GazeboNews

News and stuff about Lake Forest and Lake Bluff

Reader Forum: Bridging the Historic Gap on Lake Road, Lake Forest

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Art Miller of Lake Forest. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

This photo by Art Miller shows the consistency of the west side sidewalk on the bridge and north, and the way the east side fits into the wall on the southeast.

This photo by Art Miller shows the consistency of the west side sidewalk on the bridge and north, and the way the east side fits into the wall on the southeast.

The City of Lake Forest, with funding from IDOT, the state’s Dept. of Transportation, seeks to replace the century-old bridge over the ravine near Woodbine and between 955 and 975 N. Lake Road with a new wider bridge with sidewalks on both sides, not just on one as presently is the case. The original bridge was built c. 1913-14, and may have been upgraded then by the new homeowners nearly, especially Clayton Mark at 999 N. Lake Rd. with the firm of his architect, Howard Van Doren Shaw.

The original 1857 plan for Lake Forest was innovative in many ways, one being “the boldly sweeping street plan [that] did not follow topography” (Philip Pregill and Nancy Volkman, Landscapes in History…, 1993, p. 479). What this means is that Almerin Hotchkiss’s 1857-registered plan had streets surf across the wide gorges near the lake, so that carriages would have the sensation of flying, as did the new railroad trains crossing valleys on bridges–as at Niagara Falls, 1855: http://histoiredurailhistory.ca/image_section/pont_niagara_falls.jpg. The Lake Forest Association’s early minutes (LF College Archives) c. 1859-61 registered the complaints of lot owners who could not get to their properties, because the bridges were not ready. But later they were.

(Visit www.historicbridges.org to see photos that help tell the story, including that the 1978 work probably already took away the historic under-structure. But the balustrades and the scale–one sidewalk width only–are crucial to the Lake Road streets cape.)

Why is all this relevant? These narrow bridges in the original 1,200-acre 1857 street plan are integral to the historic character of Lake Forest and its plan, arguably among the most important town plans in the state — and nation. The narrowness heightens the sense of flying or edginess, as on the Millennium Park/Art Institute almost transparent Nichols Bridgeway (I call it the Bridge of San Luis Piano, after Chicagoan Thornton Wilder’s 1920s novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, where a rope bridge in the Andes gives way, but here with a slight change for the AIC’s architect’s name): http://www.altergroup.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/nicholas-bridge.jpg.

This century-old bridge on Lake Road is historic and significant, perhaps also for its possible patron and design team (999 N. Lake Rd. homebuilder in 1913 Clayton Mark and his architectural firm, Howard Van Doren Shaw’s). But certainly it is significant for its classic treatment of this mid 19th C. illusion of flying over the gorge so close to the lake and with its view east to the water, not always possible on local streets near the lake.

The Lake Forest plan–with its lake front park, campus town center, and “boldly sweeping” street layout–was the first of its type in many ways. It had no businesses east of the tracks, it was almost gated in the 1850s, with all east west streets converging on the depot, it in effect was no growth (bounded by the lake, the tracks, and rounding out north and south) so development by the 1890s leapfrogged over the downtown to Green Bay Road (and led to Market Square later), was and is anti-urban, and–last but not least—was an is Romantic in its pursuit of sublime sensation on, especially its far east side, bridges and the implied defiance of gravity they brought to those who crossed them. The sense of danger recalls Asher B. Durant’s “Kindred Spirits” painting of 1849, showing friends, Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole and poet William Cullen Bryant, in the Catskills: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/Asher_Durand_Kindred_Spirits.jpg. This sublimity of the Catskills, very likely well known to New Yorker Hotchkiss, is here recreated in Lake Forest, the edgiest visually–most prone to visceral landscape sensation–of Chicago suburbs.

I hope the bridge can be saved, situated as it is near so many significantly historic properties (955, 975, and 999 North Lake Rd.), and so integral to the owners’ and our experiences of these from the street.

Messing with the configuration of the historic bridge, indeed, anything not preserving it or else completely replicating it, will be a devastating loss to the community, the state, and the nation. The need to widen it for bureaucratic imperatives should not be a defining choice by the City—which should oppose this restriction in this case, in effect, appeal it, and failing that find another solution, including fund-raising, to preserve this highly valuable local asset.

Arthur H. Miller
November 18, 2014



Opinion: Another YES Vote for Lake Bluff Park District Referendum

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by David Forlow of Lake Bluff. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

By David Forlow

I was a vocal “No” vote in 2010 when voters rejected a $10.7 million Park District referendum but I will be an enthusiastic “Yes” vote Nov 4th as our PD seeks $3.1 million by referendum. The primary reason I voted “No” in 2010 was that I felt the PD had not put in place a detailed long-term plan. But after the 2010 referendum was rejected the PD Board and staff rolled up their sleeves and got to work.

Two aquatic engineering firms inspected our pool, pipes and pumps. The bones of the pool were deemed in excellent shape but a new liner is needed and 2 leaks were identified, both of which can be fixed. An Americans with Disabilities Act survey was completed and a plan put in place to bring PD facilities into compliance. A consultant was retained and virtually every PD property and facility was examined – from parking lots, to roofs, to HVAC systems to lawn mowers. Several citizen committees were formed; I chaired a Task Force which helped craft a 20 year Capital Plan. Volunteers put together a plan for our beach while others got to work and formed a Friends of LB Parks Foundation to serve as a fundraising mechanism.

PD Executive Director Ron Salski and the PD Board then worked very hard to put all the pieces together and our PD has adopted a forward looking 10 Year Capital Plan. There has been a real shift in thinking from “want” to “need”. PD debt was examined and refinanced resulting in significant savings and staff levels have been trimmed. But despite the belt tightening, identified repair costs over the next 10 years will exceed resources.

If we could turn the clock back 20+ years we would have made certain that as each new PD facility was added, simultaneously a plan and fund would have been put in place to pay for inevitable future repair costs. But we can only look forward and make certain we don’t repeat past mistakes. I think our PD has done just that and I happy to vote “Yes” this time around.

David Forlow
Lake Bluff, IL



Opinion: Don’t Forget To Vote!

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Liz Bradner, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Lake Forest-Lake Bluff area. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

 

We’re hiring! As voters we need to decide who will do the best job for us right here in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. Whether we are concerned about the economy, the environment or health care, we need to inform ourselves about the candidates for county office, state representative, governor, the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.

The League of Women Voters has made it easy: go to Vote411.org to find information on the statewide candidates and their positions on critical issues. Go to LWVIL.org to find information on local candidates for the U.S. House and the Illinois House of Representatives. Then either early or on Tuesday November 4, vote! You can help decide what change will occur. All citizens have an equal say on issues and priorities that matter most. It’s our civic duty to make democracy work. We can do better than the 51% participation in Lake County in the last midterm election of 2012. Liz Bradner Co-president League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area



Halloween Insensitivity: Enough With The Headless Decor

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Phil Gayter of Lake Bluff. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

 

Phil Gayter of Lake Bluff saw this Halloween decoration of a dangling head outside a Lake Bluff home, and it made him shudder.

“Don’t people get it?” he asked. “Do they not listen to the news and hear about the beheadings of Americans on a regular basis? Do they not know about innocent people (and children) being slaughtered like this, in Syria? Are we such a spoiled and cosseted community that we don’t know the sensitivity here? Come on neighbor, open your eyes and ears. I LOVE Halloween too, but come on …”

 

Is this really what Halloween is about?

Is this really what Halloween is about?



Opinion: Put The Daily Grind Rumors To Rest

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by By John des Rosiers, Chef/Proprietor of three Lake Bluff businesses –Inovasi, Wisma and The Other Door. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

By John des Rosiers

Good afternoon to all of our fellow Lake Bluff residents and valued customers. I want to take a few minutes share some of my thoughts regarding the rumors swirling around about The Daily Grind.

Now for those of you who don’t live in our area this probably won’t have much meaning.

Since Inovasi has anchored downtown Lake Bluff, we have seen our community grow, expand, and thrive into a retail downtown that has enjoyed 100% capacity for the past four years. I love this town, the style of it, what it represents, and its strong community feeling. More importantly, I am so happy we have made this our home, and I am proud to be a businessman and employer here.

I chose to write this to clear the air regarding some of the comments brought to my attention that we have something to do with the apparent disagreement between the landlord and The Daily Grind’s owner. First, as a small business owner, I want to assure you that I never want to see another business leave the central district.

Secondly, I have no plans or current interest in the space for any operations involving Wisma, Inovasi, or The Other Door. Furthermore, I am in no position to offer judgment on what is best for the landlord or The Daily Grind. From my perspective as a citizen this is an issue between the two parties, and the issues they share we in the public are never truly privy to.

As always, we are completely committed to our local communities. We continue to strive to have a positive impact in Lake Bluff and Lake Forest, we have grown our businesses along with our town’s natural growth. Currently, we employ over 70 people from the surrounding area, and we help contribute to the growing tax base in our small town.

I want everyone to know that our entire staff cares for our customers and their satisfaction, and we value our presence in the community very much.

Therefore my hope is that all of our local citizens will continue to support our businesses, and also the amazing list of local retailers we have that make this town such a wonderful place to live, work and play.

I appreciate that you have taken the time to consider my thoughts, and I hope to see all of you in downtown Lake Bluff soon.

John des Rosiers
Chef/Proprietor
inovasi
wisma
the other door



Opinion: Lease Is More … For All Of Us

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by By Jon Rosen of Lake Bluff. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

By Jon Rosen, a Lake Bluff resident

Labor Day in Lake Bluff has long passed and the celebration with friends, neighbors and family sharing stories, food and cheer has faded quickly into fall. Hopefully you fired up the grill and were able to toast our good fortune and great village life in Lake Bluff. May be your BBQ or smoker included a selection of fine top quality meats or fish from the Daily Grind to accompany the beer from the Lake Bluff Brewery rounded out by dessert from Lulu’s; a tough combination to match on any holiday week end.

Come January 31, 2015 one-third of this culinary combination may not be available, as on this day the lease for the Daily Grind expires and the landlord has informed Rick Harness, owner of the Daily Grind, he does not intend to renew.

If you have visited the Daily Grind you know Rick, his wife, Debra and four kids (three in college and one a year away) along with his first mate assistant, Bill Kunicka. The store is open year round seven days a week and has continued to provide our community with unique quality goods and service not available in close proximity. You need a unique fare for that special occasion, ask Rick, he will get it for you. Have a question on how to prepare your choice; Rick can help with that too.

From our schools to local art shows and community non-profit organizations, The Daily Grind has participated in our community through a contribution of time, money and like-kind exchange of goods. Rick is and continues to be generous to help our community.

The landlord of the Daily Grind is a Lake Bluff resident, business owner (Lake Effect Architects, the former owner/operator of the Village Market) and Lake Bluff Village Park Trustee. Yes this is a business transaction between principals. No one should get a free ride and both parties need to function in this capitalist environment that we so respect on a level playing field to enable both business ventures to succeed. However one must question why can’t these parties work together for their mutual benefit when there is a local business need to fulfill and to our knowledge there has been no breech of lease terms. This is the operative question.

The Daily Grind has made a sizable investment in the form of tenant improvements (TI’s) that at the lease expiration remains with the property. These improvements include, upgraded electrical, ventilation and plumbing systems, refrigeration and freezer units, fire suppression along with stove and cooking units unique to the operation of the Daily Grind. If a new tenant moves in and does not use the TI’s, Rick loses, as does our community. If a tenant moves in that uses the facility investments, the tenant gains at the expense of Rick and us all. If a new tenant is related to the landlord and uses these improvements in a similar or related business, we all lose and one must ask was there ever a level playing field between these parties? Our answer will be known in the next few months.

Our hope is the parties can negotiate and work through the issues to arrive at mutually acceptable lease terms to enable the Daily Grind to remain in the present location. If not, Rick will be forced to move to another facility in Lake Bluff, if one is available, relocate to another community or close shop. Again, our wish is that both parties can work through whatever issues there are and simply resolve their differences, not only for themselves, but also for the constituents of our Lake Bluff community who support both parties.



Opinion: Irregular and Unsupported Action by Shields Township Supervisor

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Shields Township Trustees Heather Kerr and Richard Goshgarian. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

 

By Shields Township Trustees Richard Goshgarian and Heather Kerr

The most recent board meeting of the Shields Township Board of Trustees occurred on 9/25/14. At that meeting, Trustee Laura Carney resigned. Carney’s planned resignation was known only to her, Supervisor Cynthia Maloney, and sometime later the Township’s longstanding attorney Richard Cowen. The balance of the Board only became aware 1-2 days prior to that 9/25/14 meeting. Their knowledge was by way of rumor, no advance notice from either Maloney or Carney.

Why is this important? It has since been learned (throught emails between Maloney and the Township attorney) that Supervisor Maloney knew of the intended Carney resignation in mid-late August. At that time, Maloney sought a legal opinion from the Township’s attorney.

In an email exchange dated 9/2/14, Maloney was advised by the Township’s attorney that vacancies in office are filled (by Illinois law) in accordance with the statute 60 ILCS 5/60-5. That statute reads in part … 1. “The Board has the responsibility for filling the vacancy. The procedure to be used in terms of notifying the public of the vacancy, requesting application, holding interviews is up to the Board.”

The Township’s attorney further advised in that 9/2/14 email that Maloney notify the media and share his opinion memo with the entire Board. Maloney followed none of the guidelines in the Statute (law), and further disregarded the attorney’s recommendations regarding notice to the media and availing the Board of his opinion. Instead Maloney sought input exclusively from the resigning trustee, and a former non-voting member of the Board.

Result: On 9/25/14 in the course of that Board meeting, Maloney announced who she had selected. This was the first time she shared the name of her chosen replacement with 2 of the 4 board members. We, Trustees Kerr and Goshgarian, were excluded from Maloney’s irregular actions of the prior 4 weeks. Further, Trustee Bill Brown only learned of Maloney’s chosen replacement the day prior (9/24/14).

Over our (Trustees Kerr and Goshgarian’s) vigorous objection, Supervisor Maloney motioned for a vote on Carney’s replacement. She prevailed on that motion, her objective to force a vote, and by 3 to 0 had her replacement. We abstained voting on the individual citing irregularities(listed above) and disregard of the relevant statute and attorney’s recommendations.

What is known about your new trustee? -For more than four(4) weeks we have requested repeatedly information about him from Supervisor Maloney. Those requests have included information via a resume, a biography, a curriculum vitae, or any kind of background informational. To date nothing offered, nor does the web-site provide.

Following the law and proper procedure within Township Government is crucial to the vitality of this administration. Without it, other potential irregularities in any of the Township’s other functions( the Assessor’s office, or Highway Department) may be emboldened.

Trustees Richard Goshgarian and Heather Kerr



Opinion: Vote Yes For Lake Bluff Park District Referendum

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Gail Nielsen Gamrath (and family) of Lake Bluff. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

Dear Lake Bluff Residents,

I have written before to local media about having the privilege of growing up in Lake Bluff. I feel so lucky to have had that experience. It was an easy choice for me and my husband, who also grew up here, to raise our own family in this wonderful village. The Park District was a large part of my childhood. Learning to swim at the pool, attending day camp and going to the beach was just the natural daily agenda for a LB kid. In 6th grade I was so proud when I received my first pay check from the Park District for being a highly skilled and assertive Tennis Court Monitor at Artesian Park for a pay rate of $1.60 per hour. Followed by ten summers working at the Pool, I gained many life skills learning the responsibility of holding a job and earning the respect of fellow residents. It was part of my young identity and to this day, I still run into other adults who I taught swim lessons to or who were on the swim team that I coached back when we had a booming 16-swimmer roster.

It is time once again to vote on a referendum to help fund the upkeep of not only the pool, but the beach and our parks. I feel this vote is different from the one which was voted down a few years back. With the help of over 600 residents, the Park District has prioritized what is really necessary to save some of our greatest resources from either shutting down or being taken away. We all know how great this town is and the Park District funds a large part of what makes it so special. Whether you are taking your grandkids to Artesian Park or needing to use the bathrooms at the beach (that currently some children are afraid to enter) these are resources that the Park District cannot fund within their current budget.

So the bottom line stands that Lake Bluff will lose some of our dearest assets if we do not look forward and act now. We cannot judge what people choose to spend their own money on but at $70 a year on a $450,000 house this seems like a no-brainer to me. It is an investment in our town. I hope you will join us in voting YES for our Pool, Parks and Beach.
Sincerely,

Gail Nielsen Gamrath (and family)



Opinion: Shorter Election Season Will Yield Better Candidates

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by A.J. Goldsmith of Lake Forest. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

 

GazeboNews Reader Forum

 

By A.J. Goldsmith

The Election season is much too long. Good people are being kept from running for public office by the expenses inherent in distressingly long campaigns.

My solution is that the General Election should be held no more than 30 days after the primary. This means that primaries for General Elections must be held just 30 days before the General Election. This change would require amending the Illinois Constitution.



Opinion: Lake Forest & Lake Bluff Should Have Banned Assault Weapons

Editor’s note: This Reader Forum article was submitted by Liz Radner, co-president of the League of Women Voters – Lake Forest/Lake Bluff area. Reader Forum articles represent the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of GazeboNews. We encourage you to comment on this article, but please include your full name per the GazeboNews comments policy.

GazeboNews Reader Forum

The League of Women Voters of Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Area was gratified to read that a US District Court found Highland Park’s ordinance banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines does not violate the Second Amendment and can be enforced.

The League testified, along with many other residents, before the Lake Forest City Council in the summer of 2013 urging such a ban here but was unsuccessful. The Lake Bluff Village Board similarly took no action.

The League agrees with the federal judge who found that such weapons have “the decidedly offensive purpose of quickly acquiring multiple targets and firing at those targets”

We believe assault weapons are for military use only and have no self-protection purpose in Lake Forest and Lake Bluff. State legislation now forbids enacting a ban.  The City Council and the Village Board should have banned assault weapons and high capacity magazines while the window was open.

Liz Bradner, Co-president
League of Women Voters Lake Forest/Lake Bluff