Chamber seeks to buy parcel
by BRIAN NADIG
The Edison Park Chamber of Commerce is seeking to purchase a 6,200-square-foot parcel at 6739 N. Northwest Hwy. in order to guarantee that the property will continue to be used as a free community parking lot.
The chamber has leased the property from the Chicago Board of Education since 1997, but last year the board decided to sell some of its surplus properties, which include the 25-space parking lot at the northeast corner of Oshkosh Avenue and Northwest Highway and several former grammar school buildings. The parking lot is next to Edison Park, 6755 N. Northwest Hwy., where the fieldhouse was once a school.
Chamber executive director Melissa McIntyre-Panizzi said that the loss of the parking lot would hurt the commercial district, where several restaurants offer valet parking. “The lot is constantly filled,” McIntyre-Panizzi said. “There are customers that don’t want to valet their car.”
Many park patrons use the chamber lot because the park has no parking lot, McIntyre-Panizzi said. The chamber does not charge motorists to park in the lot, but it limits parking to 2 hours until 6 p.m., with overnight parking banned.
Valet services are prohibited from using the Northwest Highway lot, but they are allowed to lease parking spaces between 5 p.m. and midnight in the chamber’s 16-space parking lot at 6718 N. Oliphant Ave. The chamber purchased the Oliphant property in 2003.
McIntyre-Panizzi said that the chamber submitted its sealed bid for the Northwest Highway property by the May 15 deadline and that the result of the bidding could be announced within a few weeks. The chamber has secured a potential loan from First Nations Bank to pay for the property.
McIntyre-Panizzi said that the chamber hopes that in choosing a buyer the school board will take into consideration that the chamber has been a good tenant and that it has made significant improvements to the land, including installing a wrought iron fence.