ECC celebrates 50 Years
In January 2010 the Edgewater Community Council kicked off its celebration of 50 years of service in Edgewater with a luncheon honoring the Edgewater Community Religious Association, (ECRA) at the Edgewater Historical Society Museum. The honored guests represented the community leaders whose efforts led to the founding of ECC in 1960.
Leading the program was EHS President Robert Remer, who is also a past president of ECC. He reminded the group about the community efforts to get the City of Chicago to open a library in Edgewater and how much effort this took on behalf of the volunteers to prove the need for a facility. Now the facility is overcrowded and few can remember what effort it took to get the current building built.
Marion Volini, co-leader of the ECC 50th Anniversary Committee and a past president of ECC, spoke about the vision of ECC at the beginning and the support and encouragement that came from the religious leaders in the community. Other committee members and past presidents also made presentations about the various initiatives and programs developed in the community by the Edgewater Community Council.
In a slide program, Ken Brucks pointed out the housing initiatives of the late 1970s and early 1980s along Kenmore and Winthrop, which came to be known as Operation Winthrop Kenmore and which resulted in 5,200 housing units being rehabbed and available for limited income residents.
Other community initiatives under the direction of ECC included the rehab of the Broadway Armory and the eventual sale of the building to the Chicago Park District to provide the only Park facility building in Edgewater. ECC also lead the way in preservation of the last open land on the lakefront with the saving of the two mansions north of Granville and the dedication of Berger Park. Since Edgewater has so little park land, ECC joined with ONE to see further beautification and improved design at Senn park.
Some of the other programs run by ECC include the After School Arts program and the Program for Bosnian refugees. ECC and the religious leaders initiated a food panty called Care For Real in the 1960s, when so many in the community were in need. This program continues to this day, under the direction of Tom Robb, with help from hundreds of community members. Reggie Griffin, current ECC president, served for years as the chairman of Care For Real
Another initiative that is brand new for ECC is developing the services for the Senior Center at the Broadway Armory.
For the 50th Anniversary, ECC has been working on a cookbook with recipes from people all over the community. Barb Sloan and Rae Ann Cecrle have been leading that project with Lynn Pierce doing the editing.
Another initiative has been to get the neighborhood organizations and religious organizations to write a brief history of their activities in the community. EHS president Bob Remer has been heading up that project.
ECRA was represented by Sister Mary Jeanne Hayes, from St Ita’s parish, and Peter Buttitta, pastoral associate at St. Gertrude’s. Many religious organizations were represented and many expressed interest in learning more about ECC’s history.
The event was hosted by EHS president Robert Remer, who ordered a fabulous lunch from Charlie’s Ale House. Following the presentations, ECRA members opened a discussion of what new initiative could be taken in the Edgewater community. The attitude of all was “what more can we do?”