News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

South East Chicago Commission

Hyde Park Farmers Market free community booth slots filling up

Since the Hyde Park Farmers Market opened on June 2, local community groups are showing great interest in one of its newest amenities—a free community booth for local businesses and non-profit organizations.

Seven organizations and businesses, including the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago, Doulas of Chicago, Perfect Peace Massage Therapy, iMentor, the Hyde Park School of Dance, the Chicago Free School, and the Indie City Writers, have all signed up for the weekly Thursday slots, which are available now through October 27, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The booth may be used for community outreach, demonstrations, and other  activities, or select fundraising efforts such as bake sales for non-profit groups. The booth allows community groups to reach the farmers market audience without the typical long-term commitment and cost. In addition to the booth, the farmers market also supplies a table and two chairs.

YWCA Metropolitan Chicago is scheduled for the booth on June 16, and Jill O’Donovan, Director of Strategic Initiatives, commented, “We look forward to providing information on our current services including STEM programming for youth, our Economic Empowerment Institute, a number of family and childcare support services as well as our sexual violence and support services.  We are hopeful that our presence at the booth will not only help to increase awareness of our services but also encourage people to follow us on social media to keep up with our news and events. “

The Chicago Free School is scheduled to have representatives at the booth on July 28.  "We are excited to reach out to new families and share more about our school's vision for education and how we seek to empower children," said Lauren Beitler, the school’s founder and one of its teachers.

K.B. Jensen, co-organizer and Founder of Indie City Writers, scheduled for the booth on August 18 added, "The ability to use this space gives us a chance to get the word out about our community of writers, raise funds through book sales, and have fun writing communal poetry with the market-goers. The Hyde Park Farmers' Market is always a vibrant place that draws people together. It's a wonderful opportunity to recruit new members and tell people about our live-lit events and workshops.”

“We are happy to provide additional exposure for community organizations and local businesses to reach the farmers market audience through our new community booth feature,” said Eric Reaves, Program Manager for the South East Chicago Commission, responsible for organizing the market. “It gives these groups the chance to directly connect with area residents and shoppers and share information about important services and programs.”

Interested groups can apply for a date slot by contacting Amy Williams at acwilliams@uchicago.edu.

For more information about the Hyde Park Farmers Market, visit the Downtown Hyde Park website, and follow the group on Facebook.

Hyde Park Farmers Market offering sign-ups for free community booth for local businesses and non-profits during the 2016 season

The Hyde Park Farmers Market kicks off a second season at Harper Court on Thursday, June 2, from 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., running through October 27, for a total of 22 weeks.

Seventeen vendors will be participating this year, selling a wide variety of seasonal fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and plants, as well as farm-raised meat, eggs, baked goods, coffee, jam, and more.

Sponsored by Downtown Hyde Park (SSA #61), the Farmers Market is offering a new amenity this year – a free community booth for local businesses and non-profit organizations to share during the season. Based on availability, businesses or groups will be able to apply for a date slot, and the booth may be used for community outreach, demonstrations, and other crafts/activities, or select fundraising efforts such as bake sales for non-profit groups. If a group elects to do a bake sale, specific guidelines will be provided. The Hyde Park Farmers Market will supply a tent, table, and chairs.

“Typically booths must be rented for the entire season,” said Eric Reaves, Director of SSA #61, “but this new program enables local groups to reach the large audience of farmers market shoppers without the long-term commitment and cost.”

Interested groups can apply for a date slot by contacting Amy Williams at acwilliams@uchicago.edu.

For more information about the Hyde Park Farmers Market, visit the Downtown Hyde Park website and on Facebook.

Mesa to begin removing Mobil gas tanks Aug. 13

Mesa Development, the developer for the Vue53 project, today announced that it plans to begin work to remove the underground gas storage tanks from the Mobil site on Aug. 13, 2013. The Mobil station currently located on the site where Vue53 will be built is set to close on August 12.

The tank removal work will be done by a licensed contractor, under the supervision of an environmental engineering firm and an inspector from the city of Chicago. Mesa said it expects minimal impact to neighbors of the property, at 1330 E. 53rd Street. Construction of Vue53 would begin in early 2014.

Mesa also worked with the South East Chicago Commission to provide a list of nearby gas stations and car wash locations for customers of the Mobil station.

View Mesa’s full press release below.

The Family Stone to Headline 2013 Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Music Festival, July 20 and 21

The Family Stone, whose hits include 1960s' and '70s' tunes “Hot Fun in the Summertime” and “I Want to Take You Higher,” will headline the 2013 Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Music Festival, a yearly event filled with music, food, and fun on 53rd Street.

The fourth annual music festival will be held on Saturday, July 20, and Sunday, July 21, and will welcome both first-time and returning attractions.

“The Summer Music Festival has come to be known for its celebration of iconic music and performers as well as its celebration of the rich culture of the South Side of Chicago,” said Wendy Williams, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, which organizes the festival on behalf of the Hyde Park Vitality Committee. “This year, we again look forward to bringing music lovers in Hyde Park a great mix of performers whose styles include soul, funk, reggae, and R&B.”

Saturday’s lineup will feature Chicago’s very own Funkadesi, known for its diverse band members and award-winning musical performances, along with Rockin' Johnny Blues Band. On Sunday, the Chicago Cats and Terisa Griffin will return to the stage before The Family Stone's evening concert.

Great music is not all this festival will offer—plenty of delicious food and an assortment of merchandise from local vendors will be available.

“Past festivals have brought tens of thousands of people to Hyde Park’s main commercial corridor, and this year’s attendees will find that the neighborhood has even more to offer, with several new businesses now open or coming soon on the street,” said Wallace Goode, executive director of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce.

Since 2011, more than 20 new businesses have opened or announced plans to open on 53rd Street. Read more about places to taste, shop, and play on 53rd Street.

The festival will be held on 53rd Street between Harper and Kimbark Avenues, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is open to the public, with a $5 requested donation. A limited amount of VIP seating is available at Saturday and Sunday evening concerts for $50 per seat. To reserve a spot online visit http://www.secc-chicago.org/chp2013/vip-seating.

The Celebrate Hyde Park series is sponsored by the Hyde Park Vitality Committee, a partnership between the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce and the South East Chicago Commission, with additional support from the Chicago Park District-Nichols Park. 

For more information, visit http://www.celebratehydepark.org/ or text CHP to 72727 for festival update.

Celebrate the 4th on 53rd

The Nichols Park Advisory Council, South East Chicago Commission, and Chicago Park District are inviting members of the Hyde Park-Kenwood community to attend the annual 4th on 53rd Street parade and picnic.

The parade will assemble at 10:30 a.m., at 54th Street and Old Lake Park, with festivities going until 3 p.m. For more information, view the flyer below.

Results of Community Survey

In mid-January, the South East Chicago Commission, with support from the University of Chicago, surveyed residents of Hyde Park and Kenwood about their views on 53rd Street redevelopment. The survey, which was conducted by phone, was intended to include the voices of more community members in the conversations about redevelopment that have taken place largely in community meetings and visioning workshops since late 2007.

To read a summary of the survey findings from Anzalone Liszt Research, which conducted the survey, download it here.

Community Discussion on 53rd Street Continues

This month, the South East Chicago Commission in partnership with the University of Chicago will conduct phone surveys and host informal meetings to continue gathering community input on the ongoing development on 53rd Street. These steps follow visioning workshops that have already helped shape the redevelopment of Harper Court and generated ideas for future development.

The upcoming discussions will lay the groundwork for a public meeting to discuss plans for developing a parcel of land that is now the site of a Mobil station and surface lots. The University of Chicago and 4th Ward Ald. Will Burns plan to announce a date for the public meeting in the coming days. Read more on the SECC website.

Oktoberfest a Hit

More than 5,000 people packed 53rd Street and Nichols Park during the second annual Celebrate Hyde Park Oktoberfest. Several area food, jewelry, clothing and a host of additional vendors were on hand to greet the crowd and introduce their products to festival visitors.

"We are excited about the continued outpouring of support from the entire community as we continue to strengthen our Celebrate Hyde Park festivals," said Wendy Walker Williams, Executive Director of the South East Chicago Commission. "We are already beginning to prepare for next summer's huge event and welcome input from the community, civic organizations and leaders to help us make our festival series a major destination for the South Side of Chicago."

Celebrate Hyde Park events are a series of festivals that occur throughout the year to showcase the Hyde Park community. The events are designed to bring people of all ages to 53rd Street and Nichols Park to enjoy a wide variety of entertainment, products and food from the many local shops, restaurants and musical talent in the community.

The Celebrate Hyde Park festival series is sponsored by the Hyde Park Vitality Committee, a partnership between the University of Chicago’s Office of Civic Engagement, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, the South East Chicago Commission and various other area organizations.

Anyone interested in volunteering for next year’s Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival can call the South East Chicago Commission at 773.324.6926. Ideas to enhance the festival experience are also welcomed.

Greenery Available At Harper Court On A First-Come, First-Served Basis

As developers prepare to break ground for the new Harper Court, they are offering some of the plants and bushes on the site to the community, free of charge.

Officials said there are some fairly large bushes on the site that can be removed by a landscaper. John Burke, project manager of The Rise Group, will help coordinate the removal of the plants. The plants are available on a first-come, first-served basis; those interested should contact Burke at 312.848.5413.

Wendy Walker Williams, executive director of the South East Chicago Commission, said she’s excited to see a green movement of sorts taking place along 53rd Street. She said several residents have expressed interest in relocating some of the plants to Nichols Park.

“There’s no better place on 53rd Street than Nichols Park to be the new home of the shrubs, flowers and bushes that are currently in Harper Court,” said Williams. “It’s all about being green.”

Harper Court

Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival Hits 53rd Street

Back by popular demand, the '70s iconic band WAR will headline the second annual Celebrate Hyde Park Summer Festival set for this weekend. This year’s line up also includes the legendary Roy Ayers who will take center stage Saturday evening.

The festival, which takes place from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday along 53rd Street, is free and open to the public. A variety of restaurants, vendors and entertainment venues will be on hand throughout the two-day event. Children’s activities are from noon – 4 p.m. in Nichols Park.

Check out the festival schedule here.