Saturday, December 22, 2007

Get Your Gifts in Downtown Elgin

Mom, Dad, and anyone else on my Christmas gift-buying list, if you’re reading this, stop right here. The following article contains top secret information about your Christmas gifts. And I’ll totally know if you read it by the fake look of surprise when you open them on Tuesday. So, shoo.

Okay, everybody else, you’ve got just a few hours left to get some really unique gifts in Downtown Elgin for those hard to buy for people on your list. Yes, you heard me right, there is shopping in Downtown Elgin. I have proof. Allow me to explain.

So, I’m looking for a wine rack for my parents. But not one that when people come over they say, “Oh, I have that wine rack. Target, right?” I want a really nice wine rack that elicits a “Where on God’s green earth did you get that wine rack, it’s so cool!” kind of response. Yes, some people do get that excited about wine racks.

I go to the typical places. I brave the horrendous traffic on Randall Road to deal with people whose Christmas spirit is clearly waning. And I see the same few pieces of metal welded together to hold a couple bottles of wine. Blah, blah, blah.

But then, I go to Lily Falls in Downtown Elgin. Vicki has four different wine racks to choose from, each one as cool as the next. And she crawls around on the floor playing with my one year old while I shop. Plus, while I’m there, I find something for my sister-in-law and my girlfriend. Score!

Next was the mother-in-law. What to get for the woman from whom you stole her only son? I suggest a gorgeous antique pin from Keeney’s.

Patricia Keeney’s family has been in business in Downtown Elgin for 125 years – she not only sells treasures, she is one. Her grandfather transitioned the business from a drug store to a sporting goods store back in the 1930s. And Patricia put her two cents in, as she has been known to do, by adding P.K. Antiques to the mix. She has some really beautiful antique jewelry and some fabulous 1970’s coats. So, I got the gorgeous pin for my mother-in-law, and I got a letterman’s jacket for my Elgin High football player nephew. Score, again!

Now, if I was a husband with a brilliant wife who wanted something dazzling to celebrate their seven wonderful years of marriage and the sacrifice that she endured to carry their first-born child, I might stop in to Shockey Jewelers or Elgin Jewelers. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

Gift certificates are always great, too. How about two tickets to the Elgin Symphony Orchestra and a gift certificate to a downtown restaurant? Or a day of pampering at the new Salon Couture? Or coffee for a month at Ravenheart or Let’s Meet for Coffee?

There is something for everyone on your list, especially if you’re looking for something unique and you want a little personal attention. See all that Downtown Elgin has to offer, for the holidays and everyday, at

I can’t wait for Tuesday when my parents open their gift and people ask “Where on God’s green earth did you get that wine rack?” and I can say, “Downtown Elgin.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

DNA Holiday Soiree... Was it snazzy enough for ya?

So, all 75+ of you who braved the non-existent ice storm to attend the DNA Holiday Soiree at Martini Room, did you have a good time? What did you like about it? What can we change for next year to make it better? We're already working on the weather, but what else? Let us know what you think!

We heard many positive comments about the jazz band. If the band were to play Martini Room on a regular basis, would you become a Martini Room regular?

Thank you, and Happy Holidays!

Tonya & Jennifer

Photos by David Benson

Gettin' Snazzy in Downtown Elgin

As Tom Skilling was all but forbidding people to leave their homes during the ice storm that was really nothing more than some plain old rain last Tuesday night, a crowd of people were enjoying some snazzy, jazzy holiday fun in downtown Elgin’s Martini Room at the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s Holiday Soiree (which is pronounced swor-A… it’s just a snazzy name for a party. Feel free to use it for your next gathering. People will think you are ultra cool).

There was a live jazz band, favorite fare from downtown restaurants and, of course, snazzy cocktails that slosh over the rim of their snazzy glasses in transit. Luckily, that was the only sloshing going on. Everyone was very well behaved.

Events like this where neighbors, fellow business owners, city staff and organizations can connect and enjoy their downtown is where the true “power meetings” are happening. Over the next few days I heard some great stories of people making new business contacts, trying out a new restaurant, and changing their perspective on what is and what can be in downtown Elgin.

Martini Room is one of our many best kept secrets down here. We at DNA hope that events like our Holiday Soiree will turn the rumor mill on turbo speed. If you have a good time downtown, tell someone about it. Did you love the music? Tell someone. Did you love the food? Tell someone. Better yet, bring some friends or clients with you to check it out for themselves. And then post your comments on our blog so you can tell the whole wide world about it!

Though we love for people to have a good time, we don’t throw parties (or soirees) just to throw parties. We want our parties, events, workshops and all that we do to have an economic impact on our downtown businesses. We want you to shop, dine, enjoy, live in and love downtown, and we want our businesses to prosper.

With marketing dollars in high demand and attention spans at an all-time low, the personal invitation is still one of the most effective marketing tools out there. Use it. I’ll start… uh-hem… I, Tonya Hudson, am personally inviting you to enjoy your downtown. Make the most of what is here, and believe me when I say, more is sure to come.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

There’s more than meets the eye downtown

As I’ve been walking the streets of downtown Elgin over the past two months as the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s new director, two things have become very apparent.

Number one: I really need to get some comfortable shoes. And number two: Downtown Elgin is a victim of that nasty little fallacy called the sweeping generalization.

I first learned about sweeping generalizations in Helen Gudeman’s English class at Larsen Middle School. A sweeping generalization is an error of omission that assumes what is true under certain conditions must be true under all conditions.

For example, the statement “all birds have wings so all birds can fly.” Well, that sweeping generalization doesn’t account for those poor little land bound birds like the penguin and the emu.

Okay, here’s another one: I don’t go to Downtown Elgin because there is nothing there for me.

That may have been true five years ago, but it certainly isn’t true now. There are more restaurants, retail, professional services, residents and events down here than there have been in a long time. And there are more coming.

So, I challenge you to sweep those generalizations under the rug and support downtown revitalization by doing these five things:

(1) Have lunch or dinner downtown once a month.
The holidays are a great time to bring out of town friends and family downtown to experience our unique and charming restaurants. They can eat at a Chili’s in any city, but they can only at Elgin Public House in Downtown Elgin.

(2) Give the businesses a chance to change your mind.
For your next haircut, or insurance quote, or picture to be framed, try our downtown merchants. I can tell you from personal experience that it is really rewarding to support local, independently owned businesses. You are personally helping someone to succeed and you’ll get that personal touch that is often missing at the big chains.

(3) Stay informed.
DNA sends an email blast every Thursday that has the top ten things happening in downtown Elgin that week. And I’ll tell you, it’s hard to choose only ten. You can sign up for the e-blast on our website.

(4) Volunteer
We are having an open call for people interested in volunteering on Thursday, December 13 at 8:30am at the DNA office in the Elgin Tower Building. Our volunteers are directly involved with projects that promote, beautify and revitalize downtown. Stop by or give me a call to talk about our volunteer opportunities.

And, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say…

(5) Become a member or a sponsor of DNA.
You’ll make great personal and professional contacts and your sponsorship dollars will be a smart investment. You can play a direct role in revitalizing downtown by partnering with us.

So, are you with me? Good. I’ll see you downtown. And don’t laugh at my gym shoes and business suit. It’s a downtown thing.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

And Bob in his hardhat and Joe on his Cat have just settled down for a long winter’s nap.

Construction has come to a close on Phase I of the Downtown Elgin Streetscape Plan, just in time for a flurry of holiday activities.

Though a few barricades and sandbags remain, not a dump truck will be stirring, not even a drill until early next year.

Okay, enough with the forced ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas metaphors – they just don’t really work with construction terminology.

Anyway, it’s the most wonderful time of the year to come downtown and see what you’ve been missing. Starting today.

Ever seen a real live reindeer? Dasher, Dancer, Prancer and the whole gang is hanging out in the City Hall parking lot today. No, they’re not awaiting their court date, though they are a wily crew. They are part of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s annual Window Wonderland event happening today all throughout downtown Elgin.

Santa’s here too making a special appearance to promote his new movie. That guy is always reinventing himself. He’s like the Travolta of the North Pole. The kiddies can have lunch with him at The Centre from 11 to 12:30 or 1 to 2:30 – just give a call to 847-931-6100 to pre-register. Santa will also be available for free pictures in the Professional Building at 164 Division Street from 12 to 5pm. How can Santa be in two places at once, you ask? As my nephew would say, “Duh, he’s Santa.” Duh.

There’s also a live nativity scene in the parking lot next to the Galleria on North Grove with Larkin Avenue Baptist Church presenting a narration of the Gospel of Luke. Carolers will accompany the “bahs” and “moos”.

Now the main event, as the name implies, are the decorated storefront windows sprinkled throughout downtown. More than 25 businesses and volunteer groups decorated windows in the theme of “Holidays of the Past, Present and Future.” You’ll get a passport to help you make your way around downtown to find the windows. You can travel by foot or by trolley to survey the handiwork and then vote for your favorite. Many of the businesses are offering free hot chocolate and other goodies and lots of fun activities so be sure to stop in and get your passport stamped.

The day closes with fun in Festival Park as the city presents its annual tree lighting ceremony beginning at 5pm, complete with free sleigh rides and readings of the Polar Express.

So bring the family down for some holiday fun. You’ll be surprised to see what a few watts of electricity and a little holiday cheer can do. No doubt you’ll have visions of downtown Elgin dancing in your head.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

‘Tis the Season for Giving

I felt like a kid on Christmas morning.

Earlier this week the Downtown Neighborhood Association received an envelope from the Grand Victoria Foundation. And it wasn’t one of those thin, bulk-mailed “we regret to inform you” envelopes. It was a thick, typewriter-addressed “we’ve got good news for you” envelopes.

I tore it open to find the gift that I never knew I had always wanted… DNA had been chosen to receive a $10,000 grant from the Grand Victoria Foundation’s Grantworks Program.

Even my favorite Christmas gift of all time – the Deluxe Easy Bake Oven – couldn’t compete with this.

DNA is now in the company of other local non-profits such as Boys & Girls Club, the Elgin Public Museum and the Literacy Connection who have been able to take some big leaps forward with the help of the Grand Victoria Foundation’s Elgin Grantworks Program. The program offers general operating grants and a variety of tools and learning opportunities to enhance Elgin's nonprofit sector.

“Giving” may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the riverboat. But you may be surprised to learn that the Grand Victoria Casino allocates 20 percent of its annual adjusted net operating income to programs that benefit the community. Of that 20 percent, 12.5 percent is directed to the Grand Victoria Foundation, which manages and administers the funds through grant programs like Elgin Grantworks.

The grant from Grand Victoria Foundation is the first private grant that DNA has received in its almost ten years of existence. I could flatter myself and say that the poignant prose of our grant proposal moved the Foundation directors to tears. But then I’d have to tell myself to get over myself. This victory belongs to the DNA volunteers.

So, in the spirit of the season, I would like to “give thanks” to all the volunteers who have worked so hard over the past ten years to build DNA into an organization that the Grand Victoria Foundation felt was worth investing in. You know who you are. You’ve knocked on doors asking for sponsorships. You’ve called in every favor you had saved up in your lifetime. You’ve stood outside in 100 degree heat at the 4th of July Parade and you were still patriotic when it was all over.

So, on behalf of the DNA Board of Directors and the Staff, thank you volunteers, for all that you have done and continue to do to support downtown revitalization. You are appreciated.
Oh, and I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t say we are currently recruiting volunteers for 2008. If you are interested in learning more about how to get involved with DNA, give me a call at (847) 488-1456 or email me at

Friday, November 09, 2007

Downtown Wayfinding Signs

No, you’re not seeing quadruple.

Last week the City had four examples of new wayfinding signs installed along South Grove Avenue between Prairie and Fulton Streets. At first glance they may seem identical, but if you take a closer look you’ll see some small variations.

The City’s Project Action Team is soliciting feedback from the community about the signage. The Downtown Neighborhood Association has offered this blog as a quick and easy way to let them know what you think.

If you’re pretty adept at getting around downtown, try to think like an out-of-towner as you scope out the signage. Like Uncle Ned from Wisconsin. If he’s driving by at 20 miles per hour, would that sign be helpful or confusing? Is there enough information? Is there too much? Is it the right information?

Having just come off a major signage project at Judson University, I’ve learned a thing or two about signage. Number one – signs are information tools. They should present information clearly and effectively. Number two – signs are marketing tools. So, not only should they present information clearly and effectively, but they should present it in an appealing and eye-catching way. And that way is different for each business or organization or, in this case, city.

For example, though St. Charles and Elgin may have the same information on its signs, like directions to the riverfront or to the library, the signs themselves would be as different as St. Charles and Elgin are from each other.

Though you should never judge a book by its cover, people will judge a city by its signage. Which is why the City has invested a lot of time and resources into a comprehensive wayfinding signage system for downtown. It’s all part of the downtown streetscape project. The signs you see on Grove are just one example. We will see more popping up as phases of construction are completed.

So here’s your chance, Elgin. Check out the signs and get to blogging.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Safety in Numbers

When I told my dad about my new job in downtown Elgin, he bought me a celebration gift. A can of pepper spray.

My dad’s gift got me thinking about the perception of safety in Downtown Elgin. And about how perceptions are often a few steps behind reality.

The City of Elgin recently conducted a survey to capture the public’s perceptions about a variety of issues, one of which was safety. The survey showed that 89% of people feel safe walking in Downtown Elgin during the day. However, after the sun goes down in the city, only 42% of people said they feel safe walking Downtown.

In reality, the crime rate in Elgin is actually considered low, relatively speaking, despite some recent crime “spikes.” In fact, the rate of violent crime in Elgin dropped 12 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to the Elgin Police Department’s 2006 Annual Crime Report.

Another recent study showed that when compared to eight other Illinois cities of similar size and scope, Elgin was second only to Naperville for having the lowest crime rate.

Surprised? I was. And then I wondered how many dads give their daughters pepper spray when they get jobs in downtown Naperville.

But, in the end, perceptions trump stats. Though stats don’t lie, they also don’t make your heart beat any slower when you’re walking alone at night on a dark, desolate street.

“Dark” and “desolate” are two words that the City and the Downtown Neighborhood Association are hoping to get out of people’s vocabulary when they’re talking about downtown Elgin. And changing the way we talk about Downtown is a big step towards changing others’ perceptions of it.

The City’s downtown streetscape project will replace those bad “D” words with good “B” words like “bright” and “bustling.” Enhanced street lighting is one of the project’s key features. Take a stroll down South Grove Avenue and you can see what they will look like. And brick sidewalk and street pavers, newspaper stands, benches, planters and other aesthetic upgrades will all help to make the Downtown appear more attractive and welcoming for new businesses, residents and visitors.

Increased pedestrian traffic also contributes to the feeling of safety in a downtown. Maybe because we know that there is safety in numbers. Take Michigan Avenue for instance. You probably don’t feel unsafe walking the Mag Mile at night, even though you may be stepping over sleeping street people along the way. It’s bright. It’s bustling. It feels relatively safe.

I’m certainly not advocating to let your guard down, whether you’re downtown or uptown. Being aware of your surroundings is key to staying safe. But I am advocating that as you look at those surroundings when you’re walking downtown, see how they have changed and are changing. Then tell someone about it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Take Five This Week

This has been the week of “I’ll be five minutes late” meetings.

Construction on Chicago Street this week caused more than a few of my appointments to call and say they would be five minutes late. The tension in their voices was even louder than the jackhammers in the background.

For those of us who work downtown, the loud machinery and the flying dust is part of the job. We wave to the construction guys. We leap over chunks of concrete on the sidewalk. We calm people down over the phone as they try to get to our meetings. And we remind ourselves that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

But for those of you who only frequent downtown for occasional meetings and trips to the post office, do not despair. There’s help out there for you.

The City of Elgin has a website called “Gettin’ Around in Downtown” that is devoted to the Central Business District Streetscape Project. You can access it from the city’s homepage at There you can learn all about the streetscape project and see video and images of what our revitalized downtown will look like. You’ll also find weekly construction updates, detour routes and the best places to park.

So for your own sanity’s sake, before you come downtown, check the Construction Updates area of the website. It will make those five extra minutes it takes to get to where you need to go much more enjoyable.

My suggestion is to park in one of the garages on Symphony Way, Spring Street or Fulton Street or in the civic lot on Douglas and walk to your destination. It will give you a chance to see the construction progress up close. Take a gander at S. Grove Street where the new brick pavers, sidewalks, street lights and curbs are in. You might even see the first crop of people moving into the new Fountain Square condos.

And while you’re down here, you might as well stop and have some lunch. Akina’s Thai Restaurant is just a hop, skip and a jump across the rubble from Fountain Square. I recommend the Paht Takrai (Lemon Grass Stir-Fry). You get to choose how spicy you want your dish prepared. I’m a two-star “medium” girl myself, but if you’re feeling crazy, go for the five-star “suicide.”

And don’t forget, you have to pick up that gift for so-and-so for that thing this weekend. So stop by that charming new little Lily Falls Gift Boutique at 10 Douglas. Say hi to Vicki for me.

On your way back to the parking garage you may see people in their cars making calls saying they’ll be five minutes late and looking all out of sorts about it. But you’re feeling good, because you’ve seen first hand all of the progress that those five minutes out of your day is bringing to downtown Elgin.


Tonya Hudson is the executive director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin, a volunteer-driven coalition that supports the revitalization of downtown Elgin. She is a lifelong Elgin resident, a graduate of Judson University, a wife and a new mom. You can stop in and see Tonya at the DNA office on the first floor of the Tower Building at Chicago and Douglas or send her an email at

Saturday, October 20, 2007

(Re) Discovering Downtown

“I’ve lived in Elgin a long time, and I never knew this was here.”

That could be Downtown Elgin’s new tagline. It may not be catchy, but it’s true.

I recently attended an event at the new Elgin Art Showcase in The Professional Building at 164 Division Street. As I eavesdropped on passing conversations I heard that same sentiment again and again.

People were awed by the grandiose lobby with its gothic arches and marble floors. They were impressed by the top floor gallery and performance space with its large picture windows overlooking a downtown at the crossroads of history and progress.

I myself am a lifelong Elginite and I have never stepped foot in The Professional Building. Never had a reason to. All the professionals in my life leased space elsewhere.

But someone had the brilliant idea to give people a new reason to visit the Professional Building – to experience local visual and performing arts in an affordable, accessible public space. And, at the same time, people can discover 20 or more professional businesses that they never knew were there.

Discovering new uses for old treasures is what revitalization is all about. The discovery usually starts something like “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if Elgin had . . .” Then a group of people say, “Yeah, it would be really great if Elgin had . . .” Then those people add a little elbow grease to their collective passion and make it happen. Then they invite the community to enjoy the final product of their discovery and say “Isn’t it so great that Elgin now has . . . ?” And, hopefully, the community agrees.

And that, my new friends, is what the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) is all about. People who not only have ideas for how to make downtown an exciting and thriving place to live, work and enjoy, but who will readily roll up their sleeves and help make it happen. People who see the downtown as a treasure hunt and who are excited to discover the potential that is hiding here. People who see vacant storefronts as windows of opportunity for business owners and customers alike.

When I read in the newspaper about the position for the executive director of the DNA, I discovered that I am one of these people. I’ve lived in Elgin my whole life, and I never knew that I had such a passion for this city.

Now I’m on a mission to rediscover downtown from a whole new perspective. And I want you to join me. Each week I’ll fill you in on what’s happening down here – the good and the “could be better.” I hope that you will take that step from discovering downtown on Saturday with me in the paper to discovering downtown at an event with me in person.

Maybe we can have t-shirts made with our new tagline.


Tonya Hudson is the executive director of the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin, a volunteer-driven coalition that supports the revitalization of downtown Elgin. She is a lifelong Elgin resident, a graduate of Judson University, a wife and a new mom. You can stop in and see Tonya at the DNA office on the first floor of the Tower Building at Chicago and Douglas or send her an email at

Friday, July 13, 2007

City of Elgin Citizen Request Tracker

I wanted to share my experience with a feature on the City of Elgin website, Citizen Request Tracker. Like many of you, I sometimes view the world of information on the web with blinders on. I visit a site with a specific purpose and go right to the link I need without any exploring. Well, the mind has amazing powers. Even though I never paid much attention to the image on the left, my brain did and when it came time to use it, some neurons got together and said, Hey dummy, why don't you try this. Now back to my story.

Wednesday, July 11th around 11 am.
I was walking north on Spring Street near Fulton. A group of people ahead of me, possibly visitors, has to duck to maneuver around low hanging branches. Yes, I've encountered this obstacle before and said, I should call this in when I get to the office. Alas, the idea is usually forgotten by the time I reach my office but this time I remember.

2:15 pm, Oh ya, that branch. I jump on the city website and go directly to the Citizen Request Tracker and select the "Parkway Tree Trimming" option.

2:47 pm, I receive this email message,
Thank you. A certified arborist will inspect the tree within two business days of the receipt of your request and determine the proper course of action.

Friday, July 13th, 10:52 am
Another email,
We have followed up on your request and the proper steps have been taken to resolve the matter. Your case is now closed. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

I have to see this for myself. Well, no ducking is required, in fact, I don't think you could touch a branch if you jumped up in the air.
Thank you, City of Elgin.

So if you have an issue to resolve, follow these simple steps.
1) Go to and click on the Citizen Request Tracker in the lower right corner.
2) Select an option
Community Development Group
Construction without Building Permits
Excessive Weeds
Junk and Debris on Private Property
Junk and Debris on Tree Bank
Major Auto Repair in Resident Districts
Outdoor Storage of Household Items
Temporary Signs in Yard (not including Realtor signs)
Unpaved Parking
Public Works
Abandoned Shopping Carts
Damage to Playground or Park Equipment
Damaged/Obstructed Signs
Garbage/Recycle Cart Repair & Replacements
Illegal Dumping in Parks
Parkway Tree Trimming
Street Light Malfunction
Traffic Signal Malfunction
3) Fill in the required information
4) Sit back and see what happens. You've done your part to be the eyes out on the streets of Elgin.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Downtown Elgin on Channel 17

If you missed the 4th of July Parade or you want to experience it again, just tune into the City of Elgin Government Access Television on cable channel 17 during the following times:
Tuesdays, Thursdays- 3:30 p.m.
Saturdays- 1:30 p.m.
Don't miss the lively interaction between John Prigge and Jeff Myers as they describe each entry.

Mayor Schock and Councilman Kaptain discuss a "Greener" Elgin on "Elgin Up Close"
Sunday - 9:30 a.m.
Wednesday - 9:30 a.m.
Thursday - 7:00 p.m.
Saturday - 9:30 a.m.

"Elgin Today" hosted by Jeff Myers, features stories on the Residence Tour, Harvest Market, the Senior Fair, and the Library's Space exhibit, astronaut visit and Muggles Night. You can catch the program during the following times:
Sunday - 9;00 p.m.
Monday - 10:00 a.m.
Tuesday - 7:00 p.m.
Friday - 2:00 p.m.
Saturday - 10:00 a.m.

Click here for the complete Channel 17 schedule.

All these shows are on cable channel 17 for Comcast and Wide Open West subscribers in the Elgin market.

UPDATE: View the Fox News interviews with Mayor Schock and Jack and Marlene Shales from the 4th of July Parade here.

Friday, July 06, 2007

DNA Launches New Website

The new website is live. Go to to find out what's happening in Downtown Elgin, Illinois. Next on the agenda, a new look for the blog, and the updates of the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin's communication tools will be complete. Look for it in the fall.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Extended Deadline for FoxFireFest Idol Competition

If you think you have what it takes to be Elgin’s first FoxFireFest Idol winner, don’t miss the chance to try-out to compete at this summer’s Concert Series at Wing Park. The City of Elgin has extended the deadline for the following categories 14-18; 19 and older, and even created a new category for bands! Be ready to take the stage to compete between 6:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., prior to the regularly scheduled 7:00 p.m. concerts on July 10th (14-18 years old), July 17th (19 and older), and July 24th (bands) call right now there is limited availability. It is a first come first serve basis!
Contestants must provide their own music and accompaniment. At each concert, two semi-finalists will be selected from each of these categories to move on to the final competition taking place at FoxFireFest on August 3-5 in Festival Park. Contestants will be judged by a panel of judges made up of FoxFireFest sponsors, in combination with an at-large popular vote. Winners will win prizes and have the opportunity to perform at the Sunday night FoxFireFest concert.

There is a $5 non-refundable fee for all participants. Applications are now available online at the City of Elgin website on the special events page, and will also be available at the Centre and City Hall. For more information, contact the Special Events office at 847-531-7056.

FoxFireFest is sponsored through the generous donations of the 2007 Special Event Season Sponsors; Comcast, The Daily Herald and The Riverfront Action Committee, as well as the “Candlelight” event sponsors- PanCor and LaSalle Bank. For updated details on FoxFireFest, check the city website at

Monday, June 25, 2007

Central Business District Streetscape Project Kick-off Meeting

Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Elgin Area Chamber Office
31 South Grove Avenue
12 Noon – 1 PM
Lunch will be provided

The City of Elgin is hosting a lunch meeting Wednesday, June 27 beginning at 12 noon to provide downtown business and property owners and other key stakeholders an opportunity to learn about the CBD Streetscape Project scheduled to begin within the next few weeks. The meeting will address the anticipated construction schedule and its impact on downtown vehicle and pedestrian traffic. Lunch will be provided.

Phase I of the construction project includes the installation of all new streets and curbs, sidewalks with brick pavers, brick crosswalks, planters, trees and street lighting. Impacted streets during Phase I are: south Grove Avenue between Chicago Street and Prairie Street; Spring Street between Chicago Street and Fulton Street; DuPage Street between Spring Street and Villa Street; and Fulton Street between Spring Street and Villa Street.

This is part of a 5-year, $22 million downtown business district improvement plan.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Elgin Commercial

Remember when the Elgin Area Enhancement Committee was looking for people to take part in a commercial for Elgin?

Well here it is Elgin Commercial.

Or see it on YouTube

Original post.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Did Spidey Web Festival Park?

Did Spidey visit Elgin after the Spiderman 3 premier and web Festival Park?
No, it's just a new play structure. You'll have to wait until the park opens to try it out. The ribbon cutting is on Monday, May 28th at 1:30 pm. The park is located at the corner of Grove and Prairie in downtown Elgin, IL

A view of the entrance from the riverwalk showing the fountain in the foreground.

The festival part of Festival Park with the River Park Place townhomes to the left and the Grand Victoria Casino to the right.

Friday, April 27, 2007

City Launches "Gettin' Around in Downtown" Communication Campaign

The city of Elgin launched a communications campaign called, "Gettin' Around in Downtown", to inform the public about the five year program for replacing water mains, streets and sidewalks.

Elements of the campaign include...
  • A new web site,
  • A town hall meeting in May (Date to be determined)
  • A hotline at 847.931.6767

Read the Daily Herald article from April 27th here.
Stayed tuned for more information.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Downtown Elgin Water Main Construction Updates - April 23

Water Main Installation Construction Continues Through the Week of April 23

ELGIN – Work continues on the Central Business District Street Resurfacing and Streetscape project with the installation of individual water services on Spring Street between Chicago and DuPage Streets the week of April 23.

Northbound traffic on Spring Street will be diverted east on DuPage Street to Villa Street. Southbound traffic on Spring Street will be able to proceed as usual. Two-way traffic will be maintained on Grove Street south between Chicago and Prairie Streets, however, motorists wishing to travel northbound on Spring Street may use Grove Street as an alternative.

Sidewalk, curb and gutter restoration on Grove Street south between Chicago and Fulton Streets will begin mid-week. While two-way traffic will be maintained, flaggers will be directing a single lane of traffic around the construction at times. Motorists are asked to pay special attention when traveling through this area or to avoid the construction zone by using alternate routes.

Specific questions regarding the construction can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185. For general information on the project, please contact Steve Pertzborn, Elgin’s Senior Engineer, at 847-931-5955.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Downtown Elgin Blog Celebrates 2nd Anniversary

Oops, March 11th was the second anniversary for the Downtown Elgin blog. We have been so consumed by upgrades to our other web tools that the two year mark slipped under the radar.

The blog may have been suffering from the classic sophomore slump but the junior year looks promising. Several changes are in store for 2007. A move to the New Blogger along with a new layout. The blog will see a content shift to news flashes and follow up stories, rather than event listings, as features such as the calendar feed and news feeds are now on the web site.

Speaking of changes, here is the update schedule for the Downtown Neighborhood Association web tools.

Click here to be added to the weekly Top 10 List or the Newsletter mailing list.

Want to be in a Commercial?

The Elgin Area Enhancement Committee of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce is asking anyone who lives in Elgin and would like the chance to be part of a commercial promoting the different aspects of diversity within our City. This would include people of all ages, sizes, professions, ethnicities, etc. People who wear uniforms or identifiable work clothes, such as police, fire, chefs, carpenters, dentists, ministers etc. as well as national costumes are especially needed.

The shoot will be on April 19th from 3pm-7pm, in downtown Elgin. There are no speaking lines, no experience is necessary, and the shoot will only take 10-15 minutes of your time.

If you are interested in being a part of the commercial please call Demi Cooper Advertising at 847-931-5800 ext. 10 for specific location, to schedule a time slot, and discuss the dress code.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring Street Water Main Construction

Construction Continues on New Water Main

Work will begin on the installation of the new water main on Spring Street between Chicago Street and Dupage Street. On Monday, April 16th, traffic control will be set up to allow construction of the new water main. Northbound traffic on Spring Street between DuPage Street and Chicago Street will not be allowed during this phase. Northbound traffic will be diverted east on DuPage Street to Villa Street. During this period of construction, two-way traffic will be maintained on south Grove Street and motorist wishing to travel northbound may want to use Grove Ave as an alternative. Southbound traffic on Spring Street will be allowed.

Sidewalk and curb and gutter restoration on south Grove Ave between Chicago Street and Fulton may begin on Wednesday. While two way traffic will be maintained, there may be times when flaggers will be directing single lane of traffic around the construction operation. Motorists are asked to pay attention when traveling through this area and to avoid the construction zone whenever possible.

Specific questions regarding the construction can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185 or at her office in the back of the Downtown Neighborhood Association office at 2 Douglas Ave.

For general information on the project, please contact Steve Pertzborn, Senior Engineer, at 847-931-5955.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Water Main Replacement Continues on South Grove

Water Main Installation Construction for the Week of April 9th.

Construction Continues on New Water Main
Installation of the individual services on south Grove Street between DuPage Court and Fulton / Spring Street will continue during the week of April 9 -13, 2007.

This work will require the closure of south Grove Street between Chicago and Spring Street to through traffic. Motorists wishing to travel south from Chicago Street should use Spring Street.
Access to local businesses from Chicago Street to DuPage Court will be allowed. Pedestrian access to local businesses south of DuPage Court will be allowed. People wishing to access these businesses are encouraged to use the Fulton Street garage. This section should be finished on Tuesday. Underground work on south Grove between Fulton and Prairie will take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights, beginning at 7 p.m. each evening. This block will be closed to all traffic. Southbound traffic from Spring and Grove Streets will be detoured eastbound on Fulton, south on Villa and back westbound on Prairie where they can continue south on Grove Street. Northbound traffic will be detoured eastbound on Prairie, southbound on Villa and back westbound on Fulton where they can continue northbound on either Grove or Spring Street.

Specific questions regarding the construction can be directed to Shelley Costello with TranSystems at 847-871-3185 or at her office in the back of the Downtown Neighborhood Association office at 2 Douglas Ave.

For further information, please contact Steve Pertzborn, Senior Engineer, at 847-931-5955.

Check for construction updates.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Skate Park Meeting

A public meeting to discuss two proposed skate parks will be held on Wednesday, April 4th at 5 pm. The meeting takes place at the Celebration Room in The Centre of Elgin at 100 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL. The new skating facilities are planned for the Grant School Park and the Prairie Park. City staff and others will answer questions and welcome input regarding the preliminary plans for the two parks.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Elgin Then & Now - The Gifford House

This article is courtesy of The Elginite.

Link to the location.

Gifford house

James Gifford house at the turn of the century

James Gifford house in current condition

James Gifford house west facade

This was the home of Elgin’s founder, James T. Gifford. Originally a simple stone house, it reflects a contruction technique native to New York state. Note the cobblestones laid in courses with stone quoins at the corners and stone lintels. The mansard roof and classical detailing (added later) show a Second Empire influence. This is one of the few remaining works of builder Edwin R. Reeves. Gifford Park and Gifford Street are named for the original owner of this home. (source: Gifford Park Association)

The home of Elgin’s founder dates back to 1850. It has been divided into four apartments. I’d like to see it deconverted and restored to its former glory. I wonder if the city should offer special incentives for the rehabilitation of buildings with historic significance (those on the National Register of Historic Places), such as this one. Such a policy would cover only 8 buildings. It’s something we can afford.

I’m especially interested in seeing this building restored, not just because it’s the home of Elgin’s founder, but it’s the finest remaining cobblestone home in Elgin, and probably over a much wider area. It would serve as a fine example for what a distinctive local vernacular architectural style might look like.

It could serve as an inspiration for local builders and developers. If they pick up on the use of cobblestone as a facade element, it could help create a distinctive local architectural style. Even though cobblestone construction is associated with Rochester, it would be pretty much unique in this area.

By the way, this house is for sale at a price of $470,000. The listing says the building is eligible for $70,000 in rehabilitation/deconversion grants, which I don’t think is enough to persuade anybody to convert it into a single family home. After the grants, they would still be paying $400,000, which is excessive for the neighborhood. The city should consider increasing the grant for a house of special historic significance, such as this. Otherwise it will remain a dilapidated apartment building.

Friday, March 23, 2007

South Grove Street Closed March 26-30 for Water Main Work

South Grove Street between DuPage Court and Fulton and Spring Streets will be closed next week, March 26-30, as crews continue water main installation through the Central Business District.

Detour signs will direct south bound motorists to Spring Street. Pedestrian and vehicle access to local businesses from Chicago Street to DuPage Court will be allowed. Parking will be available in downtown's Fulton Street garage.
Downtown Elgin's water main installation work continues as part of the Central Business District $22 million street resurfacing and streetscape project. Construction crews have been working during the overnight hours to help reduce traffic congestion.

For more information, contact Steve Pertzborn, senior engineer, at 847-931-5955.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

UPDATE: South Grove Closed on Monday, March 12th

On Friday, March 9th Monday, March 12th, South Grove Street will be closed between E.Chicago Street and Spring Street to allow for installation of new storm sewer. It is anticipated that the road will be closed between 7am and 4pm. Local access to the Union Bank drive up will be allowed. For further information please contact Steve Pertzborn, Senior Engineer, at 847.931.5955.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Chicago Street Closed Today, March 7th

City to close part of Chicago Street today
Chicago Street will close between Grove Avenue and Spring Street between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. today as city crews work to repair a water leak there.
Water service will be interrupted to area businesses and homes during the time the repair is being made.
"Water will be interrupted only as long as it takes to repair the leak," said Public Works Director John Loete. "However, if there is an inch or more of snow on the ground, the repair will be postponed."
Traffic will be detoured around the area, although crews will try to keep one lane open.
For more information, contact the Elgin Public Works Department at (847) 697-3160.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

13th Annual Elgin Image Awards

The Elgin Image Advisory Commission will host the 13th Annual Image Awards at The Centre of Elgin on Thursday, March 8th at 6pm. RSVP to (847) 931-5592.

Individual-Professional Category
Jennifer Almanza
Jennifer Benson
Jim Durante
Mary Hager-Swanson
Sofia Hedberg
Paul Stocksdale
Janelle Walker

Individual Volunteer Category
Pat Keeney

Project Category
Elgin 1440 Project
Elgin Area Historical Society/Seigle Foundation.
Elgin Toy Giveaway
Huff Elementary School Fence Project
United Way of Elgin, Home Depot, Elgin Housing Authority - KaBOOM Playground

Organization/Business Category
Corn Trust/McBride Building
Downtown Neighborhood Association
The Greens of Elgin.
Village Profile
Walker Parking Consultants

Citizenship Category
Mike Alft
Bob Pleticha
Juan Silva

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Context Sensitive Design Solutions in Transportation Seminar

A special workshop on how to use street design to build vibrant neighborhoods in your community.
• Learn about changing standards in street design;
• Increase knowledge of the impacts of street design;
• Learn how to work with transportation agencies; and
• Identify key urban design features that support a strong community.

THE CITY OF ELGIN is pleased to invite you to a special workshop on how to use street design to build vibrant neighborhoods in your community. The workshop will focus on a design
manual from the Institute of Transportation Engineers and CNU entitled Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities. This proposed
recommended practice helps public officials and planners create context-sensitive streets that function to serve pedestrians, transit-riders, and cyclists as well as motorists.

WHEN: Friday, March 16, 2007
WHERE: The Centre of Elgin, Heritage Ballroom
100 Symphony Way, Elgin, IL 60120
TIME: 8:30am to 1:00pm. LUNCH WILL BE PROVIDED
COST: FREE to all attendees

Please R.S.V.P. before March 12, to Crystal McGuire at the City of Elgin
Phone: 847-931-5939 • Email so that we can plan to provide you with lunch. Space is limited, so please sign up today! We look forward to seeing you on March 16.

Streets are central to adding value to communities. Richly-textured roads
designed for multiple modes of transportation and diverse uses help create
community character and can boost economic, social and cultural activities
along key corridors. As a local decision-maker, you have a number
of opportunities to use street design to enhance your community and
shape its identity. We hope you will take advantage of this unique event.

8:30-9:00am Coffee and refreshments
9:00 – 9:15am Welcome and Opening Remarks
Ed Schock, Mayor, City of Elgin
9:15 – 9:45am Context Sensitive Solutions in Designing Major Urban Thoroughfares for Walkable Communities: History of the project
Jacky Grimshaw, The Center for Neighborhood Technology
9:45 – 10:30am The Complexity of the Street Network: Adding Value to Your Community
John Norquist, President and CEO, Congress for the New Urbanism
10:30 – 11:15am Before and After Examples from the Chicago Region: What Works and What Doesn’t!
John LaPlante, Chief Transportation Engineer, T.Y. Lin International
11:15 – 12:00pm Implementing Ideas in the Manual: How Do We Get from Here to There?
Billy Hattaway, Corridor Planning and Engineering Practice Leader,
Glatting, Jackson, Kirchner, Anglin: Orlando, Florida
12:00pm LUNCH and Social Hour

Special thanks to Nora Beck of the Congress for the New Urbanism, and Beth Dever of the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus for their assistance in putting together the workshop.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

2007 Elgin Mayors Awards for Preservation Nominations

The Elgin Heritage Commission is still seeking nominations for the 2007 Elgin Mayors Awards for Preservation. Nominations can be submitted by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007. The application is available here.

The awards recognize creative and imaginative efforts made toward neighborhood and downtown revitalization with three honors of distinction.

The three honors awards are:
1. The Mayor George Van De Voorde Award which is given to an individual recognizing the continuing vigor, imagination, and persistence in preserving Elgin's heritage.
2. The William Stickling Award which honors achievements in the adaptive reuse of industrial and commercial buildings.
3. The Artisan Award which recognizes the exemplary work of a contractor, craftsperson or artisan in the preservation and restoration of Elgin's architectural heritage.

Elgin's Heritage Commission will select City winners who will then be honored at the annual Mayors Awards for Preservation event Thursday, May 3, 2007 at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.

Nominations can be submitted to Sophia Morales, Community Development Department.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2007 DNA Awards & Luau

DNA Awards & Luau
Thursday, March 1st, 2007
6 p.m. Cocktail Hour (Cash Bar)
7 p.m. Hawaiian Dinner
8 p.m. Award Ceremony
Entertainment: The Barefoot Hawaiian Dancers and The Pan Chicago Band

Luau attire optional

The Centre of Elgin
Heritage Ballroom
100 Symphony Way
Elgin, IL 60120

$30 per person
$300 for a table of eight

Please RSVP by Friday, February 23, 2007
Call (847) 488-1456
Email at

Make checks payable to: Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin
Send to: Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin
2 Douglas Ave
Elgin, IL 60120

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Funding Flows to Fox River Renaissance Alliance Project

The Elgin city council has preliminarily approved $26,000 for a Fox River Renaissance Alliance project. The library board will decide in March whether to fund the remaining $26,000 for the engineering plans. Possible projects include: a fountain in the Fox River north of Kimball Street, a floating wetland that would attract fish and other creatures, and educational gardens. Visitors will be able to watch the fish that swarm to the area using cameras that will transmit signals to the Gail Borden Library. Hitchcock Design Group is expected to complete the plans by April. Funding for construction is expected to come from grants and donations. The project will provide environmental and educational benefits and once again demonstrates that the library is more than just a place to check out books.

Read the article from today's Daily Herald here.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Ina Will Be Making a Difference in Africa

Ina Dews is planning a trip to Rwanda to share her crocheting and quilting skills. She needs to raise $3500 to make the trip possible. Vermont-based Rwanda Knits is the non-profit organization in charge of the trip. It's founder and director, Cari Clement, says Dews would work with orphanages all over the east African country.

You may know Ina from the downtown Harvest Market where she has been manager for many years, or as a member of the Elgin Human Relations Commission or you'll find her at nearly every city council meeting.

So when so asks for your support, please help her, not that you could say no anyway, Ina can be very persuasive.

Read the Daily Herald article here.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Elgin Then & Now - The Post Office

This article is courtesy of The Elginite.

Link to the location.

United States Post Office, Elgin

Carleton Rogers Park - site of old post office

Old post offices are often among the most beautiful buildings in a town, and thankfully many towns have preserved theirs, even though the U.S. Postal Service has long moved out of (most of) them. Elgin unfortunately is not one of those towns.
It was a lovely building. Had it survived, I think it would have been the finest example of Beaux-Art architecture in Elgin. Unfortunately, it was demolished because some people thought it was dirty and seedy, the same complaint they leveled at the Crocker.
Read more about the old Elgin post office.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Storypalooza - What is it?

Storypalooza is coming to the Gail Borden Library.

What's a Storypalooza you might ask? Well, if you are budding videographer, this is your chance for fame and fortune and here's how you do it.

1) Create a video or slideshow on your favorite book or community event. The maximum length is four minutes. Click here for tips on creating your masterpiece.
2) Submit your entry before midnight on February 19th. You must upload the video to YouTube, and then link it to the library by sending an e-mail to Denise Raleigh with the subject line “Storypalooza.”
3) Wait until March to see if your entry is a winner. Public voting for the “My Favorite Book” and "Community Favorites" categories begins Feb. 22 through the library’s Web site, and ends at 5 p.m. March 12. Judges will select the first and second place winners.
4) This is want you could win.
First Community Bank in Elgin is offering cash and merchandise to the top entrants. Judges will award a $350 digital camcorder to the first-place contestant, a $150 camera to the second-place winner, a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card to the “My Favorite Book” entry, and a $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble for the top pick in the “Community Favorites” category. Winners of the first and second prizes are not eligible to win in the book and community categories.

For information, including ways to make videos or use digital pictures or slide shows for the contest, visit the library’s Web site or call Denise Raleigh at (847) 429-5981. Videos must be appropriate for the library’s general audience.

‘Storypalooza’ videos take Elgin’s Gail Borden library by storm - Daily Herald article by Mark Billings

Friday, February 09, 2007

Elgin Then & Now - The Henrietta Block

This article is courtesy of The Elginite.

Link to the location.

Henrietta Block

Henrietta Block today

The downtown Elgin Community College building-often referred to as the Sears building-was built in 1908. It first was called the Henrietta because of the name carved in stone on the pediment above the main entrance, in memory of Henrietta Hackerodt Burritt. She was the first wife of Peter Burritt, whose extensive real estate holdings in Elgin were inherited by Rebecca McBride Burritt Gilbert, his second wife. It was Rebecca who named the building for Henrietta.
The Henrietta was constructed for leasing to Swan's Department store, which occupied the building for 30 years. Theodore F. Swan began his Elgin mercantile career with- a grocery store on River Street (North Grove Avenue) in 1867. By 1880 he had added dry goods and shoes in larger quarters on South Grove. In 1893 he moved his growing business to the Spurling Block (now the Commerce Building) on the northwest corner of DuPage and Spring Streets.
Swan was the first Elgin merchant to introduce the "cash railway system" to send money from any part of the store to the cashier. He also was the first to abandon evening hours in the interest of his employees. Unlike many other stores of the time, Swan's terms were strictly cash. Carrie Jacobs Bond, the composer of "I Love You Truly","Just a Wearying for You", and "The End of a Perfect Day", plugged sheet music sales at Swan's in the early '90s.
Swan's move across the street to the Henrietta gave his operation a main floor of 25,000 square feet. The basement was initially used for storage. The second floor at one time housed the Elks Club. When Theodore F. Swan died in 1922, the business was carried on by his son, Theodore 1. Swan. The store closed in 1938.The Henrietta was then occupied by Sears, Roebuck & Company, which had arrived in Elgin ten years earlier. In 1941 the basement and second-floor selling areas were expanded, and a parking lot to accommodate 85 cars was developed. This compelled the removal of six small houses owned by Gilbert along the Fulton Street frontage. The Sears automotive wing was added in 1948.
The Henrietta block, was erected for $60,000. Its renovations for college use cost more than $2 million. (source:

Elgin Then & Now - The Hubbard Block

This article is courtesy of The Elginite.

Link to the location.



While many of Elgin's pioneers made their money through farming or the dairy industry, William G. Hubbard made his fortune through the dry goods business. Hubbard, a pioneer merchant, opened his building on the corner of Chicago and Douglas in 1851. It was there that he kept company with the best of the movers and shakers that Elgin had to offer. One of HubbardÂ’s original tenets was John Newman, owner and operator of Springbrook Creameries, as well as the owner of over 500 dairies. His other tenets were many of the German enterprises of the day, including SiedelÂ’s Bakery, AdlerÂ’s clothing store and Pabst Chicago House.
The original wooden building was destroyed in one of ElginÂ’s worst fires ever, on March 23, 1974. The fire shattered the glass windows across the street and seared buildings blocks away. It would be replaced with a white brick building that connected many other building on the block via the second and third floors. The second building would come to be known as The Lawyers Building, which was gutted by fire in 1979. It was torn down in 1980. (

The present building, was built in 1999 by Kurt Kresmery.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Rural Neighbors Visit Downtown Elgin

Today's Daily Herald had a photo of a coyote roaming Douglas Ave just north of downtown. This is not the first sighting of our animal friends in the urban landscape of downtown. In the past, I have seen a pheasant strolling across Highland Ave., ducks making nests in the sidewalk planters or on roof top patios. Of course there are the ever present geese, not so unusual. Once, while at Burger King on Dundee, I observed two deer making their rounds with the Elgin police in hot pursuit. I had to go back to the office and email my find. The replies varied from, "Were they pink?" to my wife's question, "Where did you go for lunch?".

Elgin Art Showcase

From the Daily Herald:

After years of running around in circles looking for places to perform, the Janus Theater Company can finally stand still. And this weekend, you can make a beeline to see them in its new home - at the new Elgin Art Showcase in downtown Elgin's Professional Building.

Read the article here.

The Elgin Art Showcase opens this weekend with "Life X 3," a play about a boss's dinner gone horribly wrong. The 90-minute play runs Saturday through March 4 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

What follows below is a list of the showcase's current lineup for this season.
-Art for All's "Uniting People through the Arts" will feature 30 artists in conjunction with Janus Theater performances. This runs Friday through March 4. For more information, call (847) 741-7375.

-The Independent Players will present Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest." It will be performed March 9 and 10, 16 and 17 and 23 and 24. For more information, call (847) 697-7374.

- The SoapBox Theater Company will put on "The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage" by David Ives and Emma Thompson. For more information, call (847) 697-7374. The show runs April 13 through the 29.

-The Janus Theater Company will perform "Murdering Marlowe," a play about the rivalry between William Shakespeare and playwright Christopher Marlowe. It runs May 18 through June 10.

-William Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure" also will be performed by the Janus Theater Company. It runs Aug. 17 through Sept. 9. For all Janus productions, call (847) 931-0637.

If you're an arts group interested in renting space at the venue, call (847) 951-1515

Thursday, February 01, 2007

City Launches Downtown Sales Reimbursement Program for Businesses

The City of Elgin formulated a reimbursement program for downtown business owners adversely affected by the recent Center City street reconstruction.

Businesses located within the geographic area bounded by Grove Avenue to the west, Dexter Avenue to the north, Prairie Avenue to south and Center/Villa Streets to the east may apply for reimbursement for losses incurred between October 1, 2006-November 30, 2006.

Affected businesses will be required to verify the amount of the loss by completing and returning a reimbursement form and supporting documentation to City Hall. City staff will assess the total amount of loss from all businesses and provide that information to City Council for action.

Application forms are available from the City of Elgin Finance Department at City Hall, or the Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) offices at the Tower Building, 2 Douglas Avenue. Forms will also be available from the city website at or the DNA website.

Completed forms and documentation must be received or post marked by February 16, 2007 to the City of Elgin Finance Department. For questions regarding the rebate, please contact Mary at 847-931-5625 or email

Links to newspaper articles:
Courier News
Daily Herald