The Newsletter of Lincoln Central Association
Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
June 18, 2021

Summer Safety in Lincoln Park
Hello neighbors! Summer is upon us finally and the lifting of restrictions, moving into Phase 5 has us all euphoric! I hope you can all enjoy the activities you missed last summer, stay safe and feel some sense of normalcy again. Come enjoy our parks, our neighborhood restaurants and the freedom to gather once again.

Sadly, this time has brought an increase in crime in Lincoln Park. I want to address this and share what we have learned from the Alderman and police regarding measures to curb the recent alarming events in our neighborhood. I am sure you are all aware of many of the events, whether through NextDoor, the Alderman’s newsletter or other sources. What I hope to convey in my letter today is what LCA has participated in, learned and is doing regarding the current situation.

Friday, June 4 a gathering was held at Oz Park to address the shooting at the Lincoln Park High School Mall, on the west side entrance area. I estimate that 50 neighbors gathered, Channels 5 and 7 and a Sun Times reporter. The gathering was well attended with Alderman Smith and four officers who oversee court advocacy, patrolling, response and juvenile assistance programs leading the discussion. The situation involved juveniles who were gathered and all we know is that a young man was injured by gun fire. There were several people who witnessed this event, however, no witnesses were willing to come forward for fear of retribution. Officer Schenk lead the discussion. His most strident message was that the police need the public to call 911 whenever they see any disturbances, be willing to come forward with statements as witnesses and play their part in supporting the police. 
The police stated that there will be more police on patrol. The neighbors that gathered voiced their concern that police show up but don’t take action against the perpetrators. Many commented on underage drinking and no ticketing of this misdemeanor. This situation has many of the community concerned that there are no ramifications for illegal behavior, the apprehension of some results in release within hours. 

Alderman Smith stated that she is leading an effort to have mandatory jail time for use of hand guns. She noted that 40% of those arrested were rearrested shortly after for similar offenses whether on bond or released from jail. I encourage you all to subscribe to her newsletter to stay up-to-date on developments in her office on these efforts and court advocacy dates to attend. Cameras have been installed in Oz Park at undisclosed places, more than most are aware of. This allowed police to apprehend the LPHS perpetrators at the Brown Line El on Armitage. Regrettably, the camera at the playground that was paid for by the Oz Park Advisory Council cannot be hooked into the police surveillance system per the Chicago Park District rules.

The take away from the gathering was that the police and Alderman ask everyone to be involved in the victim advocacy program, call 911 when you see activity that is suspicious, take pictures of occurrences and step up to be a witness if you are one! Your home cameras are a great resource for the police. The police cannot move forward on anonymous calls without further information.

Future action by the police includes more patrol around the parks and neighborhood. Always call and ask for a supervisor if you feel the police who are called to a situation did not handle it appropriately in your opinion (i.e. ticketing underage drinking, elicit drug use, vandalism). Call Officer Schenk at 312-742-5778. Also call McKay Murphy in Alderman Smith’s office at 773-348-9500 for any issues you have around safety.

I know this is a lot of information but I felt it important that our community knows that LCA is involved in the problems and solutions for our neighborhood. My positive take away from this public gathering with the police, Alderman and neighbors is that this is exactly what we need to continue to do. I encourage you all to attend the CAPS meetings that are held regularly. Here is a link to how CAPS works - Our newsletters will alert you to the upcoming CAPS meetings monthly. 

Together we can support the police and each other by being good citizens of the community!

Happy June and the freedom we are all feeling with reaching Phase 5 in the COVID 

Your President of LCA, Sally Drucker
By Larry Sachs
To get personal for a moment, believe me when I tell you that after a 47-year career working to improve public safety in Illinois and in Chicago, I couldn’t be more appreciative to reside in the heart of one of the safest communities in Chicago, Lincoln Park. As a new LCA Board member and to demonstrate my gratitude, I want to help all of us in this lovely community work more effectively with our neighbors, CPD and local government, our business community, and with local community services and resources for all of us to stay as safe as possible.

In each LCA monthly newsletter, we hope to provide useful public safety information on topics of concern, news you can use, tips to help community members work more effectively with local law enforcement, and ideas on how to keep yourself, and your family and household safe from harm.

To better understand your concerns and to help us provide public safety information that is actually relevant to you and our community, LCA will send out a simple, short and anonymous survey in the next few weeks to ask for your input. But for now, just a bit of history and philosophy as a foundation for the information we hope to provide in the future. 

In 2015 and precipitated by events in Ferguson Missouri, President Barack Obama's Task Force on 21st Century Policing released a report calling for public safety reform and progress in six interrelated areas, much of which relies on a single principle: improved public safety is only possible if law enforcement and community can learn to work together more effectively to co-create safe communities. How’s that going you ask? Admittedly, not so well – but the fact that progress is slow and barriers to effective community–police cooperation and partnership seem more not less insurmountable does not negate the simple truth that we can and must work together more effectively - and that access to information, resources, education and training coupled with improved communication are key to success in this or any worthwhile endeavor.

That is our guiding principle. Bye for now and please stay safe, get to know your neighbors, and take good care of each other.
On June 16, the Lincoln Central Association Board of Directors issued the following statement regarding the Dickens Greenway, and delivered our position to Alderman Smith. 

Statement: Alderman Smith hosted a public meeting regarding the Dickens Greenway on May 18. Twenty-two days later, the Alderman issued a statement announcing the approved Greenway project without consulting the LCA Board for its view, while multiple neighborhood organizations including LCA had survey work in flight and the night before there was a planned discussion at LPHS on the topic including perspective from the Oz Park Advisory Council, which had voiced opposition to the project due to its impact on the southern sidewalk of Oz Park. We are disappointed in the process and believe it is important to clarify the Alderman's actions for the wider community. The LCA Board opposes the Greenway. 
By Kathy Jordan
Rats affect our lives. That was the theme of a webinar hosted by the Lincoln Park Alliance and the Lincoln Park Zoo Chicago Rat Project. Representing the Alliance, Sheffield Neighbors Association President Brian Comer introduced the speaker: Jackie Buckley of the Urban Wildlife Institute at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Buckley said the goal of the project is to learn more about Chicago’s rats, to prevent health risks, and to study rat populations and diseases. The Zoo Rat Project conducted a survey about rats that got 835 responses. Postcards were sent at random with the message, “Let’s Talk About Rats.” Questions covered frequency of rats, health risks, barriers to rodent control, and attitudes about rats and other urban wildlife. Responders received a $10 Visa gift card for returning the survey and another $10 gift card for participating in a follow-up interview. Rewards were also given for trapping and removal of rats. In all, participants could receive $50. Personnel from the Rat Project went to collect rats and then tested the rats for diseases. Participants were encouraged to clean up garbage to see if rats decreased, and were given management recommendations. 

The Lincoln Park Zoo Rat Project works to provide information on prevention and safety, to share concerns and needs with the Department of Streets and Sanitation, and to work with the city to improve rat management. 

Buckley said anyone can be part of the project. To enter, contact
Bring your chairs, blankets, and picnics, and join your neighbors for some fun evenings at Oz Park!

July 16, 8:15-9:46 p.m.: Movie “BABE”
Sponsored by the Oz Park Advisory Council

August 2, 6:30-7:30 p.m.: Drum Dance Capoeira & Maculele
Sponsored by the Chicago Park District

August 17, 5:30-7:30 p.m.: Toddlers, Tunes & Turtles
Sponsored by the Chicago Park District

September 11, 8:00-10:08 p.m.: Movie “42”
Sponsored by Oz Park Baseball Association
by Kathy Jordan
Lincoln Central Association grew from Lincoln Central Conservation Association in the late 1950s. The LCA slogan at that time was, “A group of neighbors working together to improve our area.” Those words summarized the group’s main objectives, which were to raise living standards within the community, to retain responsible residents, to attract young families, and to encourage residents to participate in the preservation of the human values and physical characteristics of a revitalized neighborhood.

Early committees were parking and traffic, neighborhood relations, local parks, pet ownership, and juvenile problems. Urban renewal issues were of special concern.

In the 1970s and 80s, Lincoln Central sponsored the Mohawk Street Art Fair, with corn on the cob cooked by the sisters of St. Vincent DePaul, and bratwurst cooked by willing neighbors. One popular event in the 90s was the Haunted House, staged at Yellow Chrome across from Children’s Memorial. When Augustana Hospital closed, the event was held there. An outgrowth from the Mohawk Art Fair was the Lincoln Central Music Fest, hosted with Mid-North Association. 

Then in late 1997, a sudden change in leadership took place, one that advocated more control over bars and more emphasis on the community. Once in place, the new LCA developed surveys to ask for neighborhood feedback, making community response important to better support. 

The new agenda included a multitude of neighborhood issues including permit parking, Royal George Theater parking, development of the former Homemaker’s site, liquor licenses, and a traffic light at Dickens, Cleveland, and Lincoln. A revamp of the newsletter and the web site were accomplished. There was even time for a Clean and Green Day. 

The early 2000s saw a wave of new concerns such as sidewalk café licenses, the allocation of funds for the general upkeep of Lincoln Central Park, a comprehensive community plan, and preserving the essence of the community while making room for new buildings. In addition, there were senior housing and subsidized public housing concerns. Lincoln Central Park was renovated, with CDOT doing the rebuild and LCA paying for landscaping.
An important movement of those years was the restructuring and official formation of the Zoning Committee in 2003, “to ensure open and fair processes for developers and homemakers.” The committee has been an important part of LCA’s agenda for all these years, helping to protect the neighborhood. The committee was also an important part of developing two landmark districts, one at Halsted and Armitage and another at Willow and Halsted.

There also was a movement to develop support for neighborhood projects such as guidelines for parkway beautification, which was a goal for LCA. Money was set aside for upgrades and maintenance of the Bauler playlot, as well as support for a weekly Kids Party. And $1,000 was given to Oz Park for the Scarecrow sculpture.

Innovation has always been alive in Lincoln Central Association’s history. In 2005, the change from R4.5 to R5 brought open meetings for neighbors wanting clarity. In 2006, LCA tackled the graffiti problem. In 2007, a prominent project was a redo of the House 22 Fire Station kitchen. 
2011 brought a change to LCA’s agenda when it took over management of the Fire Station Park, adding another park to its oversight. A whole new neighborhood project was born, as the park was redesigned into an all-native plant garden, with two major beds—one a wetland, the other prairie style. Other beds were made for planting vegetables for neighbors to come and harvest when ripe. And in the center is an herb garden, also for neighbors picking. The garden has won three Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards in recent years, recognizing its unique history and development.

Several wide-ranging community events have been hosted by LCA. One was the History and Vision events designed to bring neighborhood awareness, historical interest, and community education, as well as fellowship and fun. Other community events were several for Aldermanic candidates, all held in partnership with the Park West Community Association and the Wrightwood Neighbors Association. A unique partnership is with the Oz Park Advisory Council for a yearly holiday tree lighting in Oz Park. That partnership is in its fourth year. 
Several long-standing events are part of LCA history—notably Howler at Bauler, now it its 8th year. Another is Spring Zing, which grew from a small party for youngsters into a yearly happening. Newer events have been inspired by the Fire Station Park garden, which became a natural gathering place for neighbors: An Evening in the Garden and Summer Sipper. 

In recent years, LCA underwent a branding project that brought the slogan “The Heart of the Neighborhood” to the association and its outreach. The brand has brought a meaning to everything that we do, as neighbors and friends know us now as the heart of the neighborhood. 

The mission of the Lincoln Central Association is to inspire people to join together for the social, cultural, and physical enrichment of our neighborhood. The words may change, but the heart will remain the same.
Local Events

Summer Jazz Series at Belmont Village: Every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. Learn more here.

Lincoln Park Health and Wellness Weekend, June 26-27. Lean more here.

Southport Art Fair, Waveland Ave. and Southport Ave. July 10-11. Learn more here.

Taco Crawl in Rogers Park, (N. Clark St. between Devon Ave. and Touhy Ave.) July 15.

Sheffield Street Fest and Garden Walk: July 17–19. Learn more here.

Taste of Lincoln Avenue, July 24-25, Learn more here.

Chicago Ducky Derby: August 5. Learn more here.

Wells Street Art Festival: Aug. 14-15. Learn more here.

Gold Coast Art Fair: Grant Park. Aug. 21-22. Learn more here.

Roscoe Village Burger Fest, Sept. 4-5. Learn more here.

Do you have a local event that you would like us to share? Email us at
From the Heart is an award-winning newsletter published by Lincoln Central Association. We welcome your feedback and story ideas.

LCA has received at least one APEX Award for Publication Excellence in each of the last five years and a total of eighteen since 2016. Additionally, From the Heart is the recipient of four consecutive Constant Contact All-Star.

Winner of Five Consecutive APEX Awards for Publication Excellence
Winner of Four Consecutive Constant Contact All-Star Awards