Dining patio sought by Heritage Center


A dining patio for the Fifth Province Pub in the Irish-American Heritage Center and a hearing on a proposed mosque near Elston and Lawrence avenues were discussed at the Sept. 8 meeting of the Mayfair Civic Association.

The center, 4626 N. Knox Ave., is seeking a license to allow it to serve liquor and food on the patio, which would be placed on a fenced-in section of its parking lot. The patio would be open Friday and Saturday evenings from around June 1 to mid-October, according to center volunteer Peggy Murphy.

Music would not be played on the patio, and the only additional lighting would be battery-operated lanterns on the tables, Murphy said. Initially it would have six tables to accommodate up to 28 patrons, but additional tables may be added later, she said.

The nonprofit center, which is in the former Mayfair School, features a library, a museum and a theater. The association holds its membership meetings at the center.

Association members also discussed a proposal to open a mosque in a former industrial building at 4846 N. Elston Ave. The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to hold a hearing on the proposal during the 2 p.m. session of its meeting on Friday, Sept. 16, in the Council Chamber at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.

The triangular building is bordered on all three sides by alleys, with no direct access to a street. "There is no setback," resident Lisa Stringer said at the meeting. "You step out and you’re in an alley. This is not the right location for this."

Association officers said that attempts to work with the organizers of the mosque to find a better location have been unsuccessful. "It’s not like there aren’t other empty buildings in Mayfair," association president Ron Duplack said.

Association Zoning Committee chairman Chris Lambesis said that the association’s opposition to the project is based on safety, traffic and noise concerns. "We’re a neighborhood of many different races and religions, and we like that," Lambesis said.

Residents who live adjacent to the site have hired a zoning attorney to represent them at the hearing. The zoning board would have to approve a special use permit for the mosque.

It also was announced that the association is working on a petition drive calling for the city to buy a triangular parcel bounded by Kedvale, Kasson and Wilson avenues for the purpose of creating a park. Other parks in the area either are too small or require children to cross a busy street, according to the petition.

The property, which is occupied by a house, is for sale. Duplack said that Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) has been exploring funding options for the project but that the asking price is too high.

It also was reported that the association’s Web site has been updated and that membership dues can be paid online, The annual fee is $10 per household and $6 for seniors. The site can be reached at www.mayfaircivic.org.