32 million of discretionary funds, which are intended for street resurfacing and other infrastructure improvements.

The association, which began meeting on a regular basis this year, plans to hold a vote on its proposed bylaws at its next meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26, at the Rosedale Park fieldhouse, 6312 W. Rosedale Ave.

Plans call for $5 annual membership dues, and any resident or business can join, but only those members who live within the association’s membership boundaries would have voting privileges. Other neighborhood associations in the area have a similar policy.

The boundaries would be Devon/North Branch of the Chicago River on the north, Nagle Avenue on the west, Central Avenue on the east and Northwest Highway on the south (between Nagle and Central).

The proposed bylaws call for the initial board of directors to include DiCiaula as president, Garrido as vice president, Michelle Kerr as treasurer and Betts and Paula Petrucci as directors.