18th District National Night Out – August 1, 2017

National Night Out is a nationwide event designed to build strong community partnerships that promote safe neighborhoods.

Family Style Barbecue, Kids Activities & Games, Clown Face Painting, Chicago Police Canine, Mounted, SWAT, Chicago Fire Department Engine, Informational Tables:  Cook County Treasurer’s Office, Citizen’s Untility Board Walgreens

August 1, 2017, 18th District, 1160 N. Larrabee, south parking lot:  4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

All are welcome!

Sponsors:  Target, Ala Carte, Pepsico, Jewel-Osco, McDonald’s, Mariano’s, Marriott

Alderman Reilly Collecting Items for Homeless Veterans through Operation Help-A-Hero

Operation Help-A-Hero, a citywide household item collection drive to assist formerly homeless Veterans moving to permanent housing, runs between Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Residents can donate new, store bought products for a formerly homeless veteran at one of over 60 designated drop-off locations throughout the City.

Last year’s inaugural collection drive raised $500,000 worth of goods to help formerly homeless veteran. The items help assist thousands of veterans to successfully live independently.

Led by Alderman O’Shea and the 19th Ward, the Operation Help-A-Hero drive includes partnerships between Aldermanic Ward offices – including the 42nd Ward, the Chicago Park District and Military Outreach USA, a faith based non-profit organization supporting those who have served in the United States’ armed services

For a list of the most commonly requested items or more information on Operation Help-A-Hero, including a complete list of drop off locations, visit www.cityofchicago.org/helpahero

2017 Movies in the Park

We’re pleased to bring you the 12th season of  Movies in the Park!

Thank you for taking the survey.  The results are in.  These are the movies you have chosen for 2017!  Save the dates, call a friend, grab a blanket and join us in A. Montgomery Ward Park  for a movie under the stars!  Fresh, hot popcorn is FREE for the first 150 to 200 people!

All movies begin at dusk, weather permitting. To confirm weather-related cancellations call the Movies in the Park Hotline (312-742-1134), go to My Chi Parks mobile app or RNRA social media. Follow us and Like us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Please remember, the Chicago Park District prohibits dogs in this section of Ward Park.

The 2017 Movie Line-up

June 20, 2017:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off   PG 13

July 11, 2017:  Rogue One  PG 13

July 18, 2017:  La La Land  PG 13

August 8, 2017:  Sully  PG 13

August 22, 2017:  The Secret Life of Pets  PG

Thank you to our generous RNRA Sponsors who make these movies possible.  Please check out their websites and patronize their businesses.

Aligned Modern Health

Ambra Salon & European Spa

Erie LaSalle Body Shop & Car Care Center

First Community Management

Hutch American Cafe

GI Stone

Kinzie Chophouse

Lester Lampert Jewelters

Lewin Law Group, P.C.

Motor Brand Design

Onni Group

Related Realty

Sonnet’s Academy

Saper Law

Studio 41 Home Design Showroom

The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group

The Habitat Company

Wesson Residential Group

Compete in the River North Business Association’s River North Challenge on June 27, 2017

Gather your friends and colleagues to compete in the River North Business Association’s Annual River North Challenge on June 27.  Win prizes and have fun!

Participants start the evening at The Holiday Inn Mart Plaza and venture out to other River North hotels and checkpoints to conquer fun challenges.Teams are faced with new challenges at each location providing competitors the chance to earn points towards a grand prize.

Clues to find Bonus Spots along the way offer teams the opportunity to gain a competitive edge over others. Food and beverages at each Challenge Location will keep you fueled for the fun! Dress as your favorite Chicago Character because the team with the most creative attire will win the Best Costume prize!

Register your team of four for $200, or purchase a single ticket for $50 and be placed on a team. If you have more than one team from your company, register for a Corporate Challenge Squad (3 teams from the same company) for $480.

The Platinum Sponsor for the Challenge is Comcast Business and Wintrust Bank Chicago is the Gold Sponsor.

More Details and Registration Here

Alderman Reilly Rejects Dana Hotel’s “Erie Street Hotel” Expansion

Based upon his review of the proposal, and the continuing neighborhood quality-of-life concerns surrounding the Dana Hotel’s operations, Alderman Reilly has informed the Developer that he will not support their proposal and it will not move forward.
For more information, click here.

Neighborhood Video Spotlight | River North

Historic architecture, eclectic dining and thriving nightlife make River North one of the city’s most vibrant and desirable communities…

Chicago Lights Urban Farm Stand Open Every Saturday May through November – Community Plots also available!

Attention River North. Did you know we have a produce farm in the neighborhood? Yes, it’s true! Chicago Lights Urban Farm, a local gem located at 444 West Chicago Avenue, offers a farm stand every Saturday, as well as community plots and a Fresh Produce Program.

The farm is run in conjunction with Chicago Lights, a non-profit and community outreach program run and funded by the First Presbyterian Church. The Chicago Lights program works with at risk youth, offering day camps, job training, programs for community-members, and the Sprouts Academy. The Urban Farm teaches youth the fundamentals of urban agriculture, as they learn how to cultivate and harvest crops. River North’s famous Farmhouse restaurant partners with the Urban Farm for fresh, local sustainable produce.

But just don’t take our word for it. This lovely little farm offers subscription farming to local residents, where for an annual membership fee of $100, residents can harvest their own produce on a 3-foot by 9-foot plot filled with organic soil, communal garden supplies (tools, compost), water access, and technical support. Gardeners are expected to become part of the Chicago Lights Urban Farm community and contribute to the life of the Farm. This includes mandatory volunteer hours and helping maintain communal plots. Gardeners are responsible for their own seeds, plants, and personal garden tools.

In addition, fresh, organic produce is offered for sale during the summer months at their onsite Farmstand every Saturday, May-November, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. All produce sold is grown onsite and selection varies according to the season, ranging from greens and beats, sweet peppers to seasons. It is an impressive variety.

Please check out the following link and video to learn more about this Urban Farm. Volunteers are always appreciated, and there are many opportunities to get involved.




Join Friends of the Chicago River for a Ward Park clean-up on Saturday, May 13 from 9:00 a.m. to Noon

Join us for an exciting morning along the banks of the Chicago River as we kick off the 25th Annual Chicago River Day!

Register now!  Only 2 spots left!  To register, click here.

Work side-by-side with other volunteers beautifying our river, collecting garbage and sorting for recycling, removing invasive vegetation, sprucing up river-edge trails, and planting native seedlings at over 60 locations throughout the Chicago River system. As a special thank you, you’ll also get to take home a commemorative Chicago River Day t-shirt!

Each location has different restoration needs and volunteer activities available. If you have any questions about a particular site or its activities, please email riverday@chicagoriver.org.

Registration will remain open until Monday, May 8, 2017 or until the site is at capacity.


All volunteers must sign Friends’ liability waiver upon arrival. If you do not sign the waiver, you will not be able to participate. NOTE: Some sites require additional waivers that you must print out and bring with you the day of the event.

The following waiver(s) need to be completed and signed for this location:

Friends Waiver

Chicago Park District Waiver


•Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to participate on Chicago River Day. Children without parents/guardians will NOT be allowed to participate unless they are part of a school or scout group with a teacher or group leader, and bring signed waivers from their parent or guardian.

•Volunteers must be at least 8 years old to participate. As each site is unique, some are more suitable than others for families and children. If you have questions about whether the site is family-friendly, please email riverday@chicagoriver.org.

For general Chicago River Day questions, please visit Friends’ Chicago River Day FAQ page, or email mjones@chicagoriver.org.

Coming Soon – Reveal of 2017 RNRA Movies in the Park

Each year since 2006, RNRA has hosted a series of free outdoor films on the riverfront in A. Montgomery Ward Park, located on the southwest corner of Kingsbury and Erie in River North. Films begin at dusk and include popcorn.  Most films are attended by approximately 400-600 people, and picnicking is common.  Come early to get a good spot!
Community input is always considered when determining the films that will be presented each year.  Votes are in for 2017!  The final lineup and schedule will be posted soon on our website and in our e-newsletters.  Stay Tuned!
Thanks, we look forward to seeing you in Ward Park!

Alderman Reilly Rejects Symmetry’s 60-Story Mixed-Use Proposal for River North

Dear Neighbor:

I am writing to provide an update regarding Symmetry’s recent community presentation of their development proposed for Wabash & Superior.  Based upon my review of their mixed-use proposal and its related traffic impacts on the immediately surrounding neighborhood, I have informed Symmetry that I will not support their Planned Development Application.  As such, their current proposal, or slight variations thereof, will not move forward.

Our recent community presentation with the River North Residents Association (RNRA) was very well attended and several hundred participants had many opinions to share and questions to ask about the proposed uses, density, quality-of-life factors and traffic impacts. The meeting lasted several hours and every participant was given a chance to be heard.

Based on the significant negative feedback my office has received expressing concerns regarding potential traffic impacts and the multiple uses (and intensity of uses) proposed for the site, I took the time to re-read the Developer’s traffic study, cover-to-cover.

Because all parking ingress & egress and all loading activities are proposed to be staged out of a public alley to the north of the development site, I personally visited the site on several different days to observe loading activities and traffic patterns occurring in the alley.  Based on my personal observations, the proposed parking and loading scheme that would utilize the public alley simply will not work for this proposal.

We also registered numerous concerns related to existing traffic circulation (or lack thereof) in the immediate neighborhood. Having observed the (poor) functionality of Superior Street during the afternoon and evening hours – the vehicular traffic on that street is currently reduced to one lane, eastbound on a routine basis. It is fair to assume additional curbside activities like taxicabs; Uber, limousine service and party buses will spill over onto (virtually non-functioning) Superior Street and exacerbate an already-untenable condition.

The poor traffic conditions on Superior Street and conflicts with potential usage of the public alley for ingress/egress to the site are compounded by the congestion resulting from pick-ups in the western-most southbound traffic lane at the Frances Xavier Warde School on the west side of Wabash Avenue. This must be addressed regardless of a new development.

There are also valid concerns about the intensity of the multiple uses on the site. Symmetry’s proposal would call for a 725-foot tall, 60-story tower containing 216 hotel keys, 120 timeshare units, 246 condominium units and roughly 30,000 square feet of retail at-grade. This combination of uses suggests heavy volumes of deliveries, curbside pick-up/drop-off, special event traffic and buses. It’s simply too much for this block.

Because I will not support this Planned Development proposal or the additional FAR the Developer wishes to purchase through density bonus payments – I have encouraged Symmetry to consider other options for this site, including:

(1)    Propose a Planned Development that does not seek to purchase additional FAR for development of the site and – rather than propose multiple, intense uses – strongly consider pursuing a single use, such as a residential project.

(2)    Consider forgoing a Planned Development altogether and work to determine what could be developed under their existing development entitlements and zoning restrictions related to height, uses, etc.

I have informed Commissioner Reifman and the Department of Planning that this proposal will not be moving forward.  We look forward to reviewing any future proposal with the Developer, so long as it is aligned with the suggestions outlined above.  Once we receive any new proposal for this site, my office will promptly notify impacted neighbors and communicate next steps for our transparent community process.


Brendan Reilly

Vice Mayor of Chicago

Alderman, 42nd Ward

For more information about Symmetry’s proposal, click on the following links to download the slideshow presentation from 3/13/17 community meeting, traffic study, as-of-right massing diagram, and meeting summary.