Peterson-Cicero plans mulled
by BRIAN NADIG
Development projects near Peterson and Cicero avenues and concerns about car break-ins were discussed at the May 16 meeting of the Sauganash Community Association.
Alderman Margaret Laurino (39th) reported that a construction permit was recently issued for the expansion of the parking lot for Whole Foods, 6020 N. Cicero Ave. The expansion is taking place on a neighboring parcel that Whole Foods acquired after a decade-old plan to build a six-story condominium building there that never materialized.
The parking lot will include a shelter and power outlets to accommodate community events including farmers’ markets. Installation of a traffic signal is being considered for the north end of the lot.
Laurino also reported that a plan is in the works to tear down the "concrete fence" in front of a professional office building at 4801 W. Peterson Ave. to make the first floor more conducive for retail uses.
Also at the meeting, a resident raised concerns that a planned Dunkin’ Donuts at 4102 W. Peterson Ave. would be open 24 hours a day. She said that it could encourage late-night loitering in the area.
Saugansh School principal Christine Munns reported that the installation of a new artificial playing surface at the school is scheduled to start in late June.
Munns also reported that one of the school’s strengths is its diversity. She said that students speak 43 different languages and that 30 percent come from low-income families.
"We have a nice mix of students. They all look out for each other," Munns said.
Also speaking at the meting was Taft principal Mark Grishaber. He said that close to 90 percent of the school’s enrollment comes from families which live within Taft’s attendance boundaries, representing a significant change from 25 years ago.
"Long gone are the days when you’d be saying ‘I’ll work three jobs before my kids go to that school,’" Grishaber said.
17th (Albany Park) Police District commander Elias Voulgaris said that the district receives the fewest calls for service from the Sauganash area. He asked residents to send e-mail on crime-related concerns to him at email@example.com.
"If you call 311 or 911, please feel free to follow up with me," Voulgaris said, "Feedback is the most important thing for me."
A group of officers at the meeting warned residents to lock their car doors and keep valuables out of sight. They said that easy access via Peterson Avenue to the Edens Expressway attracts thieves.
39th Ward Democratic Committeeman and Forest Glen resident Robert Murphy described the role of a committeeman, whose position is nonpaying. Murphy said that there are 80 Democratic committeemen in Cook County, including one for each ward in the city, and that they slate candidates and help get out the vote in their communities.
39th Ward Republican Deputy Committeeman Barry Bebart said that as the minority party in the county, one of the roles of a Republican committeeman is to make sure that elected officials are responsive to the concerns of all residents. Edgebrook resident Matt Podgorski serves as the ward’s Republican committeeman.
In other matters, association president David Seglin said that one of the organization’s main functions is to pay for side street snowplowing when there is 4 or more inches of snow. Seglin added that the association holds an annual Fourth of July parade and picnic and last year donated more than $14,000 to schools and charitable groups.