Lakeview Chamber and SSA 27 to Reveal LAMP

By Stacy Jeziorowski | Friday, March 11, 2011

This dreamy depiction of a potential Ashland Avenue was created through months of conversations with community members. Renderings by Moss Design.

On Tuesday, March 15, Special Service Area 27 and the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce will reveal the long-awaited Lakeview Area Master Plan (LAMP).

Last November and December, the Chamber and the SSA reached out to the community for ideas on how to keep Lakeview one of Chicago’s most desirable neighborhoods,  in which to live, socialize and do business

The big reveal will be at St. Luke’s, 1500 W. Belmont, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The event will feature presentations, opportunities for the community to ask questions, interactive displays and the opportunity to contribute to individual issue group discussions.

LAMP:  Its beginnings and the community.

“[The] Lakeview Area Master Plan is basically a blueprint for the community that really answers the question of what does Lakeview need to have a community where people want to linger, live and long to come back,” said Lisa Santos, SSA Chair and owner of the Southport Grocery and Café.

Last fall the Chamber and SSA 27 laid the groundwork to LAMP, looking at three key areas.

“One is business attention and retraction, one is community-based public spaces where people can come together and third is a lot of sustainability and greening issues,” said Santos.

To identify these needs, they surveyed business owners and reached out to community members young and old, using street surveys, online surveys, scavenger hunts, a photo contest, an audio podcast submission, LAMP parties and two LAMP open houses.

“The great thing about this project is that we went out to the community in very creative and different ways to get people’s ideas about what would make them want to live here, linger and come back.”

Santos says over 1,200 people provided input in some fashion.

Your Ideas for Lakeview

This is just a sampling of some of the ideas to be revealed for LAMP, based on community input.

  • Making the Intersection at Lincoln, Belmont and Ashland more inviting to pedestrians. LAMP proposes modest changes, including wider sidewalks for outdoor dining and retractable posts for temporarily closing a portion of the street for public events. The plan also includes more on-street bike parking to encourage bicycle traffic.
  • A dedicated space for farmers’ markets. The plan currently calls for the revamping and re-establishment of the Southport farmers’ market, although the idea is at the very beginning stages.
  • LAMP envisions a triangular plaza here at School Street. Renderings by Moss Design.

    A re-imagined triangle plaza at Lincoln and School. This space can provide a regular performance/gathering space, extended across School Street to the back of Whole Foods as a larger plaza.

  • Low line pedestrian path connecting Southport and Lincoln Avenue business districts. An envisioned pedestrian path beneath beneath the Brown Line El tracks from Southport to Paulina would incorporate native landscaping, decorative lighting and other aesthetic elements to connect the community, offer new business opportunities and make the area safer and more robust.

The Implementation and the Challenges

Moving forward, the Chamber and the SSA will execute the plan, but these changes won’t happen overnight.

Organizers say they are ready to collaborate with outside parties, such as Ald. Tom Tunney and Ald. Scott Waguespack’s offices, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Department of Streets and Sanitation and any other entities.

“We will start the implementation as early as we can, but things that involve the city will take longer,” said Santos.

The plan includes the creation of a walkway under the El tracks to connect the Lincoln and Southport shopping districts. Rendering courtesy of Moss Design.

Also, funding has not yet been secured, nor has a budget been created.

“When you started looking at all of the different ideas in the plan, some of them the SSA can institute on their own,” said Santos. “But we only have so much of a budget. Many things we are going to have to advocate.”

Santos says SSA 27 will be looking into creating a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, to allow them to apply for grants.

LAMP organizer Matt Nardella of Moss Design said as of now, the plan needs no zoning changes. The plan avoided changes to private and/or vacant areas that would necessitate a change.

“From our analysis, zoning seems pretty comfortable right now in what I—and Lakeview—consider a pretty comfortable density, so I really didn’t look into too many zoning changes that would be necessary,” said Nardella.

Continued Community Involvement

SSA 27 and the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce are going to need your help.

“At the reveal, everyone who is coming in will be getting a volunteer card with different things that they can choose to volunteer for,” said Santos.  “We’re also going to be putting a volunteer mechanism on thisislakeview.com website because we definitely need lots of volunteers.”

“I also think the fact that we can get people from the community to volunteer further solidifies the project,” she continued. “It will make them feel more part of the community as well.”

For those unable to make it to the review, LAMP updates will be available on the www.thisislakeview.com website. Santos explained that the associations will continue to utilize the same means they used to obtain ideas to inform the community throughout the implementation process.

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