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May 3, 2012

Development Proposal for Cortland/Western
Meet Your New Park Supervisor!
Beat 1434 CAPS Meeting Recap
Don't Be a Burglary Victim!

Bloomingdale Trail Community Meeting 
Street Cleaning 101

Development Proposal for Cortland/Western

IMAGE: Rendering for Cortland/Western

A community meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, May 17at 6:30 pm at the 1st Ward Office (2058B N. Western) to discuss proposed zoning changes for the large lot at the corner of Cortland and Western. Currently, this property is a “split zoning district” comprised of both RS-3 and RT-4 zoning districts, and the developer is asking the Alderman to amend it to a uniform RT-4 district.

The proposal as it now stands includes 15 residential units and 2 commercial spaces – click here to see the developer’s renderings. The WBNA Zoning Committee is supportive of this proposal — particularly the inclusion of commercial space to help energize business and foot traffic around the Blue Line El stop. Ultimately though, the Zoning Committee is here to support the community, so if you live in the area and would like to weigh in on this project and its impact on the neighborhood, please plan to attend this important meeting and let your voice be heard!

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Meet Your New Park Supervisor!

IMAGE: Samantha JayneIf you've spent any time lately at Maplewood Park, you may have noticed a new face gracing the field house. Please join us in extending a warm West Bucktown welcome to Samantha Jayne, our new park supervisor!  

Samantha is an 11-year veteran of the Chicago Park District — most recently, she was working her magic at Horner Park in the Irving Park neighborhood. 

With summer fast approaching, Samantha has wasted no time settling in at Maplewood, where she will be joined by two seasonal employees next month to manage our Summer Camp programs for kids ages 18 months to 6 years. (FYI, only a handful of camp spots are left — click here to register today!) Looking ahead, she has some pretty big plans for our park, including a morning preschool program and afternoon classes for 6- to 12-year-olds. She's also planning to add sports classes, such as T-ball and soccer.
Samantha would love the chance to meet West Bucktown residents and hear firsthand what kinds of programs and classes we're interested in seeing at Maplewood in the future. So next time you're at the park with the kids, please stop by the field house and say hello!

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Beat 1434 CAPS Meeting Recap

IMAGE: CAPS LogoIn West Bucktown, Beat 1434 covers the area east of Rockwell, while Beat 1421 covers the area west of Rockwell.
The 14th District Police Department held its scheduled Beat 1434 CAPS meeting on April 18. Though relatively uneventful compared to some previous meetings, we are nonetheless grateful to the West Bucktown volunteer who attended and captured the following highlights for us:
  • Spanish Disciple graffiti was recently discovered -- and promptly removed – near Holstein Park.
  • Seven tickets have been issued to people who let their dogs off the leash at nearby Churchill Park. At $200 a pop, these tickets serve as another reminder to West Bucktown residents that dogs are not allowed off the leash at either Lucy Flower or Maplewood Park – or ANY city park, for that matter. Dogs are only permitted to run free in designated Dog Friendly Areas. 
  • With the start of warmer weather, the city is actively enforcing its curfew code. Youths age 12 and under must be indoors by 8:30 pm Sunday through Thursday, and by 9:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. For 12- to 16-year-olds, the curfew is extended to 10:00 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. Please call 911 if you see kids of this age out on the street after curfew, particularly if they are gathered in groups.
  • Illegal parties are becoming more of a problem in the area. Even seemingly harmless parties typically involve minors drinking alcohol and often lead to violence. Signs that an illegal party may be taking place include: large numbers of people gathering around vacant buildings; someone charging admission or selling alcohol at a party; overcrowding and/or excessive noise; people drinking out on the street; and fights or other disturbances.If you suspect an illegal party or see any activity in vacant condos, homes or businesses, call 911 immediately.
  • In the last two months, there were a total of 40 arrests made in Beat 1434, including one for prostitution at North and Artesian, and two for burglaries in the 2500 block of Wabansia and the 1700 block of Campbell. On the brighter side, the number of robberies in the area is down.
Beat 1434 CAPS meetings are held the third Wednesday of every other month at 6:30 pm at the Wicker Park-Bucktown Library (1701 N. Milwaukee). The next meeting is slated for June 20.
Beat 1421 meets the second Wednesday of every other month at 7:00 pm at the Salem Good News Bible Church (2038 N. California). If you are able to attend the upcoming Beat 1421 meeting on May 9 and would be willing to report back to us with highlights, please email

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Don’t Be a Burglary Victim!
IMAGE: BurglarIf you weren’t able to attend the 14th District’s “Keepin’ It Real” Burglary Presentation last week, here’s an overview of what a panel of real-life burglars shared with the audience:
  • Burglars can be opportunistic (e.g., when they happen across an open garage door or window), but more often than not they will “case” your place to learn your routine – when you come and go, if you regularly set your alarm, do you have a large dog, etc. Their goal is to be in and out of your home in the least amount of time – generally, that means 2 minutes or less.
  • Burglars aren’t interested in hurting your dog. Some might be deterred by a canine encounter, but others will simply use a t-bone steak to keep the dog occupied or lure him outside a gated area. 
  • There is no single method of deterring someone from breaking into your home – it’s all about “layering” your protection. Burglars are generally lazy and not looking for a challenge. This means that common-sense precautions such as outside lighting, locked windows and doors, and active security systems all add up.
  • The most important deterrent to a would-be burglar is nosy neighbors. If someone is outside watching them while they are scoping out an area or trying to enter a home, most will simply move on. They prefer neighborhoods where people aren’t so vigilant.
  • Some burglars will wear “costumes,” such as a polo shirt or suit and tie, instead of the stereotypical hoodie. One burglar even donned a Comcast uniform that enabled him to walk in the alleys and gangways without getting questioned. If someone looks or acts suspicious, call the police immediately, or at least call the utility/company to confirm if they have someone in the area.
  • Many burglars are stealing to support an addiction. While they will certainly cart away your big-screen TV at times, most are really only interested in things they can easily carry in their hands or a small bag, like money and jewelry.
  • Burglars will head straight to the master bedroom first, and they are well versed in all the usual hiding spots, including your underwear drawer! They know that people like to sleep next to their valuables, so you can bet they will rifle through your bedside table, look under the bed, even flip your mattress. Next they head to the kitchen, where many senior citizens keep prescription drugs they can sell on the street.
  • Your possessions aren’t the only things at risk when a burglar enters your home – ID theft is also a huge concern. Keep important documents locked in file cabinets, and consider purchasing a paper shredder. And make sure to check your credit report regularly, because if a burglar gets his hands on enough personal information to open up a credit account and starting charging to it, you wouldn’t necessarily notice that on your current account activity.
Many thanks to our neighbors to the south for sharing these details on the East Humboldt Park Block Organization Yahoo Group. Now more than ever, let's all have each other's backs out there!

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Bloomingdale Trail Community Meeting

IMAGE: Bloomingdale Trail RenderingThe next community meeting for the Bloomingdale Trail renovation project will be held Tuesday, May 15 at 6:00 pm at the Humboldt Park Fieldhouse (1440 N. Sacramento Ave). This latest in an ongoing series of meetings will include a brief presentation on the status of the project, followed by an opportunity to discuss details and access parks with the design team. 

The development of the Bloomingdale Trail will be a real boon to the community – one that promises to help breathe new life into our little neck of the woods. West Bucktown has been fortunate to have strong representation at previous community meetings, where we lobbied hard for two proposed access points in our neighborhood – one at Western (on the west side of the street), and the other at California (on the east side of the street). Thank you for continuing to attend these important meetings and sharing your input and ideas with the design team.

RSVPs to are encouraged but not required. For more information, please visit

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Street Cleaning 101

It seems easy enough to remember that street cleaning in West Bucktown occurs on the third Thursday and Friday of each month, right?

RIGHT??? least judging by the number of cars that were ticketed throughout the 'hood on April 19 and 29.

In addition to the email and text alert service shared previously, the 1st Ward Office has also distributed this link to the full street cleaning map and schedule. West Bucktown is Area 6 -- if you click on the blue push-pin graphic, you'll see a list of all dates scheduled for our area this year:

May 17 & 18
June 15 & 21
July 19 & 20
August 16 & 17
September 20 & 21
October 18 & 19
November 15 & 16

Mark those calendars and Smartphones, people! 

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WBNA is the catalyst for positive change in West Bucktown. We serve the neighborhood bounded by West of Western, East of California, North of North Avenue and South of Armitage.

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