Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Holiday storefront photo from Elgin Illinois

Elgin's downtown efforts are being noticed. See the post from Richard Layman's Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space blog regarding getting students involved in the effort. Click here for a map of all the windows decorated for Window Wonderland 2005. A hat tip to Richard for the communitywalk.com site that hosts our maps. I first saw the Google Map tool on one of his posts and applied it to our site.

Downtown demolition on city agenda

This from today's Courier News.

The city council is set to vote Wednesday on tearing down a quartet of vacant buildings, a move that could pave the way for more downtown redevelopment.

Also on the council's agenda is spending $20,000 to tear down the city-owned former Goodyear building directly north of the Elgin Law Enforcement Facility. The building occupies one corner of a downtown block that is largely taken up by the Grater Inc. cheese factory but which the city would like to see redeveloped.
Officials probably are not interested in seeing the Goodyear site redeveloped on its own, being more interested in a large-scale project that would include the majority of the block bound by Spring and Kimball streets, Douglas Avenue and Symphony Way, according to Deering.
"I think we would like to see a bigger plan, a bigger approach, maybe the whole block," he said.

The locations are as follows:
64 S. State St./Illinois 31
The Goodyear building directly north of the Elgin Law Enforcement Facility.
The former Amy Plumbing buildings at 58 Kimball St. and 271 N. Grove Ave .

The old Grant Park Elementary School at 265 N. Jackson St in the near west area is also scheduled for demolition.

Read the full story by Nathaniel Zimmer here.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Condos, kids' center added to ESO concert hall plan

These details on the proposed Symphony Center were reported in the Courier News today.

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra has added 200 condominiums and a children's "discovery center" to its proposal to build a 1,800-seat concert hall downtown, directly east of the new Gail Borden Public Library.

The hall would be located on the southern half of roughly 9.5 acres bound by North Grove Avenue and Ann, Kimball and Brook streets. The children's center and a four-level parking deck topped by a condominium tower would stand to the north.

Read the full article by Nathaniel Zimmer here.
Map of location.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Great American Family Diner Ribbon Cutting

The ribbon cutting took place on Thursday, December 15th.

Friday, December 16, 2005

"A Reel Holiday" Window Wonderland 2005

The Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin Holiday decorating contest. Ends 1/1/2006. The theme is "A Reel Holiday" your favorite holiday movies. Click here for a map of the windows and a ballot.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Versatile Prius Used for Ribbon Cutting

The opening of the Fulton Street Parking Deck was held on December 14, 2005. Mayor Schock and Councilman Gilliam drove the new Prius city vehicle through the ribbon. This may be the first time a hybrid has been used for a ribbon cutting ceremony. The new deck has parking for 550 cars and is located between South Grove and Villa Street, with entrances from both Fulton Street and Prairie Street. It is located just behind the Prairie Rock Brewing Company and was designed to blend in with the existing buildings.

The buildings in the background are Phase 2 of the River Park Place Townhomes.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Great American Family Diner is Open

The Great American Family Diner at 231 Douglas is open!
The ribbon cutting is on Thursday, December 15th at 5pm.
I stopped by for lunch today. Here's the highlights.
  • Diner menu
  • Plenty of hot coffee
  • My server Kathy called me sweetie
  • Friendly staff and owners
  • Saw Councilman Tom Sandor and Jack Sabo of Studio One chowing down

They are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner so stop by and tell them DNA sent you.

This Saturday the entertainment is a singer performing Frank Sinatra Christmas songs from 7 to 9 pm. Have dinner and enjoy the music.

Santaland Diaries

Come to the Hemmens and see “Santaland”
Janus Theatre gets three stars from the Daily Herald

This is the last year you can see it, and we’re going out with a bang! Playing at the Hemmens Theatre with The Mark Bettcher Sextet opening the show, “The Santaland Diaries” is the true story of David Sedaris’ wild adventures as a Macy Christmas elf.

Barbara Vitello, theater critic for the Daily Herald, raves: “Gleefully subversive. This show will put a smile on your face.” ***stars out of four!!!

Come see the play that put David Sedaris on the map. This will be the only suburban performance of this irreverent holiday gem. (This show is for 16yrs and older. Not for children.)

To get your tickets to the Janus Theatre Company’s “The Santaland Diaries” with The Mark Bettcher Sextet:

Sunday, December 18 at 6p.m.
CALL: 847-931-5900
Get a discount by mentioning “Santa Baby” when you order your tickets
Get a $5 discount on Main Floor tickets. They were $20 now they’re $15!!!
Get a $10 discount on Golden Circle tickets. They were $40 now they’re $30!
(Golden Circle is cabaret seating and includes one free drink ticket. A great deal!)


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Restaurants as drivers of commercial district revitalization

I was at a party on Saturday and was asked, "When are we going to get more restaurants downtown", so I thought this article was timely.

"It was really the restaurants, they were the traffic pull, which in turn led to specialty shop development," Matson said.
From the article "Seminary Street provides the model: Built on restaurants, pubs, specialty stores," about the Main Street commercial district in Galesburg, Illinois. Galesburg was one of the three initial pilot communities where the Main Street model was developed and tested in the late 1970s.

Link to the full article
Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Restaurants as drivers of commercial district revitalization

Link to a map with restaurants in downtown Elgin.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fire Destroys Elgin Lumber Company in Elgin, Texas

Is there a parallel universe?

From KXAN-TV, TX Dec 7, 2005, 10:19 PM CST

The same wind that helped usher in this Arctic cold front also helped fan the flames of a fire in Central Texas. The difficult weather conditions kept firefighters in Elgin busy for hours. The fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m. and quickly engulfed the old wooden structure that used to house the Elgin Lumber Company.

Read the article here.

Or this article with a photo from the Elgin Courier (Elgin, Texas)

This is too strange. I thought the fact that both Elgin, IL and Elgin, TX are Main Street communities and both have newspapers with Courier in their name. Now large fires within days of each other at vacant lumber yards.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

New Features on Downtown Elgin Blog

Several new features and changes have occurred during the past week.
  • RSS subscription buttons moved to the top of the side panel
  • In The News section added for links to newspaper articles
  • Calendar section added with downtown events from upcoming.org and links to the City of Elgin and Elgin Area Chamber calendars
  • Photos from Flickr section shows the three most recent pictures
  • A Google map from Communitywalk.com with downtown points of interest. A limited number of locations have been entered, more to come.
  • A Google map from ATMLocator with ATM locations in the downtown

The Flickr photos and Google maps appear at the very bottom of the page if you are using Internet Explorer (IE) but work correctly in Firefox. We're working on this issue.

Elgin Junior Woman’s Club plans ornament exchange

The Elgin Junior Woman’s Club will hold its general meeting Tuesday, December 6th at the Downtown Neighborhood Association, 2 Douglas Ave, Elgin.
Social time at 7 p.m. , meeting at 7:30 p.m.
Bring a wrapped Christmas ornament if you would like to participate in an ornament exchange.

Daily Herald article.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Public Hearing for the Adoption of the 2006 City of Elgin Budget

The 2006 Budget is currently under review by City Council. The Public Hearing for the Adoption of the 2006 Budget is scheduled for Wednesday, December 21, 2005 at the Regular City Council Meeting beginning at 7:00 p.m. Public comments will be heard at the December 7, 2005 Truth and Taxation Public Hearing scheduled for 7:00 p.m. as well. Due to the size of the Budget, it has been saved as seven separate sections.

Proposed 2006 Budget – Entire Document (10,282 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 1 (1,341 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 2 (2,244 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 3 (2,376 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 4 (5,630 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 5 (1,076 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 6 (1,823 KB)
Proposed 2006 Budget – Section 7 (2,317 KB)
If you have questions or would like to contribute your budget comments email: budget@cityofelgin.org, or call 847-931-5930.

Traffic Enforcement Forum

As part of a continuing series of community forums, the Elgin Human Relations Commission will sponsor a traffic enforcement forum Thursday, Dec. 6, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. in the West Conference Room, at The Centre, 100 Symphony Way, Elgin.

“Traffic enforcement and police interaction with citizens during traffic stops is often looked upon as confrontational and negative,” said Dorothy Brandon, the City’s EEO specialist. “This forum is designed to educate people on Elgin traffic enforcement practices.”

Elgin police Chief Lisa Womack will provide an overview of traffic law enforcement within the City of Elgin while also providing a data report. Participants will be able to ask questions.

Nominations for the 2005 Elgin Image Awards

The Image Advisory Commission is currently accepting nominations for the 2005 Elgin Image Awards. Nomination forms are currently available at City Hall, The Gail Borden Library, and The Centre of Elgin. The deadline for submittal is Friday January 6, 2006.

The annual competition honoring beautification and image-enhancement efforts by local individuals, businesses, and organizations has always attracted a lot of interest from across the community. Past winners in the thirteen year old competition have included organizations such as the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and Talisman Theatre, special events such as the Gifford Park Association’s annual Housewalk, the Chamber’s Enhancing Elgin campaign, many outstanding individual volunteer efforts and numerous civic organizations and local businesses. The principal criterion for the Image Awards is simple – nominees have had to make a substantial positive impact on the improvement of Elgin’s image. There are five categories for the annual awards including Individual/professional, Individual/volunteer, Projects (such as special events, fundraising projects and neighborhood improvements), and Organizations or Businesses. In addition to the Image Awards, the Commission also presents a Citizenship award. This award is designed to recognize individuals whose outstanding activities and efforts exemplify the meaning of citizenship.

Winners are selected by members of the Image Advisory Commission, and will be honored at the annual Image Awards event scheduled for March 9th, 2006 at The Centre of Elgin. For more information or questions regarding the Image Awards please contact Meredith Hannah, Marketing Officer at 847-931-5593.

Fire Rages at Elgin Salvage Yard

Sunday night at 5 pm I saw a huge column of smoke rising from the southwest. This was from the corner of Congdon and Dundee. Minutes later the flames were clearly visible from the Northwest Tollway where it crosses the Fox River. At 8:30 pm some smoke and flames were still visible from Route 31.

Daily Herald article and photo.

The fire was at the former Seigle lumberyard not Elgin Salvage as previously reported.
Courier News article and photos.
Daily Herald article from December 6th.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

America Unchained Day - Belated

OK, I didn't post this in time for the official day but the concept can be applied year-round.

From the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation:

On the last Saturday before Thanksgiving, the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) wants retailers and consumers across the country to join in the second annual celebration of America Unchained. On November 19, consumers in communities around the country will be asked to shop only at locally owned businesses to maximize the impact of their dollars and potentially inject millions more into their local economy.

Sometimes seemingly small acts can make a big impact. Take family spending. You may think you're just fulfilling your family's wants or needs when you shop or dine out. Think again. The choice of where you spend your money makes a big difference to your community. Spending your money with locally-owned independent businesses puts your money to work directly helping your community's economy?just one way your community benefits from its home town businesses. Those businesses use goods and services of other locally-owned independent businesses--circulating your money three to three-and-a-half times longer locally than if you spend it at a chain*. This creates greater community health and prosperity.

Read the entire article here.

Another article here from Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space.

Just two weeks ago, a neighbor mentioned he rather spend his money at locally owned businesses. He just needed to be better informed on what they have to offer and where they are. I think we can help him out.

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Seattle neighborhood looks forward carefully, lessons for us?

What can we learn from others? Redevelopment in Seattle and Washington DC. This post Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: Seattle neighborhood looks forward carefully, lessons for us? compares development in Seattle and Washington DC and has a great Google Map of one Washington DC neighborhood. I find Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space and the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation as great resources for learning what is happening in other communities and how we can learn from them as we strive to redevelop downtown Elgin.

Friday, December 02, 2005

It's Happening Downtown - 12/2 - 12/11

Dinos on Parade - Fri.,December 2, 7:30pm
Come see these dinos for the last time…or take one back with you!! Please join the Elgin community with food, raffles, music, and an auction at the Gail Borden Library. Buy your tickets at the door, attire is casual.

The Nutcracker - Fri. & Sat. Dec. 2nd - 3rd
Join Downtown in going to this classic performed by the Civic Ballet of Chicago at the Hemmens. Night shows are at 7:30pm and a matinee at 3pm. Tickets are $10 or $15 if you mention “Mouse King”. To order please call 847.931.5900.

Window Wonderland - Saturday December 3rd
Time to grab the friends and family and take advantage of all the activities, sales, window decorating contest, and entertainment in Downtown Elgin!! Details

City Council Meeting - Wednesday Dec. 7th, 7pm
DNA will be recognizing the Elks Lodge and Ultimas Noticias for the Illinois Main Street Awards that they won!! The City Council meetings are aired every Friday evening at 7:30pm and Monday evenings at 7pm on Ch 17.

Gallery Night - Wed. December 7th, 8pm
Discover the intriguing shapes and attractive designs of local jewelry designer Valerie William at the Martini Room. For more info call 847.741.0349.

Senior Services Monthly Birthday Party -
Thurs, December 8, 11:30am
Got a birthday or want to help celebrate, head over to the Senior Services Associates located at 101 S. Grove Avenue in Downtown Elgin.

A Joyful Holiday with the Elgin Symphony...
Sat. & Sun. December 10th & 11th
Gather your family and join the Elgin Symphony Orchestra for Holiday Joy, with holiday classics, audience sing-a-longs, pre-concert festivities and show stopping vocal ensembles! Special guests include the talented Elgin Children's Chorus. For tickets call 847.888.0404 or go online to http://www.elginsymphony.org/.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Who Lives Downtown?

Highlights from a Brookings Institution report.

During the 1990s, downtown population grew by 10 percent, a marked resurgence following 20 years of overall decline.

From 1970 to 2000, the number of downtown households increased 8 percent—13 percent in the 1990s alone—and their composition shifted.

Downtown homeownership rates more than doubled during the thirty-year period, reaching 22 percent by 2000.

In general, downtowns boast a higher percentage of both young adults and college-educated residents than the nation's cities and suburbs.

Thanks to Paul Bednar for finding the report.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's beginning to look a lot like more parking...the Fulton Parking Garage Opened Today!!

Initially, the parking in the Fulton Street Parking Deck will be as follows: 3 hour parking on levels 1 and 2, and 10 hour parking on levels 3, 4, and 5. The signs have been placed on the first two levels will be installed on the remaining levels within the next day or so. The City of Elgin will be monitoring the parking situation over the next 90 days to determine the pattern of use before the parking time limits are codified. The City will also be working on putting up signs at the Spring Street deck to notify individuals of the additional parking available in the Fulton Street Deck.

Note to The Elginite, it did open in November.

Walton Island Photograph

Hometown photographer, James Jordan, has a great evening photo from Walton Island here and here. Hat tip to The Elginite for pointing it out.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It's Happening Downtown - November 23rd

Econonic Restructuring
Tuesday, November 29th
Retention, Recruitment & Marketing Strategies for Downtown Elgin.
Developed by the Senior Business Seminar Class from Judson College

From 1-2:15pm
At the Judson College, Linder Center, Eagle Lounge

Project Participants:
Dr. Patrick Alden, Chair, Business Division
Students: Stevan Djuric, Boris Jasovic, Jonathan Jespersen, Lauren Patron, Diego Rossi, Noy Saengpraseuth, David Sawdey, Timothy Tanner

*Please RSVP by Monday, November 28th, 2005
Call Downtown Neighborhood Association (847) 488-1456

Monday November 28th - Sunday February 26th
City Skate
The outdoor rink is located on the Civic Center plaza between the Hemmens and the City Hall. The hours of operation are 9am-9pm everyday. Warming Shelter Hours are Monday-Friday 4pm - 9pm , Saturday 11am - 9pm, Sunday 11am - 6pm. For more information please call 847.931.6140.

Wednesday & Thursday Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st
Master Magician - Tim Balster
Bringing season’s greetings at the Hemmens on November 30th and December 1st at 9:45am and noon. Call 847.931.5900 to order your tickets for $7.

Friday and Saturday, December 2nd - 3rd
The Nutcracker
Performed by the Civic Ballet of Chicago at the Hemmens. The night shows will be at 7:30pm and a matinee show at 3pm. Tickets are $20 or $25. To order please call 847.931.5900.

Friday, December 2nd
Dinos on Parade Auction
Come see these dinos for the last time…or take one back with you!! Join the Elgin community at the Gail Borden Library for spirits, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and a steel drum music by Pan Chicago. The schedule for the evening is 7:30 - 8:30pm Dinos on Review and 8:30 - 10pm for the auction. Tickets are $25. Interested in attending the auction? Contact Karen Maki at (847) 429-5976 or stop by the dinosTaur

Saturday, December 3rd

Window Wonderland
Time to grab the friends and family and take advantage of all the activities, sales, and entertainment in Downtown!!

Grand Opening of The Great American Diner (231 Douglas Ave.) For more information call (847) 289-0524
Cookie Walk and Mission Market 9am-1pm With homemade goodies at the First United Methodist Church, 216 E. Highland Ave. For more information call, (847) 741-0038
Cookie Decorating 11-3pm at Pastigel Bakery 154 E. Chicago St.
City Skate free skate rentals from 11-9 p.m. (Civic Cemter Plaza behind City Hall)
Lunch with Santa 12-1:30pm at the Centre (hot dog, chips, dessert & beverage). Call (847) 931-6123 to register.
NENA's Homes for the Holiday's House Tour 12-5pm Tickets $12 at registration. For info, call (847) 931-0239
The Polar Express 4pm at 115 E. Highland Ave. Savor delicious cookies while enjoying an interactive book reading with the conductor of Polar Express. Dancing French Chefs performing the Boogie Woogie. By Books At Sunset & the Larkin Performing Arts Academy. For more info, call (847) 888-1860.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5 p.m., behind City Hall
Downtown Holiday Fireworks! right after Tree Lighting.
Sleigh ride on Walton Island 5:30-7:30 p.m

Sales at the following locations:
Keeney's (19 Douglas Ave) -10% off knives & antiques- Dec 3-25
Elgin Jewelers (11 N. State St.) 20-50% off all jewelry
Shockey Jewelers (18 Douglas Ave.) Annual Christmas Sale
Andersen's Trophies (64 S. Grove Ave.) 20% off all 3D & 2D subsurface crystal etching- Dec 1-25
Artistic Framing & Supplies (25 N. Grove Ave.) 20% off all art supplies, 25% off all in stock frames- Dec 1-25
That Suits You (203 E. Chicago St.) Sale up to 50% off

Sunday, December 4th
Chica Concert
1:30pm and 5:30pm show This will be a free concert at the Hemmens though you must have tickets ahead of time. So call MaryBeth Markwell for English and Silvia Ysais for espanol at 847.741.5521 ex. 112

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

The Spiess Building Demolition Has Begun

The demolition has begun on the Spiess building. It will be replaced by the Fountain Square on the River, a 280,000-square-foot project with 204 units including one-, two- or three-bedroom condominium units as well as duplexes and townhouses. The project includes 15,000 feet of retail space. See the Courier News article.

Update - New pics

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Veterans Day Ceremony

Veterans Day Ceremony
Friday, November 11th, 2005 at 11:11 a.m.
The Heritage Ballroom in the Centre
100 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL

Happy Birthday Marine Corps

Wish a Marine Happy Birthday. The Marines turned 230 years old today.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Senior Dance on November 6th

Senior Dance for 50 and older
Date: November 6, 2005
Location: The Centre-Heritage Ballroom
100 Symphony Way Elgin , IL 60120
Hours: 3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.
Contact: 847-531-7013
Cost: $1 per person

Oct/Nov Illinois Main Street Newsletter

The October/November Illinois Main Street newsletter is available here.

Near West Neighbors Association Meeting

The Near West Neighbors Association is holding a special public meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday, November 3rd, at The Lighthouse Church, 325 South St., Elgin.

From the Daily Herald
Steve Stroud will present a slide show featuring photos from his recently published historic Elgin house book, “There Used to Be …” and photos from his already eagerly anticipated second volume. Anyone interested in seeing historic photos of Elgin’s great old houses is invited to come. He will have books to sell and autograph.

For details, call Chuck Keysor, NWNA president, at (847) 622-1835.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Downtown Halloween Events

There are many Halloween events this weekend and Trick or Treating at downtown shops on Halloween.

Urban Legends Begin in Downtown, what all ages can do this Halloween weekend!!

TC Church
THE FUN FAIR! a community event for all Kids!
Free Admission!
> Free Candy!
> Free Food!
> Free Games!
> Sign up to win exciting Prizes!
Indoor-carnival which serves as a alternative Halloween celebration. The kids are in a safe environment. And they definitely have a FUN time!
10/31 6pm-8pm
@ 310 E Chicago
info: 847.888.8558

Halloween Hike
10/28 & 10/29, 6pm-9pm
@ Camp Tu-endie-wei
info: 847.742.7930

MT Special Cut
Halloween Specials - Green Hair!
10/31 @ 15 N State St
info: 847.760.6528

Books at Sunset/Prairie Rock Brewing Co
Elgin's Supernatural Tour (Adult)
10/28 & 10/31, 6:30pm-9pm
@ Books at Sunset, 1100 South St
tickets & info: 847.888.1860

Al's Cafe & Creamery & Janus Theatre
"We Only Have Ives for You: A David Ives Revue"
10/27-10/29, 8pm @ 43 Dupage Ct
tickets & info: 847.841.1713/ dinner: 847.742.1180

Gasthaus Zur Linde
Costume Party - Contest with prizes!
10/31, @ 15 N Grove Ave
info: 847.695.8828

Oak Crest Atrium
Grandma's Porch on Halloween
10/31, 3-5pm @ 204 S State St
children 10 & under
info: 847.742.2255 - Zoila

Elgin Theatre Company
"Night of the Living Dead"
10/28 & 10/29, 8pm
@ Theater 355 - 355 E Chicago St
tickets & info: 847.741.0532

Gail Borden Library
"The Land Before Time" Movie
10/29, 10:30am-Noon
Enjoy popcorn & come in costume!
info: 847.429.4599

McNeil Mansion
7th Annual Holiday Open House
10/28-10.30, 10am-5pm @ 162 S State St
info: 847.622.9636-Mary

The Mission (Adult)
Medusa's Halloween Costume Party
10/28, 10:30pm @ 209 E Chicago
info: 847.488.0320

Salon De Belleza Yatzel
Halloween Discounts & Free Face Painting
10/31, 4pm-7:30pm @ 210 Dupage St
info: 847.608.2619

Senior Services Association
Halloween Costume Party Lunch & Bingo
10/28 11:30am-2pm @ 101 S Grove Ave
info/reservations: 847.741.0404

Trick or Treating at these downtown shops on Monday, October 31st from 4:00 to 7:30
Super Print
160 E. Chicago St.

19 Douglas Ave

15 N Grove Ave

Gail Borden
270 N Grove Ave

7 Clock Tower Plaza

Downtown Neighborhood Association
2 Douglas Ave

Mobile Media
231 Douglas Ave

Extreme Wireless
117 S Grove Ave

Carswell's Flooring
225 E Chicago St

Salon De Belleza Yatzel
210 Dupage St

Montana Realty
10 Douglas Ave

Quick Shoe Repair
18 S. Spring St

51 Clock Tower Plaza

That Suits You
203 E. Chicago St

The Cash Store
87 Clock Tower

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Out to Lunch, October 31st

Please join us for the last Out to Lunch of 2005!

Akina’s Thai Restaurant
23 S Grove Ave
Elgin, IL
Date: Monday, 10/31/05
Time: 12 pm
Menu: Buffet lunch for $7, includes beverage
Special guest: Councilman Tom Sandor

Costumes optional

Please RSVP to (847)488-1456 by October 28th.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Construction Updates - Parking Lot Closing

The south portion of the City’s Riverside Drive parking lot, also known as
the Osco lot, will be permanently closed effective Nov. 1, as City crews
prepare for the demolition of the old Spiess Department Store, 32 S. Grove Street.

The northern section of the parking lot, also known as the NBD lot, will
remain open with 58 reserved parking spots and 27 unrestricted spaces
daily. Reserved spots currently located in the southern lot will be
relocated to the north lot, and will remain available Monday through
Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Employees and clients who currently park in these lots can find alternate
parking in the Spring Street Deck located on Spring Street between
Highland and Chicago, or in other off-street lots throughout the Center
City area, including the Civic Parking Lot at Highland and Douglas
Avenues. The City of Elgin monthly parking permits will be honored at
these alternative sites. Permits are $30 per month and are available at
City Hall.

An additional 550 spaces will become available upon the opening of the new Fulton Street Deck, scheduled to open in mid-November. The new deck is located between South Grove and Villa Street, with entrances from both Fulton Street and Prairie Street.

For more information Ruthanne Hall, the City’s management analyst at (847) 931-6104.

The Great American Family Diner Set to Open in November

The Great American Family Diner is moving to downtown from it's Villa St. location. It will be located in the space formally occupied by Anthony's Restaurant and Jazz Club. The site is at a prime location onDouglass and Kimball. They expect to open in early November and will be serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Read the article in the October 25th Daily Herald.

Unilever Closing Downtown Plant

The Unilever plant at State and Highland is closing. While the loss of a business and the jobs it provides is never a positive. In the case of a manufacturing facility with no room for expansion, located in a revitalizing downtown, it is not unexpected.

Below are two excerps from the Riverfront Master Plan created in 2000.

This parcel's high visibility from the Highland Avenue bridge, Walton Island and the Civic Center/Cultural Campus demands that the building be more aesthetic and less of a wall blocking the views from the west side. Temporary artwork placed on the east fa├žade could work into a cultural theme of the Civic/Cultural Campus, with long term replacement of the building with a more human scale architecture a long-term goal. A walkway along the water's edge linking Highland Avenue to Kimball Avenue or Foundry Park would continue the riverwalk north to Judson College. A canoe chute/fish ladder on the west bank would create a longer stretch of navigable water in Elgin.

Lipton Industries is a valuable corporate member of the community that would benefit by relocating to a more appropriate industrial site that enhances their business development plan. The City and Lipton should begin to negotiate a transition process that would allow redevelopment of this site in a 3 - 5 year time frame. Redevelopment site uses should be flexible to take advantage of unforeseen market opportunities to capture corporate, residential or commercial uses that would benefit from a high visibility site on the Fox River in the heart of downtown. Parking for the new site uses will need to be accommodated on site and partially in off-site areas.

Read the article in today's Daily Herald.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Festival Park Phase II Presentation to Council

The plans for Festival Park Phase II will be presented to the City Council on Wednesday, October 26th at the 6 p.m. Committee of Whole meeting. The council meets in the council chambers on the second floor of city hall, 150 Dexter Ct. Elgin, IL.

Read the article in today's Daily Herald.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Its Happening Downtown 10/14 - 10/21

The Season of Fall Entertainment - Did you find "Wicked" booked and expensive? Go to inexpensive-just as fun-local entertainment!
" We Only Have Ives For You: A David Ives Revue" by the Janus Theatre Company - Friday, October 14th-Sat. October 29th, 8pm
This show will be presented between October 14th-29th(Thurs., Fri. Sat. at 8pm) at Al's Cafe & Creamery. Tickets are $12 and dinner reservations can be made at Al's before the show(I know because I already made mine for this Saturday with the husband and friends!). A $2 portion of each ticket will go to the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund through the American Red Cross. For more information and tickets call 847.841.1713 or go to www.janustheatre.org. For dinner reservations call Al's at 847.742.1180.

The Tony's Today!! - Friday-Sunday October 14th-16th
Played by our very own Elgin Symphony Orchestra between October 14th-16th. Hear excerpts from A Chorus Line, Phantom of the Opera, and Fiddler on the Roof.
Single tickets start at $15 so call 847.888.4000 or go to www.elginsymphony.org.

"Night of the Living Dead" by the Elgin Theatre Company - Friday, October 14th - Sat. October 29th, 8pm
This production will be held at Theatre 355 at 355 East Chicago St. Tickets are $15.00 for adults and $12.00 for youth/senior citizens. Additional performances will be held on October 15, 21, 22, 28, and 29, 2005. For reservations or more info call the Elgin Theatre Company at (847) 741-0532 or web site at WWW.ELGIN-THEATRE.ORG.

Children's Theatre of Elgin Presents...The Wizard of Oz - Fri-Sun October 21st-23rd
So head out to the Hemmens Cultural Center to see this classic through our youth's talent!! For tickets and event information call 847.931.5900.

Organization Events - Fall Fests, Fundraising for food, Family Fun Fairs, Finding out what a week without violence is all about...
Third Annual Family Fall Fest - Saturday October 15th, 3:30pm
This fun filled event will be hosted by the First United Methodist Church in Carlton Roger's Park(adjacent to the Church).
For more details call 847.741.0038 ext. 104 or visit www.fumcelgin.org.

Elgin Skyline Tour - Last One of the Year!! - Saturday, October 15th, 1pm
Join Mary Hill from the Elgin Area Historical Society on Saturday, October 15th at the corner of Douglas and Highland at 1pm.
The tour fee is $5 per person For more info call 847.742.4248.

18th Annual Halloween Family Fun Fair, Saturday, October 15th,10 - 2 pm
Held at the Centre's Heritage Ballroom and sponsored by the City’s Parks & Recreation Department and Sherman Health, kids and families can participate in child car seat safety checks, carnival games, craft activities, storytelling and book sale. A special costume contest will also be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with awards given to the spookiest, funniest and best overall costume!! For more information, contact Jane Gregory, special events coordinator, at 847/931-6625.

Elgin Crop Walk - Sunday October 16th, 1pm
The Elgin area crop walk seeks to reduce hunger and bring basic health care to countries around the world. Through Church World Services, the Crop Walk aids these basic needs, and 25% of everything raised stays in the community to help alleviate hunger through local pantries. The Elgin Crop walk will begin at the First United Methodist Church. A five mile and one mile walk are available. Contact Mary Hewitt at 847.741.3576 for more information.

Week Without Violence - Sunday-Saturday October 16th-22nd
Call the YWCA for further information of the below events at 847.742.7930
Sunday: Day of Remembrance - Spend some time remembering those who have been affected by violence.
Monday: Walk for Peace - Meet at the YWCA at 4:30pm(Sponsored by the YWCA Teen REACH program)
Tuesday: "I am a Peacemaker Art Show and reception" 4:30pm-6:30pm(Sponsored by the YWCA School age childcare program)
Wednesday: Self Defense Demonstration by Kim's Black Belt Academy at the YWCA at 4:30pm(Sponsored by the YWCA Board of Directors)
Thursday: "Making our Schools Safer" Peacemakers panel discussion at the YWCA at 6pm.(Sponsored by the YWCA Teen REACH program)
Friday: Open to Change - Open House Activities - Free Family Swim at the YWCA from 6:30pm-8pm.(Sponsored by the YWCA Aquatics program)
Saturday: 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament - Alternatives to violence (Ages 14-17) beginning at 9am at the YWCA(Sponsored by the YWCA Southeast Asian Youth)

Buying and Selling on eBay - Tuesday, October 18th, 7pm-8:30pmWant to turn your old junk into profits? Join us to learn the basic about buying, selling, and safety on eBay.
Being held at the Gail Borden Library in Meeting Rooms A&B.

30th Anniversary Dinner for the Community Crisis Center - Thursday, October 20th
Join them as they celebrate their 30 years of service, deliver the State of the Agency address and honor Jack Shales Family with the Seigle Family Humanitarian Award.
This will be held at the Centre in Elgin. For more info call 847.697.2380.

Workshops & Opportunities for your Business/Organization and Knowledge
Downtown DNA Advertising for the Holidays
Call DNA at 847.488.1456 to find out ways that your business can advertise and promote through free postcards for Halloween, inexpensive rates through Ultimas Noticas and the Daily Herald, along with taking part in our annual Window Wonderland!!

Kane County Energy Futures: A Conference on Growth and Energy - Friday, October 21st 10am-2pm
At the Centre the Community Energy Cooperative will release the Kane County Energy Plan. This will look at how rapid growth will impact current infrastructure and what the region can do to meet the expanding needs through minimizing costs, disruptions, and environmental impacts. To find out more information and register call the Community Energy Cooperative at 773.486.7600 ext. 200 or go to http://www.energycooperative.org/.

Business Happenings - Places to go to next week!!
Azteca de Oro has Re-Opened!!!
After two months of closure Azteca de Oro just opened this past Friday. So grab some friends and check out the old and the new at this restaurant, bar, and dance club!! You can find them at 260 National Street. Feel free to give them a call to welcome them back at 847.742.0859.

Business Afterhours - HCR Manor Care, Thursday, October 20th, 5-7pm
Time to meet fellow Downtown residents at 180 S. State Street for a meet and greet that the Chamber of Commerce and HCR Manor Care hosts.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Douglas L Hoeft Memorial Sculpture Celebration

The Douglas L. Hoeft Scholarship Foundation invite the public to join them in celebrating the installation of the new Douglas L. Hoeft Sculpture at the Douglas L. Hoeft Memorial site along the Elgin Riverfront, directly behind Hemmens Cultural Center. The gathering will take place on Saturday, October 1, 2005, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

The statue, paid for by private donations, was designed by artist Chris Bennett. The sculpture captures State Representative Hoeft in a pose quite typical of how he was often seen while visiting with constituents and friends. Visitors will be invited to sit on the bench with the statue for a commemorative picture. A light picnic lunch will be served, and the event will be held rain or shine.

State Representative Hoeft served in the State legislature from 1992-2002, and had just been elected to his sixth term when he died unexpectedly. During his tenure in office, Mr. Hoeft was instrumental in helping Elgin receive funding for a variety of projects and programs including grants for the Police Department's Domestic Violence program and new Digital Patroller system, improvements to Rt. 25, the Pioneer Memorial Statue, and substantial money for Elgin’s riverfront revitalization project.

A longtime resident of Elgin, Mr. Hoeft was very committed to the community. He began his career teaching social studies at Elgin High and continued being an advocate for education when he was in Springfield. He worked hard for PADS and many other local organizations. Donations to the Douglas L. Hoeft Scholarship Foundation can be sent to 216 King Arthur Ct., Elgin, Illinois 60120.

For more information please call 847-931-6175.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Out to Lunch, September 26th

DNA Out To Lunch!!! - Monday, September 26th at Noon.
Break bread and network at El Rincon de Pastigel & Pastigel Bakery (Located at 154 E. Chicago). The price is $6.50 for a buffet lunch including a drink.

Our speaker is Lynne Bosley, the Executive Director from the United Way of Elgin. She will present a summary of the recent Needs Assessment and an update on hurricane relief efforts in Elgin. Please RSVP to DNA(847.488.1456) by 9/23.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Bill Maher Performance is Sold Out

Bill Maher will be performing at the Hemmens Cultural Center in Downtown Elgin on September 24th. The performance is sold out. Check here for more performances at the Hemmens.

Downtown Flea Market, September 24th

Enjoy flea markets? Come to downtown Elgin from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, September 24th. The Flea Market is located at the Elgin Civic Center parking lot on Highland and Douglas.

If you are interested in being a vendor, contact the Downtown Neighborhood Association (847) 488-1456.

Last Chance for Harvest Market

The last Harvest Market is today. It runs from 12 to 6 p.m. today. Look for the tents in the Civic Center parking lot at Highland and Grove.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Harvest Market and Salsa Challenge

Two more weeks of Harvest Market. Bring the grocery list for your salsa recipe and enter it in the Salsa Challenge at Fiesta Salsa.

Harvest Market is from 12 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 15th and 22nd. Look for the tents in the Civic Center parking lot at Highland and Grove.

How does your salsa size up? Enter it in the Salsa Challenge to find out.
Salsa Challenge takes place during Fiesta Salsa at Kimball and Grove on Saturday, September 17th. Preparation begins at 8 a.m. and the public taste test starts at 12:30 p.m. Check the web site for details or call (847) 468-7212 to register for the competition.

Coffee Anyone

Coffee shop For Sale, anyone interested? The Daily Bean on Highland Avenue in downtown Elgin is for sale according to owner Claire Gouge.

“We know everybody wants it downtown and we want it to stay downtown,” said
Gouge, who has owned the business for about a year. “But we hope someone
buys it and loves it.” Daily Herald, September 8, 2005

Read Lenore Adkins article.

Downtown as a Classroom

Students from Judson College use downtown Elgin as a classroom on Thursday afternoon. Professor Christopher Miller brought his Architecture of Cities class down to experience the historic and diverse architecture that is downtown Elgin.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Hurricane Evacuees Arriving in Elgin Today

250 people are scheduled to start arriving in Elgin, Illinois Tuesday, September 6, 2005 and will be housed at the Elgin Mental Health Care facilities at 750 South State Street.
Items needed include the following: canned food, bottled water, clothes, shoes, blankets, baby items, school supplies, new underclothes, etc. If you are interested in volunteering or can provide goods, please contact Dolly Scanlan at 847.742.1040 x-2005 or Raul Almavar at 847.742.1040 x-2010.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Local Efforts to Help Hurricane Katrina Victims

The American Red Cross

How you can help from the Daily Herald

Hurricane Katrina Taize Prayer Service - Tuesday, September 6th at 7:00 pm
First Congregational Church
256 E. Chicago St.
Elgin, IL
(847) 741-4045

Hurricane Katrina ESO Benefit Concert - Wednesday, September 7th at 7:30 pm
On Wednesday, September 7, 2005 the Elgin Symphony Orchestra will hold a benefit concert to assist in the Hurricane Katrina relief effort. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Hemmens Theatre, 45 Symphony Way in downtown Elgin.

The concert was inspired as Robert Hanson, Music Director of the ESO, viewed the horrific scenes of devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Tom Roeser, ESO Board President said “When we started placing calls to our musicians and other community organizations to organize the event, the response was overwhelming. Everyone wanted to do something to help. ESO musicians and community organizations are donating their services so that all monies raised can go directly to relief effort.”

Community partners in this event include the Elgin Symphony Orchestra, the Elgin Choral Union, the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra, Heartland Voices, EFS Foundation, Otto Engineering and the City of Elgin. Originally, the Elgin Children’s Theatre had a scheduled rehearsal in the Hemmens Theatre and generously offered to move their rehearsal so the benefit concert could take place.

Admission to the concert is free and all donations will go directly to The McCormick Tribune Foundation Hurricane Katrina Relief Campaign. This fund was established by The McCormick Tribune Foundation and many of its Communities Program Partners to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina. The McCormick Tribune Foundation will match the first $2,000,000 contributed to the campaign at 50 cents on the dollar.

The Elgin Choral Union, the Elgin Youth Symphony Orchestra and Heartland Voices will join the Elgin Symphony Orchestra in the performance. The program will include Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, choral selections from Mozart and Mendelssohn, America the Beautiful and more. Also, guests from the City of Elgin and members of the clergy will speak during the concert, lending support and uniting the community in this cause.

The Elgin Symphony Orchestra last held a benefit concert after the September 11th disaster. Over 1,000 area residents attended that benefit, donating more than $13,000 to the effort.

“We hope that the concert will serve to unite the community, the music we’ve chosen is uplifting and it will help people come together to do what we can in the face of this disaster” remarked Robert Hanson, Music Director.

A musician from the Louisiana Philharmonic (out of New Orleans) will speak about what she saw and experienced.

For more information about the concert, visit the ESO’s website at http://www.elginsymphony.org/ or call the administrative office at (847) 888-0404.

It's Happening Downtown - September 5th - September 11th

It's Happening Downtown
The Dinosaurs have Arrived at the Gail Borden Library!!
Along with dinosaurs around the Downtown for "Dinos on Parade" the dinosaurs are in place at the library. The ribbon cutting for the African Dinosuar Exhibit is Tuesday, September 6th. So bring your friends and family to the see the Dinosaurs between September 6th - December 30th at the Gail Borden Library!!

2005 Citizens Police Academy - Tuesday September 6th - October 18th
It's not too late to get your application or contact Paula Emerson at 847.289.2588 to be an Elgin Citizen Cop! This 8 week session will be every Tuesday from 6:30-9:30pm.

Harvest Market - Thursday, September 8th
Located in the Civic parking lot next to the Elgin post office this weekly happening is every Thursday from 12pm-6pm.
So head on over as the last day of the Harvest Market is September 22nd! Call DNA for more info 847.488.1456.

Neighborhood Watch Meeting - Thursday September 8th @ 7pm
This meeting will be held in the Elgin police station and is a good opportunity to learn more about the Neighborhood watch groups and possibly join :)

2005 Day of Caring - United Way of Elgin's Extreme Community Makeover - Friday, September 9th
If you have signed up already don't forget to go to your project and enjoy the free breakfast and lunch.
For more info or to volunteer last minute call United Way at 847.741.2259

How Does Your Salsa Size Up? Enter it in the Salsa Challenge at Fiesta Salsa and get your share of the $2000 in prize money.
Last day to register is September 9th.
Go to fiestasalsa.org or call 847.468.7212 for more information.

The Midwest Vintage Clothing, Jewelry, and Textiles Sale and Show – September 9th & 10th Friday 5-10pm Sat 10am-5pm
This is a great event for all of you who enjoy the antique, unique, and most interesting.(This would include myself!) With over 75 dealers there will be plenty to go around. You can even get a discount if you dress in vintage! This terrific show is located at the Hemmens Cultural Center. And even if you are not in the mood for buying there will be certified appraiser and a jewelry repair on site. There will be admission at the door, for more information call 847.428.8368.

24th Annual Elgin Historic House Tour – September 10th & 11th 10am-5pm
House guides will show you all of the nooks and crannies each house has to offer, along with any juicy stories! And what do you know, tickets are on sale in the Downtown at Al's Cafe & Creamery and Ziegler's Ace Hardware. A big thanks to the Gifford Park Association who made this event possible. $20 at the door, $10 students
For more information call 847.695.4022 or go on the web to http://www.gifford-park-assoc.org/

Get Centricised at the Centre - September 10th 8:30am-2pm
Yes ladies. It is true. No men allowed. Here is a day set aside exclusively for you to check out what the Centre has to offer for your fitness, health, and enjoyment.
Hey, there's even babysitting services offered that day. So try the fitness classes, try the equipment, refreshments, rock climbing, and spa treatments!
For more information call 847.531.7000.

Peace Pole Dedication, First Congregational Church - Sunday, September 11th 11:30 am
256 E. Chicago Street. Call 847.741.4045 for the details .

Literary Fundraiser at the Martini Room - Sunday, September 11th 6:30pm
Like going to Fundraiser galas? Want to go to a book club with a little more pizzazz? It’s time to go to a Literary Fundraiser where you can lounge, talk books, read from your favorite books, drink a Martini, and raise money for the Literacy program at the same time!! This event is sponsored by the Books at Sunset and The Martini Room.
To RSVP call 847.888.1860 and to become a volunteer tutor for the Literary Connection contact 847.742.6565.

Downtown Elgin Flea Market - Saturday September 24th 9am-3pm
Looking for Vendors!! So call the Downtown Neighborhood Association to get your space at 847.488.1456. Don’t miss it!!!

Are you aware of other activities going on in the Downtown that DNA needs to promote?
Please call (847.488.1456) or e-mail DNA with the details.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lane Closures on Kimball Starting Monday

One westbound lane on Kimball between Douglas and Brook will be closed beginning Monday. The closure will be between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm through Wednesday.

New Technology Chronicles Prehistoric Creatures Arrival

Jobaria. (Photo by Patrick Malia)

There's a new blog in town, Elgin Dinosaurs, documenting the arrival of the GIANTS:African Dinosaurs Exhibit at the Gail Borden Public Library. The Elginite had a post on this last week. I have a feeling the library will be a busy place for the next four months.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Its Happening Downtown - August 29th - September 5th

It's Happening Downtown!
A Time to Network and Eat - Monday, August 29th
Come to our Out to Lunch - Monday, August 29th @ Noon at Cafe Magdalena. Our speaker will be Sean Stegall, Assistant City Manager of the City of Elgin, and we will be thanking Bob Beeter from the Elgin Police Department. We will be having a buffet meal with free drinks for $6.50.

Parks & Recreation Board Meeting - Tuesday, August 30th
Located at the Centre at 7pm. Call 847.931.6126 for more information.

Don't forget the Martini Room's Weekly Happenings - Every Wednesday and Friday
Every Wednesday night several artists work are showcased and sold in Martini Room's great lounge atmosphere. And then on Friday take advantage of the great tunes of "Inertia".

Harvest Market - Thursday, September 1st
Harvest Market is EVERY Thursday!! Located in the Civic parking lot next to the Elgin post office this weekly happening is every Thursday from 12pm-6pm. So head on over as the last day of the Harvest Market is September 22nd!

The Gail Borden Public Library Foundation cordially invites you to attend a Champagne Preview Party...Thursday, September 1st
Come celebrate and support the opening of the upcoming exhibit - Giants: African Dinosaurs created by Project Exploration.
Attendance and donation is $50 per person, and special donation levels are Suchomimius Level ($100-$249), Afrovenator Level ($250-$499) Vobaria Level ($500 & up)
RSVP the Gail Borden Library at 847.742.2411 and ask for Joyce Schifferer.

Do you want to be in the Fiesta Salsa Parade? - Deadline:September 2nd
The Grand Marshall this year is Zoraida Sambolin from NBC 5. The parade kicks of at 12 pm on September 17th at Grove and Slade.
Contact Jeanette Mihalec at 847.741.5660 to get your group in!!

The Historic Elgin House Tour Needs Your Help!!! - Saturday and Sunday September 10th & 11th
Currently they are in need of volunteers to help be guides on Sunday September 11th from either 9:50am-1:30pm or 1:20pm-5pm. Not for being a guide. Please call Sandy at 847.347.1589 to help and get a FREE TICKET to the House Tour !!

Flea Market Vendors Wanted! - Saturday September 24th
DNA will be hosting a Downtown Elgin Flea Market from 9am-3pm at the Civic Center Parking Lot. For more information call 847.488.1456. Spaces are $20.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Boat Races in the Fox River

The Elginite is proposing Asian boat races in the Fox River. (See the post).

There's a Southeast Asian Water Festival in Lowell, Mass, which features traditional boat races. The festival is expected to draw 50,000 to 60,000 visitors to Lowell's Merrimack River each year, a celebration of the river as a God in Southeast Asian culture.Imagine bringing 50-60,000 people to downtown Elgin for something similar. The Lao community here can be joined by Thai, Cambodian and other communities in Chicagoland to host this event. This could be a good way to highlight Elgin's diversity and deliver traffic to downtown businesses. It would also highlight the downtown and especially the riverfront's revitalization.

Wikipedia entry on dragon boats. I also found swan boats and long boats.

What do you think?

Sculptural Signs

I found this mention of Sculptural Signs on The Northfield Downtown Development Corporation blog from Northfield, Minnesota. This is a great downtown site.
Several more sign links from the NDDC are listed below:
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Signs of Newburyport

Don't forget the revised sign ordinance is coming up before the Planning Commission on Monday, September 19th at 7 pm. The meeting will be held at the City Council Chambers, City Hall North Wing.

Dinosaur Photos on Flickr

Thanks to The Elginite (see post) for discovering these pics on Flickr. Go to the library link for more information on the exhibit. See the "Dinos on Parade" article the Sunday Daily Herald.

It's Happening Downtown! - August 22 - 29

It's Happening Downtown!

Want to help with the image of Elgin? Or meet the New Police Chief? - Monday, August 22nd
The Elgin Image Advisory Commission will be meeting at 7pm in the second floor conference room in the North wing of city hall.
The Police Chief's Monthly Community Meeting will be at 7pm at the Elgin Police Station.

"Walk Across Illinois" with Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn - Tuesday, August 23rd
As part of the Walk Across Illinois program Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn will be in Elgin at 11 a.m. on Walton Island. From there, there will be a walk heading north along the bike path next to the Fox River. Please come and take a break from work during your lunch hour and go for a walk!!

Want to know the latest decisions in Elgin first? - Wednesday, August 24th
City Council Meetings - Wednesday @ 6pm and 7pm
Click on the times to see the appropriate agendas. Please check the location.

Harvest Market - Thursday, August 25th
Did the rain spoil your Harvest Market plans last week? Harvest Market is EVERY Thursday!! Located in the Civic parking lot next to the Elgin post office this weekly happening is every Thursday from 12pm-6pm. So head on over as the last day is September 22nd!

A Time to Network and Eat - August 29th
Come to our Out to Lunch - Monday, August 29th @ Noon at Cafe Magdalena.
Our speaker will be Sean Stegall, Assistant City Manager of the City of Elgin, and we will be thanking Bob Beeter from the Elgin Police Department. We will be having a buffet meal with free drinks for $6.50. Please remember to tip, and RSVP by August 26th. Thanks!!

Do you like old houses and their history? - ASAP
The Historic Elgin House Tour could use your help!! They are in need of volunteers to help on September 10th from 1:20pm-5:00pm and on Sunday September 11th from either 9:50am-1:30pm or 1:20pm-5pm. Please call Sandy at 847.347.1589 to help and get a FREE TICKET.

Bleu Delph Flower Shop Relocates

The Bleu Delph Flower Shop is now located at 17 N. Grove. Stop in and see the unique arrangements Jonathan creates. Read Lenore Adkins' article in the Sunday Daily Herald.

Monday, August 15, 2005

It's Happening Downtown, the Week of August 15th

Thursday, August 18th
What: Harvest Market
Time: 12 to 6 pm
Where: Civic Center parking lot at the corner of Highland and Grove

Friday, August 19th
Deadline for the United Way Day of Caring
Volunteers are needed to help your community and the downtown!! If you haven't signed up with the United Way yet for a project let us give you some ideas. Three projects that are in or very close to our Downtown are still in need of volunteers. Please look below and contact DNA so that we may form a group to go help with at least one of these projects.


1) Boys and Girls Club of Elgin Code #1 - 355 Dundee Ave. - Needs to be scraped and painted
Skills & Supplies: Painting experience, ladders, any painting equipment
Full day project - # of Volunteers needed: 12-24 people

2) Near West Neighbors Association Code #12 - North side of W. Chicago Street between State St. and North Crystal Street - Brush Clean-up
Skills & Supplies: small chain saw, rakes, work gloves
Half day project - # of Volunteers needed: 10-20 people

3) Wellington Neighborhood Code #26 - Lower Wellington - Operation Clean Sweep
Skills and Supplies: Garden Gloves, small chain saw, rakes, weed whackers
Half day project - # of Volunteers needed 40-5)

Saturday, August 20th
What: Saturday Night at the Movies
Presented by the City of Elgin and the Cultural Arts Commission. "The Adventures of Robin Hood" Errol Flynn at his best. It's free. Bring a chair or blanket. Consessions by DNA.
Time: 8pm
Where: Hemmens south lawn

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Prairie Street Sewer Construction Begins Monday

From the Saturday Courier News
Portions of Prairie Street will be closed starting Monday as construction crews begin the installation of a new street sewer.
"The project consists of installing a new storm sewer on Prairie Street from Villa Street to the Fox River," said Steve Pertzborn, the city's senior engineer. "The new sewer will separate the storm water runoff from the existing combined storm/sanitary sewer on Prairie Street and transport the storm water directly to the river."
Pertzborn said businesses will be notified of intermittent road closures impacting business access. Street parking also will be limited during working hours. At the end of each work day, roadways will be reopened.
The project is scheduled for completion in mid-October.
For more information, contact Pertzborn at (847) 931-5955.

Elgin Puerto Rican Day Parade 2005

Three queens, but who's the driver?

The rain stayed away for the 2005 Elgin Puerto Rican Day Parade. The parade started at the U46 Administration building at 355 E. Chicago headed north on Geneva then west on Division to the Civic Center parking lot. After the parade everyone went to the plaza for food and entertainment.

The young ladies competing for Miss Hispanidad gathered for a photo in their colorful Fiesta Salsa shirts. See the Fiesta Salsa blog for more photos.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Demi & Cooper Ribbon Cutting

An Elgin Area Chamber ribbon cutting was held on Friday at Demi & Cooper Advertising. They renovated the Elks Club on VIlla St. into their offices. They are the firm that created the "It's Happening Here" ad campaign. See a previous post for more info.

An Artist's Studio

A downtown street became an artist's studio on Friday afternoon. Local artist, Timothy King, used the backdrop of a Chicago St. streetscape for his next work of art. You can see his work here or here.

Project Management Team Approved by Council

The city council approved the reformation of the Project Management Team (PMT) on Wednesday night. Read Nathaniel Zimmer's article in the Courier News. Read Christine Byers' article in the Daily Herald.

Saturday Night at the Movies, Episode III, Last Chance

The last two movie nights were great. Cool weather, no bugs and a movie from the days when special effects didn't overshadow key elements of movie making such as acting, directing and writing. Join the crowd on the south lawn of the Hemmens Cultural Center on Saturday, August 20th. The City of Elgin and the Cultural Arts Commission is presenting the 1938 classic, "The Adventures of Robin Hood", staring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland and Basil Rathbone. View the trailer or learn more from the Errol Flynn website. The movie starts at 8 pm. So bring a chair or a blanket and enjoy a free movie by the riverfront. DNA will be selling popcorn and other goodies

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blogging Seminar

A seminar on blogging was held at the Gail Borden Public Library on August 11th. The presenters were: Steve Munson (Downtown Elgin), Rick Sopha (The Elginite) and Mike Kemmler (CMLNow, FCCMission). Sixteen people came out to learn about blogging. We created a blog during the presentation and demonstrated mobile blogging by taking a photo of the audience and posting it using a camera phone. The presentation materials are available at the Downtown Tech blog.

New Technology Blog

A new technology blog, called Downtown Tech, has entered the blogosphere. It's purpose is to share technology tips for downtown organizations and other non-profits.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Project Management Team to Return?

The Project Management Team (PMT), which last met in 2003, may be coming back. The topic will be discussed at tonight's city council meeting. Read the article in the Wednesday Daily Herald.

Another change proposed to revive the team includes selecting two downtown
developers instead of two downtown businesses. That’s because the Downtown
Neighborhood Association represents downtown businesses and can adequately serve as their voice, city economic development director Ray Moller said.

“Developers are making huge investments here and what’s happening in
the center city impacts them,” Moller said. “And they have conversations with
the people who are coming here to buy.”

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Downtown Elgin Resident to Host "Design on a Dime"

Downtown resident, Brice Cooper, will host 26 HGTV "Design on a Dime" shows. They will all be shot in the Chicago area. Here is the application if you would like to have a room made over. Read Christine Byers' front page story from Tuesday's Daily Herald.

Trivia, Brice was the creator of the "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" Window Wonderland display. The Window Wonderland theme was Songs of the Season. He also created a unique home holiday display with Santa climbing in a window.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

It's Happening Downtown, the Week of August 8th

Tuesday, August 9th
What: Design Committee Meeting
Time: 12 to 1 pm
Where: Meet at the DNA office, 2 Douglas.

Thursday, August 11th
What: Economic Restructuring Committee Meeting
Time: 8 am
Where: Meet at the DNA office, 2 Douglas.

What: Brown Bag Lunch on Elgin's Music Teachers
David Brown will present a Brown Bag Lunch program on music teachers of Elgin. $3 admission, members free. Bring your lunch to eat during the program. Dessert and beverages supplied.
Time: 12 to 1 pm
Where: Elgin Area Historical Society and Museum at 360 Park St.

What: Harvest Market
Time: 12 to 6 pm
Where: Civic Center parking lot at the corner of Highland and Grove

Saturday, August 13th
What: Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival
Time: 12 pm
Where: Line-up is at 355 E. Chicago Street, parking lot of the U46 Admininistration building, at the corner of Gifford and East Chicago Street. Geneva, Division, and Douglas will be the main Parade routes. This event is organized by the Elgin Puerto Rican Parade Committee. For more information contact Nancy Acevedo.

What: Elgin Skyline Walking Tour
Meet at the city parking lot at the corner of Highland and Douglas. Tour lasts about an hour and a half. Join Mary Hill, Elgin Historian, and experience downtown Elgin from the bottom up and top down. See places you've never seen before. Enjoy Elgin's #1 best kept secret. Wear comfortable shoes! $5 per person, free for Elgin Historical Society members and children under 10.
Time: 1 pm
Where: Meet at the corner of Highland and Douglas.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Street Closing

Symphony Way will be closed from Grove Avenue east to the entrance of the city's parking deck as the water department replaces a fire hydrant beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday.
Crews will be working through the night and expect to be done by 7 a.m. Monday.
The road closure will not affect parking in the deck. Water will be shut off in the area, but service is expected to be restored before residents and guests return to the area.
For more information, contact Sue Olafson, Elgin's public information officer, at (847) 931-5601.
This information appeared in the News Digest section of the Saturday Courier News.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Four Parking Spots Added on Spring St.

Four new parking spots were added on the west side of Spring St. between Division and Highland. I spotted them on Saturday.

The Fine Arts and Bicycle Racing

This weekend brings us two events to broaden our horizons. First, on Saturday and Sunday, August 6th and 7th, the Elgin Fine Arts Festival returns to downtown in the Civic Center Plaza. This is the fourteenth year of the festival. Come downtown to gaze upon a variety of art forms, purchase your favorite piece and listen to some music while having lunch. The hours are 10 to 6 on Saturday and 11 to 4 on Sunday.

Second, on Sunday, August 7th, bicycle racing returns to Elgin. The Elgin Cycling Classic will loop through the downtown streets from early morning until evening. The criterium course is approximately one kilometer. Start is at E. Chicago and Spring; go north one block to Highland; left on Highland two blocks to Grove; left on Grove for three blocks; sharp left turn onto Spring for two blocks to the finish; repeat course. Read the Courier News article.

The schedule is as follows:
8 a.m. - Men's Citizen/Cat 5
Distance: 30 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: More than $500

9 a.m. - Master Men's 40 and older
Distance: 30 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: More than $1,000

10 a.m. - Master Men's 50 and older
Distance: 30 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: More than $500

11 a.m. - Men's Cat 4
Distance: 40 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: More than $750

Noon - Children's races
Race groups:
5- to 6-year-olds; 7- to 8-year-olds; 9- to 10-year-olds; and 11- to 12-year-olds
Entry fee: No charge
Prize: Ribbons for participants and trophies for the winners

1 p.m. - Handcycling race
Distance: 30 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: To be decided

2 p.m. - Women's Open
Distance: 40 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: More than $1,000

3 p.m. - Men's Cat 3
Distance: 40 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $25
Prize: More than $2,025

4 p.m.- Men's Pro/Am
Distance: 60 minutes plus four laps
Entry fee: $40
Prize: More than $5,000

Monday, August 01, 2005

New Police Chief Sworn In

Our new Chief of Police, Lisa Womack, was sworn in today. A large crowd of police, city staff and media witnessed the brief ceremony. City manager, Femi Folarin, Mayor Schock and intermin Chief Robert Beeter spoke and city clerk, Loni Mecum, performed the swearing in. Femi kept the process moving. He said he wanted the chief to get to work.

Womack was selected from 50 applicants from across the country. Recently, she served as police chief of Sugar Land, Texas, a fast growing city outside of Houston, with a population of nearly 71,000.

Chief Womack and family, we welcome yaw'll to our city.

Historic Street Light Program Expanded


The City of Elgin is adding historic street lights to the following streets:

Symphony Way from Douglas Ave to Dundee Ave
Douglas Ave from Symphony Way to Dexter
Spring Street from Kimball Street to Dexter
Center St from Kimball Blvd to Dundee Ave
There will also be two lights on College St.

Construction began July 20th.


El Faro to be Featured on Elgin Today

El Faro Restaurant at 9 N. State St. will be featured on the Elgin Today television program. The show times are:

Tuesday, August 2nd at 7 pm
Saturday, August 6th at 10 am
Tuesday, August 9th at 7 pm
Saturday, August 13th at 10 am

The program is broadcast on Channel 17 on Comcast & Wide Open West.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Downtown Condos

There was an article on the downtown condo craze in Sunday's Daily Herald.
The downtown condo market is just hitting its stride, driven by Baby Boomers looking to downsize and young professionals looking for their first purchases, said Christine Kutt Zolt, marketing and sales director for Norwood Builders.

Imagine the market as a bell curve — on the far left are the pioneers who bought into the first suburban downtown condos 10 years ago, Kutt Zolt said. On the top of the curve is critical mass, where the condo is a generally accepted product.

“I really believe it’s just coming to critical mass” and will last another 10 to 15 years, Kutt Zolt said. “People don’t even think it’s unusual, and it’s where the market becomes very prime.”

It's Happening Downtown, the Week of August 1st

Monday, August 1st
What: Swearing in of new police chief, Lisa Womack.
Time: 8:30 am
Where: Elgin Police Station, 151 Douglas

Tuesday, August 2nd
What: Design Committee Neighborhood Walk
Time: 12 to 1 pm
Where: Meet at the DNA office, 2 Douglas. The area to be covered is bounded by Grove, Highland, Douglas and Chicago.

Thursday, August 4th
What: Harvest Market
Time: 12 to 6 pm
Where: Civic Center parking lot at the corner of Highland and Grove

Saturday, August 6th
What: Fine Arts Fest
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Where: Civic Center Plaza, behind city hall

What: Carbo Load Ride
A leasure bike ride along the race route for the whole family. Free
Time: 6 pm
Where: Cafe Magdalena, 13 Douglas

What: Carbo Load Dinner
A pre-bike race dinner for the whole family. $15 for adults, $10 for children 10 & under
All you can eat pasta, salad and bread. Contact DNA for information and tickets, (847)488-1456
Time: 7 pm
Where: Cafe Magdalena, 13 Douglas

Sunday, August 7th
What: Elgin Cycling Classic, Daily Herald article (Registation required).
Time: 7:45 am to 5:00 pm
Where: Downtown Elgin, Spring to Highland to Grove

What: Fine Arts Fest
Time: 11 am to 4 pm
Where: Civic Center Plaza, behind city hall

Thursday, July 28, 2005

4th of July Parade Float Contest Winners

1. United Brothers of Carpenters and Joiners, Local 363
2. Sherman Hospital

Community Spirit
1. EFS Bank

1. Elgin Theatre Co.
2. Elgin Church of the Nazarene

The Downtown Neighborhood Association and the City of Elgin extend a thank you to all the sponsors, participants, volunteers and spectators.

Ducklings Rescued by Local Shop Owner

Jonathan Winkle, owner of the Bleu Delph Flower Shop on North Grove, contacted animal control Tuesday after hearing quacking coming from a planter. Elgin Animal Control Officer, James Rog escorted the mother duck and three ducklings across East Chicago Street to the Fox River. A photo and caption were in Tuesday's Wednesday's Courier News. These urban ducks enjoy downtown as much as us humans. Fred and Judy Steffen have had a duck nesting on their rooftop deck for a couple of years.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

4th of July Parade Float Contest Winners to be Announced at Council Meeting

Awards will be presented to the winners of the float contest along with recognition of the volunteers and sponsors at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, July 27th at 7pm. The meeting is being held at the Heritage Ballroom in The Centre.

Thousands of Elgin residents lined up along beautiful Douglas Avenue to enjoy Elgin’s annual 4th of July Parade. More than 125 groups participated. The Downtown Neighborhood Association and the City of Elgin extend a thank you to all the sponsors, participants, volunteers and spectators.