“People Street” to Pop Up, Activate Andersonville’s North End on Friday

This block of Olive St between Clark and Ashland will be transformed into a pop-up park. Photo: Google Street View.

Even though Chicago may not be getting any Open Streets this year, we don’t have to worry about any shortage of opportunities to enjoy car-free streets full of live music, local food, and beautiful summer weather. Chicagoans can instead turn to the city’s scores of summertime street festivals, including a new concept in Andersonville: two “Pop-Up Park & Market” events this summer.

During the event, one short block of Olive Street, between Ashland and Clark, will transform into “the neighborhood’s newest public park” — complete with trees, seating, and plenty of activities.

Brian Bonanno of the Andersonville Development Corporation said Olive was selected because it’s in the northern, less-trafficked part of Andersonville. The southern end of Andersonville, near Foster and Berwyn, has plenty of foot and bike traffic and dozens of shops hugging the sidewalks. That intense foot traffic wanes around Catalpa Avenue, where the large Jewel-Osco supermarket breaks up the parade of storefront windows with two blocks of parking lot and blank wall. The pop-up park will hopefully entice more people to wander past the Jewel-Osco, north of Bryn Mawr, and patronize the local coffee shops, restaurants, and home furnishing stores at Clark’s northern tip.

A large Jewel-Osco parking lot breaks up the cozy, storefront feel of Andersonville – but there’s more to see further north, too. Photo: Google Street View.

Olive was also selected for the project in the hopes that it will introduce local residents to the positive benefits of having more lasting public space in their neighborhood. Bonanno hopes that the pop-up park in Andersonville warms people to the idea, after local residents expressed skepticism last year about turning one block into a park or public plaza.

Bonanno cited Kempf Plaza in Lincoln Square as an example. Situated between busy Lawrence Avenue and quiet Leland Avenue, and perpendicular to the traffic-calmed oasis of Lincoln Avenue, the plaza was once a through street but was converted to a public plaza in 1979. At first, drivers complained that the plaza was an inconvenience, but nowadays, the city would have a very hard time convincing anyone that the popular space would be worth giving up in favor of a few parking spaces and some cut-through traffic. Like Kempf Plaza, Olive has relatively few entrances directly facing it.

The pop-up park, just around the corner from The Coffee Studio and its parklet, will feature places to sit and enjoy some grub from food trucks. Visitors will get a chance to play bocce ball and perhaps some other games, such as life-size chess. Musicians will also perform and a family friendly movie, “The March of the Penguins,” will be shown outside from 8-10 PM.

The event will take place on Friday, July 25th and Friday, August 29th, from 4-10 PM, on Olive Street between Ashland and Clark.

  • Alex Oconnor

    The roughly 1000 feet running from The Walgreens and its surface parking lot up to the Mcdonals just south of the Piatto Pronto is a massive hole in the urban fabric that ought to be redeveloped into a more people centered style of development.

    It is such a dead zone that breaks up one of the better people centered commercial strips on the far north side.

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    That’s private property that I assure you is needed. Businesses are not in the business of leaving revenue on the table.

    You can’t eminent domain your way to a utopia.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    That sounds great!
    Are you planning on buying the Jewel, the Walgreens and the McDonalds and investing your money into the project? Ok, maybe not. Do you think the city should come in with eminent domain, condemn the property and sell it off to a developer? Where’s that been done before in the city of Chicago to three major commercial properties (which generate a lot of sales taxes) in a community that isn’t hardly hurting for economic development.

    You can propose all you want, but if you don’t have the money or a serious plan behind it, it never goes anywhere.

    The most positive thing you can do is fight the NIMBYs when a developer finally proposes something for the old Edgewater Hospital site on Ashland.

  • Alex Oconnor

    It was simply an observation and suggestion. I never said anything about eminent domain.

    Your passive aggressive tendency of putting words in people’s mouths is tiresome.

  • Alex Oconnor

    If you can find “eminent domain” in my post I invite you to illustrate it.

    That is if you can read. Because apparently you cannot.

  • Corn Dog Aficionado

    “That is if you can read. Because apparently you cannot.”

    Haha, that paragraph is good for a laugh.

    You imply eminent domain everytime you come on strong saying some area needs to be redeveloped to allow more “people centered” style.

    Eminment domain is theoretically for the benefit of the public, no matter what if you believe kelo v new london. You need eminent domain for your pie in the sky plans. You just don’t know it yet.

  • Wewilliewinkleman

    I’m hardly a passive aggressive.

    Be that as it may, I really dislike terms like “urban fabric”. There’s lots of components to every city. What I like and appreciate is that it isn’t the same everywhere I go. If I wanted sameness, I’d live in the suburbs. And some streets have their hiccups. I’ve lived in Chicago 30+ years and have seen some things evolve for the better and other things not. Additionally, I’ve seen projects that were heralded as terrific investment turn out not so well as times and tempos change.

    At one time the strip mall at the corner of Berwyn and Broadway was heralded as a great investment for Edgewater. At the time Winthrop and Kenmore to he east was known as arson alley and any investment in the area was seen as important to stabilize the community. Thirty years on, maybe not so good from one perspective, but it still serves the needs of the community.

    It’s great to blue sky something. But thirty years ago no one planned for the growth of Andersonville and its retail district on Clark to turn into what it
    is now. I remember when it was filled with antique stores, 2nd hand stores and book sellers and independent delis. I don’t spend much time in Andersonville anymore except a trip occasionally to the Brown Elephant.

    I’ve been to many planning meetings in Edgewater where residents are surveyed as to what they want in their neighborhood. Great ideas come out of these, however, very little actually happens because there has to be both willing sellers, buyers and willing investors.

    So dream on. However recognized that what you want has to be grounded in reality and investors have to be found to make it happen. And once
    it happens it still may not turn out as you so wish.

  • Alex Oconnor

    I do not imply anything.

    You on the other hand infer whatever you so wish; unleashed to any semblance of fact.

  • duppie

    Here is your change to provide input on the future of Andersonville. Ther eis space to voice your concerns about that apparent hole in the urban fabric.

    http://www.andersonville.org/avillestudy14/

    but, as Willie mentioned, don’t get your hopes up…

  • Vitaliy Vladimirov

    100% agree with you – the Walgreens/7-Eleven/Jewel parking lots are wasteful and are never full and the diagonal parking spots sit empty most of the week. It’s a dead zone – there has to be a way to reconfigure the space to add more trees/plantings – it’d be perfect for a Divvy stop whenever they can get more bikes.

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