Annual Appeal Underway

This year SOAR (Streeterville Organization of Active Residents) celebrated its 40th anniversary. As we conclude this milestone and move into a new decade, we launch our Annual Appeal and ask you to consider a year-end contribution.  This contribution will help SOAR continue to provide advocacy, information, and education for Streeterville residents and stakeholders. 

While many active volunteers donate their time on behalf of SOAR, many of our programs require financial support.  Therefore we rely on donations from our friends and neighbors.  Here are some examples of the activities we implement through our task forces: 

  • Parks and Recreation- working to maintain and improve Streeterville Parks
  • Greening and Sustainability- protecting and improving our environment
  • Safety and Security- the watchdogs of Streeterville
  • Traffic and Transportation- helping to improve traffic flow
  • Landmarking and Preservation- saving history
  • Sound Management- toning it down in Streeterville
  • Real Estate- reviewing and making recommendations on Streeterville developments

Additionally we have built and celebrated community through programs such as the SOAR Farmers Market at the MCA Plaza where We Nourish Community.  We also hosted the 7th Annual SOAR Artisan Market where we support the local Artisan.  And we honored local architecture at our BLUEPRINTs Gala. We continue to beautify Lake Shore Park through our volunteer gardeners.  We host informational programs, Aldermanic forums and social events.  During this season of giving we gratefully request your support to help us continue with our efforts.

SOAR envisions Streeterville as a vibrant, unique world-class neighborhood in which to live, work and enjoy a high quality of life.  We are fortunate to live in this exciting neighborhood and our goal is to keep it that way while continuing to improve it.  We truly appreciate your support and will continue to work on your behalf.

CLICK HERE to contribute online or you may mail a check to SOAR, 244 E. Pearson St., Suite 102, Chicago, IL 60611.


Deborah Gershbein Elected 15th President of SOAR

The SOAR Board of Directors elected Deborah (Debby) Gershbein as 2015-16 President of the organization at its monthly meeting on October 20. She is the 15th President to serve in the four decades since SOAR was founded in 1975. David Lewin was elected Vice President; Howard W. Melton, Treasurer, and Robert (Bob) Levin Secretary. Gail Spreen is Immediate Past President, having stepped down after five years in the position. All will serve on SOAR's executive committee, called the Board Affairs Council (BAC).
Gershbein has lived and worked in Central Streeterville for 26 years. She was elected to the SOAR Board in 2014, taking on the chairmanship of the inaugural SOAR Farmers Market at the MCA Plaza. The undertaking secured the continuation of the Farmers Market in Streeterville after many years as a City-run and -funded enterprise. She also served on the 2014-15 Marketing and Artisan Market Task Forces.

Lewin, his wife, Vicky, their twins and German shepherd puppy, Zoe, live in South Streeterville. A resident since 1998, he is chair of the Parks Task Force. Melton and his wife, JoAnne, have lived in North Streeterville with their Labrador retrievers (current is Jazz) since 1997.  He has been active in SOAR for many years, serving in a number of capacities, including the Finance Committee, which he now chairs for the second consecutive term as Treasurer. He also sits on the Real Estate Committee and the Parks Task Force. Levin and his wife, Linda, chair of this year's SOAR Artisan Market, have lived in South Streeterville for eight years. He has chaired the Membership Committee and served on the 2015 Streeterville Neighborhood Plan Task Force. Spreen has lived and worked in Streeterville since 1997. She will continue as chair of the Real Estate Task Force.

Gershbein said, "I am honored to be elected as President of the SOAR Board of Directors and to lead the launch of our next 40 years. We are a premiere neighborhood with some of the most significant properties in the United States, if not the world, and one of the busiest tourist destinations in the United States. Yet we still must strive to 'keep Streeterville a neighborhood.' While our 40th anniversary celebrated our past, we now have an obligation to focus on the present and the future. As we focus on maintaining and building strong community relations with Streeterville residents, businesses, institutions and local government, we will look forward to hearing from you about your perspectives. I have met many of you at the SOAR Farmers Market this year and look forward to creating more idea sharing opportunities for Streeterville stakeholders. Please contact me anytime, at dgershbein@soarchicago.org, with your comments and suggestions. I look forward to shopping with you at the last Farmers Market of the season--tomorrow, Tuesday, October 27--and at the Artisan Market, Friday through Sunday, November 6 through 8, at Lurie Research Building Lobby & Atrium 303 E. Superior."

Continuing as directors of SOAR for 2015-16 are Mary Baim, Seth Blumenthal, Larry Brown, Karen Burnett, Maury Fantus, Christian Ficara, Mario W. Hollemans, Phyllis Mitzen and Gail Spreen.

From left to right: Debby Gershbein, David Lewin, Howard W. Melton, Bob Levin 



SOAR Farmers Market Streeterville Needs Your Feedback

The SOAR Farmers Market at the MCA Plaza continues (through October 27th ) to offer a bountiful harvest of fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs, and prepared food products, along with our famously delicious grilled cheese, crepes, homemade soups and mushroom tamales.
The inaugural year of the SOAR Farmers Market at the MCA Plaza has been a great success. We want to make certain that we are providing our supporters with what they want to find at the market, therefore we are conducting a shopper survey during October to help us plan for next year. Here is a link to the survey which can also be found on the SOAR website and on the SOAR Farmers Market website. It is very short and simple to complete. Please take a few moments to help us out and complete the survey so we can prepare to bring you another fabulous farmers market next year! We truly appreciate your comments as well as your support.



Alderman Brendan Reilly Covers the Waterfronts (Lake Michigan and Riverwalk) and Much More at SOAR Annual Town Hall Meeting

Saying, "I hear you loud and clear," Alderman Brendan Reilly (Ward 42) fielded dozens of questions about traffic, safety, development, infrastructure, parks, bicyclists, riverfront signage and dog poop from nearly 200 neighbors at SOAR's annual Town Hall, held June 10 at Loews Chicago Hotel. He was joined by Police Commander George Devereux (18th District); Marilynn Gardner, president and CEO, and Brian Murphy, COO of Navy Pier addressed traffic issues at that site. In an hour's presentation, more issues were covered than space allows here; we've been told that DNAInfo Chicago plans to cover the event in several issues and you can find them here. To receive Alderman Reilly's weekly e-newsletter visit the 42nd Ward website. Alderman Reilly recently was named Vice Mayor of Chicago by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.


SOAR is grateful to General Manager Christian Hansen and the staff at Loews Chicago Hotel, for hosting this Town Hall meeting and reception.


Left Photo: Alderman Brendan Reilly, Commander George Devereux
Right Photo: Mario W. Hollemans, Gail Spreen, Christian Hansen, Seth Blumenthal



SOAR Farmers Market: 22 Weeks, Shine or Rain

The SOAR Farmers Market will continue through Tuesday, October 27. Debby Gershbein, chair said, "Our goal is to connect local farmers and producers to Streeterville, providing a diverse range of high quality fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, baked goods, cheese, flowers, prepared foods and ready-to-eat food for people on the go. On Opening Day, the Market will present locally-produced products from small family farms in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, including Nichols Farm and Orchard, Ellis Family Farms, Lanes End Farms, Lehman Orchard, North Wichert Gardens, Sheeringa Farms, Lyons Fruit Farm, Noffke Family Farms, Smits Farm, Stamper Cheese, LaProvence Bakery, Breadman, Provo Bakery, River Valley Farms, GottaBCrepes, Gayle's Best Ever Grilled Cheese, Karl's Kraft Soup.

"We thank our generous sponsors for helping us launch the SOAR Farmers Market. Thank you..... Related Midwest, Northwestern Medicine, Northwestern University and The Clare. We also are very grateful to the folks at the MCA who generously share their Plaza with us." SOAR volunteer coordinator Diane Kaiser has job descriptions, time shifts and other details to tailor assignments to your interests and schedules. Contact Diane by email.

Visit the new SOAR Farmers Market website.