From the President

Vol. VIII No. 2 - FALL 1997

By: Kathy Gemperle

The warm days of fall are gone now and Lake Michigan continues to rise. For our September 21, 1997 Annual Home Tour in the Edgewater North area, we had the most wonderful day! We are thankful for the great weather and the support we received from so many people in the community.

We are especially grateful to Rev. John Hudson for opening the Granville Avenue United Methodist Church for the day and allowing us to operate our sign-in desk in front of the church. Thanks also to St. Gertrude Church for the use of their social hall for our pre-tour dinner. The whole project could not have happened without the network of neighbors in the area and the special assistance of Annette Schroeder.

In turned out to be a kind of “artistic tour,” since there were several artists participating as well as some great artworks to see. With so many life-styles and types of housing “on show,” it really demonstrated the joys of living in the city. Added to the fun was a great financial “bottom line” thanks to over 240 attendees, our biggest turn-out yet, and the loyal supporters who advertised in our wonderful tour booklet.

This was particularly gratifying, considering the heart-stopping phone call I received from our printer three days prior to the tour, informing me that all of our booklets had been destroyed in a big fire at the bindery the night before. Talk about panic! But our printer, Fast Track, held true to its name. They went into high gear and, remarkably, managed to deliver 500 new copies by noon on Saturday.

Special thanks to Thomas Greene of Greene and Proppe Design for his beautiful drawings for the tour booklet and homeowners and to Jim Anderson for the production of the book. Thanks to all our terrific tour guides, many of whom joined in for the first time this year and, of course, the participating homeowners.

The event was made even more enjoyable by the donation of 10 pounds of cookies from the Swedish Bakery. It was interesting to note the number of visitors who recognized the bakery as they walked up to the refreshment table.

A special added attraction this year was a drawing for the $50 gift certificate donated by Beth Tarrant of Anna Held Flower Shop and Fountain Cafe, which is located in the Edgewater Beach Apartments building. The winner was chosen after the event because of our need to be sure all the entrants in the drawing were qualified (paid EHS members). We are happy to announce the winner as Carl Helbig.

Lucky winners of the joint NLCC and EHS benefit raffle held on September 21 were: 1st prize - Irmgard Rosenberger, 2nd prize - Pat Meade, 3rd prize - Cy Peiser. Both organizations would like to thank all those who bought raffle tickets for their generous support of our efforts in the community.

It was disappointing that the guest speaker for our October 18 General Meeting did not make an appearance. Many were interested in learning more about stained glass design and restoration and we hope we can reschedule sometime in the future when our Museum is opened.

Our Museum project is still on track, even though it has been fraught with delays caused, primarily, by the City of Chicago. Our complete construction package was delivered to the Department of Housing on April 15, 1997. It was forwarded to various places for approval on May 19, according to our project coordinator at the department. By mid-June we had heard nothing and began calling more frequently.

Around July 10, we were told by the Department of Housing that the photographs sent to the State of Illinois were too dark and the environmental review could not take place without better photos. We did not submit photos with the project package and do not know who took the “too dark” photos. We then gathered and sent in over ten photos of the building, marking the location where the photographer stood for each on a floor plan of the building. This was done by July 16.

It took another month for the State of Illinois to complete its review and return its findings to the City of Chicago, who finally released the project so we could put it out for bids. Although we had hoped to get bids from some local small contractors, we soon discovered, after two weeks, that requirements of paper work for the job were too demanding for all four of our bidders.

We then sought out some larger companies to see if they were willing to bid on the project. By the middle of October, we had two bids that we opened, only to find that they were way beyond the scope of our budget. Compounding our problems was the return of cold weather and the elimination of any chance to do the exterior masonry and roof work at this time.

We returned to the Department of Housing, seeking the opportunity to submit a more limited project description that we could afford. We are now in the process of creating that description, which will be forwarded to the Department this month. We do not have to go through the bidding process again, so we are hoping to get some action on this soon.

As EHS awaits the beginning of construction on our Museum, we have been noticing considerable activity all around the community. By Edgewater Hospital, the building at the corner of Rosehill and Ashland is being demolished, to be replaced by a parking lot. Other projects in the Rosehill area are progressing as well. The new townhouses are occupied and the loft development rehab is moving along.

In another corner of the community, two buildings at Broadway, just north of Rosemont, were demolished after fire destroyed part of one or both earlier this year. It was an historic site of sorts, as some of the early film-making in the area was done in a second floor loft in one of the buildings.

Edgewater is finally seeing some evidence of improvements long promised for our neighborhood public schools. Hayt School, on Granville, is already enjoying its beautiful addition. The Swift School addition is now underway in the playground area just south of the original building. The Peirce School addition is just a year away. These new buildings will offer neighborhood children and teachers better workspace in order to improve instruction.

These schools have been overcrowded for years, because no more space had been added to the buildings since their construction in the teens. In the meantime, many homes and flat buildings were replaced by four-plus-ones, dense apartments and highrises, sharply increasing the influx of school children entering the system. Congratulations to all those active community members who have pressured the Board of Education to make improvements here!