Neighborhood News

Meet Buena Park Neighbor Jamie Willett

Jamie Willett spends his volunteer energy chairing the Buena Park Neighbors (BPN) Planning & New Business Development Committee. Jamie has a passion for filling available store fronts in Buena Park & adjacent areas with businesses that our community wants by injecting the community’s voice into the retail real estate fulfillment process. Jamie’s looking to add committee members who want to help add more walkable retail and services that keep Buena Park spending in Buena Park. He has a running survey to capture the most-requested retail categories that you can find right here. If you haven’t chimed in yet, please do. His committee works to make connections between business owners and local realtors, developers and building owners as a big part of the overall BPN Master Planning efforts.

Jamie and his wife Katie moved to Buena Park more than five years ago from the heart of Lincoln Park. They fell in love with the neighborhood and immediately connected with its potential, lake proximity and vintage buildings. You can find them with their two daughters and dog Rory biking to the beach, chilling at the Peace Garden and climbing every playground.

When Jamie is not lauding the benefits of being a BPN member or business he is Director of Product-Market Strategy for OneMe PBC, a data privacy startup, under the secret identity “James.” He has 18 years of experience in corporate business strategy, branding and digital media innovation. He’s also bullish on the potential of Buena Park and ready to hear from anyone with an idea for filling store fronts. You can reach him at


Chicago Public Library Summer Learning Challenge

It’s not too late to take the Summer Learning Challenge! This free, drop-in program for children from birth through age 13 runs until September 1.  All children who participate receive an Explorers Guide with suggestions for fun activities.  Participants will also be invited to bring their families for free to Shedd Aquarium on Family Day in September.

During “Earth Explorers!” for school age children, you’ll find new books, programs, STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities and many ways for school-age kids to keep their brains active. A special “Little Readers” program for birth to age five will help you help your child to develop early literacy skills.

Check out upcoming activities on the Uptown Branch site. Bring your child to the Uptown Branch to register in person and pick up your guide and reading log during the following hours:

Mondays and Wednesdays             11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Tuesdays and Thursdays                1:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Saturdays                                          10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

For more information, call or visit the Uptown Branch at 929 W. Buena Avenue (312-744-8400), or email Children’s Librarian Laura Jenkins.

Sculpture “Phoenix Rising” Looms over Buena Park’s Northern Gateway

From 46th Wqard Alderman James Cappleman:

Today, I was thrilled to dedicate our brand new Uptown sculpture, Phoenix Rising, created by local artist Lucy Slivinski.

There are many people to thank for bringing this project to fruition. We owe a sincere thank you to Mayor Rahm Emanuel for his strong support and dedication to citywide, local art initiatives, including the Year of Art. This project would not have been possible without the team at Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, especially Commissioner Mark Kelly, and their commitment to seeing this project through to its completion. We are also grateful to Jackie and Peter Holsten, Jenn Kincaid from Uptown Underground, and Martin Sorge from Uptown United, who gave their time and lent us their creative minds throughout this process. Finally, we are ever so grateful to the artist, Lucy Slivinski. Uptown is so fortunate to have had the opportunity to benefit from her artistic resplendence.

The sculpture is made in part from salvaged materials from the Uptown community. Last summer, my office opened on a Saturday morning for community members to drop off used bicycles and metal parts. All of those donated materials from 46th Ward residents are featured in the sculpture we see today. From the beginning of this project to the end, this has truly been a community endeavor.

The Phoenix Rising sculpture will serve as the southern gateway to the entertainment district, but there is so much meaning to it beyond the purely directional. In Greek mythology, a phoenix is a long-lived bird that is cyclically reborn, obtaining new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. It’s a symbol of looking forward to Uptown’s future while also guarding its past, where it finds its true strength.

Today, we look to the future of Uptown while celebrating and honoring its past.

Human Citizen Opens Coworking Offices in The Shift’s Former Space

Human Citizen Workplace is a neighborhood coworking and community space with a focus on supporting, promoting and connecting its members. We serve individuals, teams and small businesses with all the amenities of a downtown office, but without the hike! With regular networking opportunities, we nuture a community of professionals and students who get work done, get to know each other and are open to collaborating and partnering. If you are tired of working at home alone or in cafés, please come in for a tour and a free day pass for boosted productivity! 773-360-1199. We are in the space formerly occupied by The Shift at 4101 N Broadway.


Tony Mendiola, Owner/Operator

Headshot Tony



Lakefront Trail Separation Project Affects Buena Park Section

The Lakefront trail is one of the most active trails in the United States, used by cyclists, joggers, and walkers enjoying the lakefront. Many sections of the existing multi-use trail are overcrowded and congested due to the number of people using the trail coupled with those participating in activities and other events within the park. Starting in 2017 and finishing by the end of 2018, trail separation will occur through the entire Lakefront Trail between Ardmore Avenue on the north side and 71st Street on the south side.

The Lakefront Trail will be split into two distinct trails: one for bicycle riders and the other for pedestrians. The bicycle trail will allow cyclists to use the trail without having to weave between walkers or runners. The ADA accessible pedestrian trail will be for people walking, jogging, and pushing strollers.

In designing the separated lakefront trails, the Chicago Park District utilized the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ASHTO) as well as consulted and collaborated with City of Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT). Additionally, Active Transportation Alliance (ATA) and Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) are advising the Park District throughout the planning and design process for the trail separation.

In general, the guiding design principal has been to keep pedestrians closest to the lake and bicycles closest to Lake Shore Drive (LSD). This has worked well in generally “narrow” park areas (i.e. Fullerton to North, or through Grant Park). However, in broader park areas, like between Montrose and Foster, where there are large recreation fields and a significant amount of pedestrians moving west (of LSD) from the east, it makes more sense to located the bicycle trail further east. This helps to encourage cyclists to use the underpasses at Montrose and Wilson and avoid the street crossings near the north bound exits of LSD.

There are some sections of trail between Montrose and Fullerton that are challenging. There are pinch points and extremely narrow areas where little room exists to separate bicycles and pedestrians, such as west of the golf course and at Belmont Harbor. In these locations, the pathway is a side by side trail. From Montrose south to the Buena underpass, there are two separate trails; 12-foot bicycle to the west and 14-foot pedestrian to the east. From Buena south to Irving, the pathway is a 20-foot side by side trail; 10-foot bicycle, 8-foot pedestrian with a 2-foot striped buffer separating the two trails.

The public is able to access design and construction information and detour maps by checking or following the Chicago Park District on Facebook and Twitter for construction updates. Additionally, you can follow @activetransLFT on Twitter and #chiLFT for updates.