Message from the President: We Nourish Community

SOAR is committed to building and celebrating our Streeterville community--and what better way to do this than by hosting a farmers market in the heart of the neighborhood! We are pleased to announce that the SOAR Farmers Market will be returning to the MCA Plaza, rain or shine, every Tuesday June 7-October 25 from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. We've added new and exciting vendors to the list of returning favorites. The market will again offer farm-fresh, locally-grown produce, fruits and vegetables, herbs, meats, cheeses, flowers, baked goods and ready-to-eat foods. The volunteer committee, co-chaired by Judy Aiello-Fantus and ably supported by Barbara Webb, Gary and Meme Hopmayer and Doug Boehm have been working hard for months, organizing the details in order to bring the market to Streeterville again this year. If you are interested in volunteering at the market, please contact Dawn Jensen.
We are very pleased to welcome back our returning sponsors: Northwestern University, Northwestern Medicine, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and The Clare.

As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me by email

Deborah Gershbein 


To read the April 14, 2016, edition of SOAR eNews in entirety CLICK HERE.

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Message from the President:

Spring is in the air in Streeterville: the sun is shining more, buds are peeking out....and so are more of our neighbors! The Chicago Park District is out sprucing up the many beautiful parks we're fortunate to enjoy here. Throughout Streeterville, residences, institutions and commercial spaces are "going green"--nowhere as lush as on Michigan Avenue, where merchants creatively design, plant and finance the sidewalk and median planters. Not everyone can see the green roof tops in Streeterville that add to a healthy neighborhood: new development requires green roofs, so they're multiplying, too. Even with all of this greenery, there is always room for more green in an urban environment. The SOAR Greening and Sustainability Task Force, chaired by Jay Lubinsky, takes the initiative to educate and inform residents and neighborhood condo associations about ways they can become more green and help to create a sustainable environment. Contact Jay to share your ideas and get to know other members with a "green interest."

As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me
by email

Deborah Gershbein 

To read the April 1, 2016, edition of SOAR eNews in entirety CLICK HERE.

To access the SOAR eNews archives CLICK HERE.

CLICK HERE to sign up to receive a copy of eNews directly to your inbox.

Time for Spring Clean Up:
Earth Day is Saturday, April 23, and once again, SOAR is joining with other Streeterville stakeholders to shake off the winter detritus and reveal a clean spring on our streets and in our parks. SOAR membership isn't required to participate, anyone of any age is invited to join in the fun in two ways:

  • Coordinating with the Lake Shore Park and Seneca Park/Schulman Playground Advisory Councils, the day will begin at 8:30 am with refreshments at 432 E. Grand and continue until noon. Thanks again to Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. this year, participants and equipment will fan out to the far corners of the community.
  • SOAR's Lake Shore Park Garden Club will meet at 9:00 am for the new season.
SOAR Clean-Up Day
Date:  Saturday, April 23
Time:  8:30 am to noon
Location:  Meet at 432 E. Grand (refreshments will be served)
Contact:  Gail Spreen
SOAR Lake Shore Park Garden Clean-Up Day
Date:  Saturday, April 23
Time:  9:00 am
Location:  Lake Shore Drive between Chicago and Pearson
Contact:  Judy Birk 



Message from the President: Keeping Streeterville a Quieter Neighborhood

Every city neighborhood-probably throughout the world--shares a distinctive set of urban noises. Streeterville's noise level is particularly challenged by ambulances and fire trucks hurrying to transport patients for emergency care at one of our renowned health care facilities. I think we all can agree that these trips must be made as quickly and safely as possible. But SOAR has questioned whether the level of siren noise needed to blare as high as it has been for so many years. Leaders and members of the SOAR Safety and Sound Task Force have met regularly with city officials and health care institutions to help turn the volume down in Streeterville, night and day. Please read Martha Music's Safety and Sound Task Force report below for more information on this topic.The report shows that the status quo not only can be questioned, but that changes can be made that benefit residents without sacrificing the needs of others. On behalf of the Board, I want to thank those officials who have found time to listen to us, to hear what we are saying and to respond positively. And of course, thanks to the many volunteers who helped achieve these accomplishments.

As always, I will be happy to respond to your questions and comments when you reach me by email

Deborah Gershbein

Safety & Sound Management Update

Last year SOAR's Sound Management Task Force members met with leaders within the community in an effort to reduce siren noise where possible. One meeting was with Michael Callahan, Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department. The task force communicated concerns from Streeterville residents about the noise level of sirens used by the fire department as trucks left the firehouse on Chicago Avenue, as well as those coming into and out of the neighborhood from elsewhere. As a result, Deputy Commissioner Callahan listened and took action by decreasing sound level--and not only for trucks on their way to fires or traveling in for other emergency purposes. With regard to other calls, such as accident investigations, resetting fire alarms and boxes and water leaks, sirens will be lowered and, in some circumstances, turned off. Martha Music, Board member and chair of the task force, said, "This is great news indeed for the Streeterville community, as well as other Chicago communities that will benefit from SOAR's initiative and the Fire Department's response. We extend our thanks to Deputy Commissioner Callahan for listening to our concerns, and acting upon them. To all residents of Streeterville: enjoy a bit more quiet time at home."
At the next task force meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 6:30 pm in the SOAR Conference Room, 244 E. Pearson, Lobby Level, the agenda will include the results of the recent sound survey and accomplishments to date--including more details about the announcement by the Chicago Fire Department on reducing/eliminating siren noise. We also will discuss some goals and initiatives for this year, including your own ideas for priorities. We hope that by the end of the meeting, you will participate in safety issues, sound issues--or both! Light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to Martha Music by email or by calling 312.280.2596 by Sunday, February 21. If you have questions in advance, don't hesitate to contact Martha.

W Hotel: SOAR has learned that City of Chicago officials have met with W Hotel management to discuss security concerns, including the January shootings at the property, located on Lake Shore between Ontario and Erie. W management has been asked to provide a revised and updated security plan for approval by those City officials. We have also learned that the property has been warned that future incidents will put the property and various licenses at serious risk. We are continuing to monitor the situation. We will provide an update when details become available.
Coyote Sighting: The coyote, a frequent visitor to Streeterville, has recently been seen at the property owned by Northwestern Medicine between Erie/Huron and Fairbanks/McClurg. Dog owners are advised to keep their dogs leashed.
Chicago Public Police District CAPS (Chicago Alternative Policing Policy) Beat (aka Sector 30) Meeting: Beats 1831/32/33/34 meet the first Thursday of every odd-numbered month at 6:30 pm at Access Living, 115 W. Chicago. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 3. For information phone 312.742.5778 and ask for Officer Christopher Schenk.

SOAR Real Estate Task Force Update

  237 E. Ontario: The SOAR Real Estate Task Force received a presentation by Tishman Realty on February 9 for their proposed hotel.  Task Force members are discussing the impact of this hotel on the community and will be sending comments to Alderman Reilly. Gail Spreen, task force chair, shares some details: 

Development description: The developer is planning a 22-story hotel, 250-foot tall structure, with approximately 400 rooms and 4,500 square feet of meeting space. Because is no parking garage included in the plan, guests will arrive by car, taxi/Uber or public transportation. A porte-cochère on the east side of the building, located just off the alley, will hold three or four vehicles entering from Ontario; there will be three loading spaces on Ontario.  A limited-service food "grab and go" will be located in the lobby and a pool and deck on the amenity floor. Roof mechanicals will be screened, no rooftop bar is included and most of the roof will be "greened."
Site Plan and Traffic: The task force has identified the most significant issues as the traffic generated by hotel use and the proposed site plan layout.  Although the developer would widen the north half of the alley and the entrance to the alley by three feet, we believe there are problems regarding the porte-cochère on the loading spaces. At the present, the north-south alley on the east side of the property is fully or partially blocked several times a day by deliveries or moves from the neighboring buildings to the east and southeast.  Valet service is planned to take the guests cars from the porte-cochèreto Northwestern's parking garage at Ontario and Fairbanks, efficiency will be critical to having this traffic plan work.  There are two angled loading bays on the south side of the building off the east/west alley.

Northwestern University Simpson-Querrey Biomedical Research Building:
The latest construction update for the site at 303 E. Superior begins with the announcement that caisson operation is complete. The Earth Retention System (ERS) sheeting installation continues through mid-March. Seventy-five-foot-long corrugated steel sheets are being installed in the ground using a vibratory-hydraulic rig, continuing to create noise and vibration for several more weeks, followed by site excavation and tie-back installation.Northwestern anticipates that a single extended-load truck will deliver materials every other day. IDOT, the Illinois Department of Transportation, requires these deliveries arrive at the site before 6:30 am, although trucks will not be unloaded before the city ordinance work hours of 8:00 am. Three to five trucks hauling material from the site will operate every other day. Refinement to the exterior wall mock-up at the southeast corner of Robert H. Lurie Research Center will periodically block access to Lurie loading dock. Work hours will be per the City of Chicago construction ordinance, from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm and will involve work on Saturdays. Northwestern University emergency contact information provided to SOAR: Jay Baehr, phone 847.815.4732 and Brian Kittle, phone 847.815.4708.

Get Out Your Crayolas: Here's a coloring book that outlines some of Streeterville's most famous buildings. Read More
If you notice problems at construction sites in the neighborhood, send photos and descriptions to Gail Spreen, chair of the Real Estate Task Force. The task force will follow up with appropriate developers and/or elected officials. In addition, readers are invited to send an email to Gail regarding proposed developments. Feel free to contact SOAR with any questions: Thank you.