Group provides resources to residents





by BRIAN NADIG

The Historic Chicago Bungalow Association provides free resources for owners of vintage homes.

Association executive director Mary Ellen Guest said that one of the association’s most popular programs is its referral list of contractors who have experience remodeling and repairing bungalows. "You want someone who knows the type of issues with older homes in Chicago," Guest said.

Guest was the speaker at the Feb. 16 meeting of Jefferson Park Forward at Smokey’s Barbeque and Grill, 5481 N. Northwest Hwy. Formed in late 2015, the community organization has 139 paid members, including 15 businesses.

The referral list consists of contractors who the association’s members have recommended based on their experiences with the company. The list is available at www.chicagobungalow.org.

The association also offers energy saver grants for homes that undergo insulation upgrades and gives awards to owners who show creativity in the rehabilitation of the interior or exterior of their home. Membership in the association is free for home owners.

The association was formed in 2000 to encourage the preservation of bungalows and other types of older homes. "There are 80,000 bungalows in the city" Guest said. "They were the first homes built for the emerging middle class."

Members of the group also discussed problems with its private Facebook group, which requires followers to request permission to join. Attempts initially were made limit the group, which has 750 followers, to residents of its membership area, but that became difficult to monitor, group president Ryan Richter said.

Richter said that discussions on the page had become "a bit unwieldy" due to disagreements about the proposed mixed-income housing and storage warehouse development at 5150 N. Northwest Hwy. "Monitoring Facebook has become a full-time job with this proposal," he said.

Richter said that two people were removed from the Facebook group for posting inappropriate comments and others were given warnings. He said that rules for commenting on the Facebook page recently were posted on the page.

Several members said that the page provides residents the opportunity to interact with each other and that they would volunteer their time to monitor the page. The group’s board of directors has been monitoring the page.

Jefferson Park Forward also has a public Facebook page which is open to anyone, and attempts are being made to post more details about its events there, Richter said.

The other community group in the area, the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association, had a similar problem with its private Facebook page in 2015. Several former members of the association formed Jefferson Park Forward.

The group plans to participate in the "Park(ing) Day" initiative that will be held nationally on Friday, Sept. 15. The event calls for transforming metered parking spaces into urban open spaces for public use.

Group board member Dennis Davis said that members plan to sit on lawn chairs in a metered space and wave to passers-by. "It’s basically a way of promoting a walk-able, bike-able community," Davis said.

The group’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 16, at Fannie’s Bakery, 5044 W. Montrose Ave.

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