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  • Around Rogers Park: Arson on Touhy – One Dead, all Homeless

     

    A tragic fire in the 1700-block of Touhy Avenue destroyed a 15-unit apartment building in the early morning hours of June 5. The fire resulted in the death of one of the building’s residents, Maria Silva, who died after attempting to jump from the burning building. Even worse, the fire appears to have been deliberately started by a woman who has now been charged with murder and aggravated arson, according to an ABC-7 report filed June 7.

    Due to the extensive smoke and fire damage, the entire building had to be evacuated and is currently vacant. The Rogers Park Builders Group, along with many other individuals, non-profits and business organizations, contributed money to help displaced residents find new places to live and rebuild their lives. Donations can still be made to help victims of this tragic event through Northside Community Resources. Their website is: https://www.northsidecommunityresources.org/donate/

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Chicago Math and Science Academy Ranks #1 Charter School in Illinois

     

    U.S. News and World Report ranked the Chicago Math and Science Academy the number one Charter School in Illinois, with an overall ranking of 69th of all high schools in the state. This would be an impressive achievement under any circumstances, but is all the more remarkable, given that the student body is 98% minority and is drawn largely from within the Rogers Park community. Many of the students at the Academy are from low and moderate-income families, and a significant number are either immigrants and refugees, or are the children of immigrants and refugees.

    The success of the Academy would seem to prove that your zip code need not determine your destiny. Many graduates of the Academy have been accepted to some of the best colleges and universities in the country and have gone on to successful careers, in STEM-related fields and other endeavors.

    Rogers Park Builders Group has been a proud supporter of the Chicago Math and Science Academy, most recently presenting the school with a $1,000 check as part of the Giving Tree campaign to upgrade technology. Congratulations to the Academy for their great accomplishments and the well-deserved recognition they have received from U.S. News and World Report.

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Summer in the City – Rogers Park-style

     

    Summer in Rogers Park always goes by much too quickly. By the time anyone reads this article, the summer will be almost over. For Rogers Parkers, summer is a time to enjoy many of life’s small pleasure – hanging out in outdoor cafes with friends; spending weekends at any of the neighborhood’s beautiful beaches, or buying seasonal produce at the Glenwood Sunday Market.

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Loyola University Grant to Wellness Clinic at Gale Academy

     

    Speaking of Loyola University, this venerable institution has once again stepped up to the plate with a major donation to Gale Academy for the construction of the SMART Health and Wellness Clinic at the Gale Academy Elementary School. Loyola’s $25,000 donation was the amount of money needed to begin construction of this important project, and represents the largest one-time donation ever made by the university. This grant demonstrates pretty clearly the degree to which Loyola University is committed to the Rogers Park community, and cares about the children who live here. The Health and Wellness Clinic will be an important community resource, not just for the students at Gale Academy, but also for their families and other community members.

    According to Alderman Joe Moore’s June 28th email newsletter, “Heartland Health Centers will be the medical provider at the clinic, offering sustainable, academically-focused care, in fidelity to the SMART model. Ginn Group Consulting CEO, Melanie Ginn, developed the SMART model in collaboration with CVS Health.”

    Rogers Park Builders Group also supported the Health and Wellness Clinic with a $2,000 donation. Individual members of RPBG donated additional money, bringing the total RPBG contribution to about $5,000 for the clinic.We applaud Loyola for their incredibly generous contribution, and celebrate the planned addition of the clinic to Gale Academy for the benefit of the entire Rogers Park community.

     

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Morse Avenue Apartments Under Construction - Spring Update

     

    It’s finally happening. After not a lot of activity for most of 2017, the new Morse Avenue apartment building is finally under construction. As I write this article, there’s not much to see at the southeast corner of Morse and Wayne other than a bunch of trucks and heavy equipment. But keep an eye on this site during the summer, and you will see a new apartment building start to rise out of the ground.

     

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  • Loyola Basketball Team

     

    It was a Cinderella story that no one expected, but that everyone loved. While the Loyola Ramblers did not make it all the way to the National Championship, they got much further than anyone ever expected. Fans in Rogers Park and throughout the Chicago region were on the edge of their seats for most of the month of March as the playoffs progressed. It also put Sister Jean, the team chaplain, in the national spotlight. How can you not love a basketball-crazy, 96-year-old nun who both inspired and motivated the players? It was an amazing story from start to finish.

     

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  • Rogers Park’s Hollywood Moment

     

    Rogers Park is not just a neighborhood anymore; it is also a movie! Directed by Rogers Park residents Kyle Henry and written by Carlos Treviño, Rogers Park is about two couples who struggle with the challenges of modern life, and the complications of modern relationships as they approach middle age. As you would expect, given the name and the location, the characters in the movie represent a diverse group of people and backgrounds, just like the neighborhood in which the story takes place. The movie was filmed in and around the Rogers Park community, so it will look very familiar to anyone who has spent any time here.

     

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  • Best April Fools Spoof Ever!

     

    Many of us were both surprised and excited to read that Jarvis Beach was ranked 12th best beach in Trip Advisor’s ranking of the top 25 best beaches in the United States. This article was given prominent billing in Mike Glasser’s recently relaunched rogerspark.com website (to see the April Fools posting, click here). Many of you know Mike better as the President of Rogers Park Builders Group.

     

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  • Rohingya find a Home in Chicago

     

    Coaches Mike Glasser and Jack Hafferkamp with two Rohingya soccer players who they coached, Summer 2017

    Through the efforts of RefugeeOne and other resettlement organizations, Chicago has quietly become one of the largest resettlement communities for refugees from Rohingya in the United States. There are currently 350 families living in the city and suburbs with 1,500 individuals. Not surprisingly, Rogers Park has become an important center of Rohingya life in the city. The Rohingya Cultural Center is located at 2740 W. Devon Avenue in West Ridge. The Cultural Center is a community-based social service agency that serves the needs of the Rohingya community. West Ridge is also the location of the city’s first and only Burmese restaurant at 2305 W. Devon. This restaurant was recently opened by a Rohingya family that has settled in Chicago. (See related restaurant review.)

     

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  • New Apartment Building on Howard Advances

     

    After years of inactivity, Howard Street is about to be the location of a new construction apartment building. Jay Johnson, a founding member of RPBG, announced that his development group has received the necessary permits for construction in March and now has a construction trailer on the site. Excavation and site preparation work is set to begin in April or May, and construction should begin soon thereafter.

     

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  • Sun-Times Editorial Features our own Al Goldberg

     

    Al Goldberg, a developer of artist studios and apartments in the Glenwood Avenue Arts District, talks with Dorothy Milne, artistic director of Lifeline Theatre, during a walk on Tuesday morning. When Lifeline moved to Glenwood Avenue in 1985, taking over an old Commonwealth Edison substation, the struggling neighborhood began to form a new identity as an arts hub. / Sun-Times Photo by Elizabeth Davidson

    An editorial in the Chicago Sun-Times, “Lifeline Theatre in Rogers Park Shows How the Arts Can Transform a City” (April 13, 2018) starts with the story of Glenwood Avenue and its amazing transformation from scary and lifeless back-alley, to the popular neighborhood gathering point it has become today. The editorial says “successful cities make their luck.” If this is true, then one of the people most responsible for “making the luck” of Glenwood Avenue is our own Al Goldberg. Al is a long-time Rogers Park Builders Group member and has served as Arts Chair on the Board of Directors for many years.

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Rogers Park Business Alliance Releases Clark Street Plan

     

    The Rogers Park Business Alliance has long recognized the importance of the Clark Street corridor to the Rogers Park community. In recent years, the organization has sought ways to strengthen the vitality of the corridor, maximize its appeal to Rogers Park residents, and maintain a healthy balance of retail, commercial and residential uses along its length.

     

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Gun Violence Drops in Rogers Park

     

    Despite some very high profile gun violence in the neighborhood during 2017 – most notably the tragic murder last October of Cynthia Trevillion, a beloved teacher at the Chicago Waldorf School who was gunned down in a random gang shootout on North Glenwood Avenue – homicides in Rogers Park declined from 2016 to 2017. Ms. Trevillion was one of four people killed by gunfire in Rogers Park last year, down from six gun deaths in both 2015 and 2016. Overall, the neighborhood experienced 18 shootings in 2017.

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: After Delays, Tawani Apartment Building to Begin Construction

     

    The ground-breaking ceremony was held this past March. But spring turned into summer, fall and winter, and the 1323 W. Morse Avenue site remained strangely quiet and empty. But now it looks like the proposed development is finally ready to go. The Chicago City Council recently gave its approval, and a $30 million construction permit was issued in early December.

     

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  • Around Rogers Park: Concord on Sheridan Under Construction

     

    chicago smarter

    It’s official. Construction on the new Concord at Sheridan mixed-use apartment and retail property began in early December. If all goes according to plan, the apartment building will begin to rise in February and the property will open in the fall of 2018. This is the largest, new construction building to be built in the Rogers Park community since before the onset of the recession of 2008-2009.

     

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