Added Mar 24 2014
I saw this via the Portage Park Neighborhood Association posting it to Facebook and here I am bouncing it to EveryBlock, now we just need someone to tweet a link to this entry:
Heather Cherone's written a piece on a "facelift" coming to the Irving-Austin Business District. (As an aside - I really like some of the stuff Heather has written for dnainfo.com and I recommend people subscribe to the daily newsletter for the area.)
I had made a comment about a lack of "dynamism" in the 38th Ward to match what I saw in the 45th Ward. A facelift for the Irving-Austin Business District - if done well - would absolutely qualify. It's actually precisely what I had in mind.
One of the centerpieces is something called a "People Spot" and I guess this has popped up in other neighborhoods in the last year but I missed that. I don't really understand what it means.
If a facelift is coming though here are some of my suggestions:
* It's got to be bicycle friendly. The district is tough because Irving Park is not a bike-friendly street and it's far off any El line, but this makes a BIG difference in bringing people into some areas.
* A variety of restaurants. I don't mean 27 new restaurants. But it helps a lot when there are multiple choices. That's just not the case right now.
* More businesses for younger consumers. There's almost nothing there right now.
* A food co-op. There's only one co-op in the city - the Dill Pickle in Logan Square - and I think Irving-Austin is an excellent spot for another one, because there's no large grocery a half mile down either of those arteries.
* But no, I'm not talking about recreating Logan Square. To me, the Burgundy is a great anchor, and you can build up a business district that's more contemporary without being all-out hipster.
What would other people want to see?