Roula Alakiotou was born in Greece, came to Chicago as an architecture student, and has lived on Sheridan Road since 1972. As a young mother she saw the need for children to pursue outside activities on the east side of Sheridan Road. She also wished to stop the canyonization of Sheridan Road, which prevents access to the lakefront. Alderman Volini directed her to the Edgewater Community Council where Roula’s nine year journey began. It included working with other community groups and politicians. It culminated in a beautiful park which includes the last two remaining mansions on the north lakefront with coach houses, a wonderful café, and beautiful green spaces.
The north mansion was renamed the North Lakeside Cultural Center which offers myriad community programs and provided accommodation to many small theatre groups. The effort to save these historic mansions at Granville and Sheridan for public use was not an easy one, but Roula could envision the end result. Berger Park has become one of the treasures of the Edgewater community.
“It’s being able to bring people out and give them something
to be happy about whether it’s an outdoor café, some
waterfalls, or a green space for sitting”
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