Outdoor festival in the works for Gladstone Park commercial area in June as Throwback Music Fest set for September; input sought on redevelopment of bank lot at Milwaukee & Medina avenues
by BRIAN NADIG
A new outdoor festival, the potential redevelopment of a bank parking lot at Milwaukee and Medina avenues, and legislative updates from U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (D-5) were discussed at the Feb. 10 meeting of the Gladstone Park Neighborhood Association.
With a working title of “Jeep Jamboree,” the two-day event on June 25-26 would be held in the large vehicle storage lot for Marino Chrysler Jeep Dodge in the 5300 block of North Milwaukee Avenue. No street closures are planned, as the festival grounds would be contained within the lot.
Festival organizer John Garrido, who also is the association vice president, said that the festival would raise funds for several charities, including the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation and WINGS, a domestic violence prevention organization. The Garrido Stray Rescue Foundation and the 16th (Jefferson Park) District Community Policing Office also would participate, he said.
The event, which is in its initial planning stages, would be in addition to the “Throwback Music Fest” that the association helps sponsors along with the Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce. This annual street festival, which is held in the 6000 block of Milwaukee, is scheduled for the second weekend of September
The jamboree would include live music, food, a variety of family activities and a Jeep show, said Garrido, who also has organized the “Rock The Badges” festival, which over the years has raised $100,000 for police and firefighter charities.
Plans call for the “Badges” festival to be “retired,” so efforts can focus on the jamboree, Garrido said. That festival has been held at several locations, including the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave., and at the Six Corners commercial district.
In other news, the association and chamber are conducting an online survey to gather community feedback on what residents and merchants would like to see at the 27,000-square-foot parcel, currently an underutilized parking lot, that Chase Bank is selling. Chase is building at new branch next to its current facility, 5813 N. Milwaukee, which will be demolished after the new bank facility opens.
“We decided to be proactive and get in front of it. … We want a seat at the table,” Garrido said of the site’s redevelopment. “Usually the first time we get involved is when the alderman brings a project to us.”
Under the site’s B3-1 zoning a variety of retail, office and restaurant uses are allowed, with up to 10 residential units on the upper floors. A residential project likely would require an upzoning.
Association president Joe DiCiaula announced that the former Elston Avenue United Methodist Church building at 5850 N. Elston Ave. has been sold to another church. A condominium project had been proposed for the site.
DiCiaula also reported that a new convenience store, which would sell liquor, is planning to open at 5789 N. Milwaukee Ave., where previous occupants were 7-Eleven and White Hen Pantry.
Also at the meeting, Quigley reported that his staff has met with the Chicago Police Department in an effort to identify crime-fighting resources, such as police helicopters, that the federal government could fund.
He also said that the Chicago is receiving $4 billion in discretionary funds for transportation-related infrastructure improvements, such as bike trails and ADA compliance and that a similar amount is going toward Metra, CTA and PACE.
On the postal delivery, he said, “there’s a lot of problems,” but new legislation “demands a lot of transparency” and helps make the agency “financially solvent.” The U.S. Postal Service under the law has to “put out there .. what routes aren’t happening.”
Quigley said that it’s not unusual for as many as 80 routes in the city to go undelivered due to staffing shortages.
Quigley is a sponsor of the Big Cat Public Safety Act, which he said would include a ban “roadside zoos,” where a visitor may be able to hold a baby tiger. “When the tiger gets too big, they kill it or turn it loose,” he said.
About 20 people attended the association’s meeting, which was held at the Kolping Center, 5826 N. Elston Ave.
Editor’s note: Publisher Brian Nadig serves on the board of the Gladstone Park Chamber.