Park improvements, streetscaping, murals among items on Alderman Nugent’s 39th Ward ‘PB’ ballot; community voting starts Feb. 1
by BRIAN NADIG
Twenty-two proposed infrastructure projects for the Edgebrook, Sauganash, Forest Glen, Mayfair and Peterson Park area will be vying for $500,000 worth of 39th Ward discretionary funds as part of a community vote that will held Feb. 1-12.
The proposals include baseball diamond improvements for Sauganash Park, neighborhood identifier signage in South Edgebrook and streetscape improvements along West Devon Avenue in Downtown Edgebrook.
Any ward resident age 14 and older is eligible to vote as part of the participatory budgeting process, which allows residents to decide how to spend a portion of the ward’s annual allocation of $1.32 million in discretionary funds. All of the funds must be used for infrastructure improvements, and each ward gets the same amount.
Alderman Samantha Nugent reserves most of the funds not allocated for the PB process for side-street resurfacing and emergency repairs. The total cost of the PB proposals is about $1.293 million, so many of them will not get funded in 2021, but in some instances other funding sources can be found for a project.
The proposals on the ballot were recommended by a committee of community volunteers. About 20 percent of the city’s 50 wards use the PB process.
Pre-registration for the vote is available at www.aldermannugent.com. Those who are unable to vote online are asked to contact the ward’s office at 773-736-5594.
The following 22 budget items are on the ballot:
Four trash cans in Forest Glen – $12,000. The sites would be determined by a community poll, subject to approval by the city Department of Streets and Sanitation.
Two trash cans at Peterson School – $6,000. The Peterson School Local School Council would have input in the location.
Two trash cans at west end of the Northside College Prep Riverwalk – $6,000.
Two bus stop benches near Pulaski Road and Argyle Street – $6,000. The benches would accommodate commuters who are carrying bags from a nearby grocery store.
Two bus stop benches near the community entrance at North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski Road.
Beautification in Edgebrook on Devon -$25,000. Residents, business owners and visitors would benefit from the beautification of the streetscape along this stretch of Downtown Edgebrook, which needs attention after a lengthy construction project, according to organizers of the proposed project.
Two bus stop benches at Peterson and Rogers avenues – $6,000. Senior citizens and students at nearby schools would benefit from this proposal, according to organizers.
Community Identifiers for South Edgebrook at the intersections of Central and Leonard avenues and Austin and Elston avenues -$120,000.
Mural Installation at 39th Ward Schools and viaduct at Peterson and Keeler avenues-$153,900. This would consist of a ward-wide project for five new murals on Chicago Public Schools elementary campuses and two new murals at the viaduct for Northtown Academy and Northeastern Illinois University.The five elementary school campuses would be Solomon, Palmer, Peterson, Belding and Volta.
Two benches and two planters in North Park on West Bryn Mawr Avenue -$32,000.
Solomon School playground improvements, including natural play equipment and outdoor classroom uses – $70,000.
North Park Village Nature Center renovation – $30,000. The Lobby and Discovery Room were originally built 105 years ago, and it was converted to a nature center 40 years ago. This project would repurpose the ash wood from fallen trees for walls in the lobby, remove old cabinets and fixtures in the Discovery Room, allow room for updated nature displays, and improve the overall setting for nature education. A donor has provided $30,000 matching grant.
Sauganash Park Baseball Diamond Improvements – $140,000. Frequent flooding even after moderate rain, overgrown weeds, and small holes have become all too common in recent years, causing frequent cancellation of games, according to project organizers. The baseball league that plays at Sauganash Park is one of the five largest leagues in Chicago, and the park hosts camps during the summer months.
Eugene Field Park outdoor fitness equipment – $50,000. A gym membership would not be required for use of the equipment.
Little Gompers path improvements — $110,000. Sinking pathways have led to frequent flooding that cuts off access to this natural public space. Menu funds would be used toward an engineering study of the pathway sinking problem and the study and construction of an accessible path leading from the parking lot.
Bike lanes and traffic calming on Bryn Mawr between Kedzie Avenue and the start of the Valley Line Trail – $175,000. Marked, buffered bike lanes would increase overall safety for all, according to project representatives.
Repaving of the 4800 block of Bryn Mawr and 6100 block of North Knox Avenue – each block at $50,000 (separate projects). These bocks have extensive potholes, cracks and loose gravel.
Child-safe crossing at the intersection of Kolmar and Carmen avenues – $15,000. It would consist of the installation of a round-a-bout to slow down traffic, helping to keep children safe while crossing to and from the North Mayfair Playlot Park.
Left-turn lane at the intersection of Pulaski Road and Devon Avenue – $100,000.
Left turns at this intersection are difficult and dangerous due to speeding cars and limited visibility, according to project advocates.. Long lines of cars trying to turn left can wait through 3-4 cycles before making it through the intersection, they said.
Bumpouts at the intersection of Peterson and Keating avenues -$30,000.
Many families use this intersection to travel to and from Sauganash School, and the street’s width and traffic’s speed make crossing here dangerous, especially with cars zooming by in the outside lanes, and the bumpouts would shorten the distance for pedestrians crossing the street, according to project advocates.
Improved pedestrian crossing and traffic calming at the intersection of Foster and Avers avenues – $100,000. Due to the bridge’s geometry to the east of the intersection and the width of the roadway, vehicles often speed through this intersection and do not yield to pedestrians, despite it being adjacent to Eugene Field Park, a major pedestrian generator, project supporters said. Providing additional pavement markings, signage and other improvements would encourage drivers to look out for pedestrians and stop when pedestrians attempt to cross Foster, they said.