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January 2013


Buena Park Neighbors Newsletter

Keeping Buena Park Clean, Green, and Safe

In This Issue
Buena Park Neighbors Annual Meeting
BPN Jan Jam fund raiser
Maryville Project
December C.A.P.S meeting
Mansion on Buena
Buena Ave. Tunnel
Web Master Found
Coat, Hat, Glove Drive
Proposed bar and grill at Irving Park and Broadway
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Calling All Creatives
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Buena Park Neighbors Annual Meeting  
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Buena Park Neighbors is holding it's annual meeting and election of officers on January 14th at 7pm at Thorek Memorial Hospital.  We will have presentations from Alderman James Cappleman and County Commissioner Bridget Gainer.  Bill Petty, president of BPN will also be speaking.  There are a lot of exciting things going on in the neighborhood and you won't want to miss this important meeting.  Come on out, meet your neighbors and find out what is going on in Buena Park.

What:  Buena Park Neighbors Annual Meeting
Where:  Thorek Memorial Hospital (come in main entrance and                    follow signs)
Date:   Monday, January 14th, 2013
Time:   7pm

Maryville Project      

Maryville JDL Project Update:


A second neighborhood meeting on the current Maryville project was held on December 14th.  Approximately 70 people heard from Jim Letchinger of JDL Development who presented the current plans.  If you are interested in seeing the current drawings, they are all at Buena Park Neighbors.  If you have any questions or concerns please email us at general@buenaparkneighbors.org  





December C.A.P.S. Meeting


More than 30 residents attended the December 6th C.A.P.S. meeting to hear what CPS had to say about the dog shooting earlier in the month. Elias Voulgars, our district commander, was present to discuss the incident with those assembled.  Many questions were asked with regards to police policy and the appropriate response in such situations.  It became clear early on that Buena Park residents were not going to get any definitive answers.  Due to the fact that the shooting is still under investigation, commander Voulgars was unable to discuss any details. 
Al and Barb Phillips (the dog's owners) have filled a lawsuit with the city and Buena Park Neighbors will keep you posted as more information comes forth.  
The next C.A.P.S. meeting is scheduled for January 3rd at 7pm at the public library on Buena Ave. between Broadway and Sheridan.

The Mansion on Buena

By Lisa Von Drehle 

I have lived in Buena Park for over 20 years.  The elegant, rather severe mansion at the North West corner of Buena and Clarendon has always been somewhat of a mystery.  For a long time it seemed to turn it's back on the community.  Then about three years ago things started to change.  The yard went from neglected to landscaped.  A flurry of signs went up on either side of the handsome iron gates.  People started to come and go and the building became a living presence in our neighborhood.  What happened?  Why the change?  To find out more I did a little investigating.


Originally constructed in 1917 as a single family home, the building and coach house are 13,000 square feet on a 19,000 square foot lot.  In 1943 the home became a school.  Its last incarnation was as The Day School, a charter school for students that couldn't make it in regular schools.


In March 2009 the Day School was closing and needed to divest itself of the building.  The board wanted the property to continue to serve children and families, so they reached out to Neal Bader, Executive Director of the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls (MC).  (Link to www.menomoneeclub.org).  Established in 1946, the not-for-profit MC is dedicated to improving urban life for children in Chicago's north side. 


"When I first toured the building my jaw dropped," said Neal.  "There had been lots of changes over the years to keep up with fire codes and other institutional needs, but the bones were still good.  The building just needed some love.  Now bear in mind that this was the height of the recession, so pulling this off wasn't going to be easy.  I searched for answers and found a building in Washington DC which played host to several smaller not-for-profits.  This is the model we went for."


In July 2009 MC bought the building for a nominal fee and Neal started reaching out to possible tenants.


First to sign up was Smart Love Pre-School (link to www.smartlovepreschool.org).

They are the ones responsible for the wonderful gardens.  "Farmer Billy comes twice a week and works with the children," explained Carolyn Freidman, Executive Director.  "They learn about seed-to-table.  Just last week we made rainbow chard smoothies from our greenhouse."


Inside are two classrooms - East and West - in the former Gentleman's Smoking Parlor and Dining Room.  They have also adapted the former handsome, wood-paneled Library to be a library for the kids. "It is very home like, which for a first school experience is great," continued Carolyn.  Ornate moldings balance colorful, kid-sized chairs, toys and games.  Twenty pre-schoolers and three teachers per class fill this lovely mansion with life five days a week.


Pushing open the requisite firewall door leads onto the original, grand wooden staircase with large stained glass window - all in excellent shape.  Upstairs Smart Love's sister organization, Smart Love Family (link to www.smartlovefamily.org) delivers Clinical Counseling services, specializing in child, adolescent and parenting issues.  What were once bedrooms have now become a Parent and Tot Room, Family Waiting Room and five Counseling rooms.


A final set of stairs leads up to the former Ballroom and Servant's Quarters, now occupied by China Friends language school (link to www.chinakidsusa.com).  With four colorful classrooms they offer private and group lessons in Mandarin for ages thirteen months to adult.


A final tenant, Educational Endeavors (link to www.educationalendeavors.org) offers tutoring and test prep help out of the Coach House.


Three years after taking over, the Menomonee Club have turned a formerly moribund building into a vibrant, not-for-profit resource.  This adaptive re-use is an excellent example for others in our neighborhood.  Buena Park is full of so many riches - both physical and human.  May we follow the Mansion on Buena's example and come together in innovative ways to make our community thrive. 



Buena Tunnel Mural


Buena Ave. Tunnel Mural 


Completion of the the mural in the Buena Ave. tunnel has been temporarily delayed due to the cold weather.  However, plans are in the works to not only finish what has been started, but add more murals on both sides of the tunnel.  If you are interested or know of anyone who would be interested in participating in additional murals, please email us at Buena Park Neighbors.  Also, we will be putting a Buena Park logo alongside the existing mural that passersby can click on to get information about Buena Park and connect to our website.

Web Master Found    
We now have a webmaster who is doing a great job of cleaning up our website and keeping it current.  If you have any suggestions for additions to what we already have, please feel free to contact us. We are always looking for ways to improve the service we provide to the Buena Park community.

The more the merrier.  If you are interested in becoming an integral part of Buena Park communications team, contact us at  Buena Park Neighbors and we'll give you the full lowdown on a number of opportunities we have available. 
Buena Park Neighbors Coat, Hat and Glove drive    

We are extending our Coat, Hat and Glove Drive until the end of January.  So far we have taken two large loads to The People's Church of Chicago where the clothing is distributed to those in need.  
Winter is not over yet so please stop by one of our drop off sites and donate a piece a little warmth and hope.
  Our locations are: Thorek hospital (in the lobby), Dollop Coffee, World Gym, Michael's Pizza, and Awake Cafe 

Liquor License at Irving Park and Broadway 

Alderman Cappleman held a meeting for residents to air their opinions with regards to a proposed bar and grill at the corner of Irving Park and Broadway where Arnold's restaurant used to be. Some 25 people attended and voted against approving the license request.  No further action is planned at this time.  If you have any questions or concerns about this, please contact the James Cappleman
Like us on Facebook 

If you want to keep up with what happening with BPN then like us on Facebook.  Just click on the logo in the table of contents above.  New information and comments are posted on a regular basis.
Calling All Creatives
By Lisa Von Dhrhle

Calling all creatives


Are you, or someone else you know in Buena Park an artist or a writer?  Or maybe a musician, or other creative soul.   Perhaps you spend all of your time creating, or maybe this is a sideline to a 'regular' job.  Whatever it is you do, we would like to get to know you.  Please contact us general@bueanparkneighbors.org and we will get in touch so we can write something for the News.   There is a lot of creative talent here in Buena Park.  Let's start getting to know each other.