Horner Park comes off successful summer

The concert committee at the Horner Park Advisory Council reported the summer concert series was another success. Hundreds of people flocked to concerts held at Ravenswood Manor Park and at Horner Park the committee reported.

“However we can’t follow the same old model,” committeechair John O’Connell. “It’s a thankless situation” and I need help, he said.

“The committee did a great job,” Treasurer Kevin Anderson answered.

The committee, which programs, publicizes and produces the concerts will be reorganizing in October for the 2012 summer series, it was announced. Community members interested in any aspect of the work should attend an October meeting to learn more. The date of the committee meeting will be set soon.

Proposed placement of eight replacement trees (dark green) at Ravenswood Manor Park. Credit: Horner Park Advisory Council

The other news dominating the council was efforts to close out the matching grant from Openlands to place eight trees in Ravenswood Manor.

The council had set a goal of collecting $1,000. So far it has collected $990, it reported.

The council hopes a person steps forward with the last $10 donation so that the campaign can be successfully closed.

The campaign, called ‘Put the Wood back in Ravenswood Manor’ is a partnership with the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association. It was started due to the loss of several trees in and around Ravenswood Manor Park.

The city responded to the effort by planting four trees in the triangle of parkway surrounding the park.

A tree planting will be held Sat., Oct. 1 at 9A at the park.

Reports were received that police were responding to calls in Horner Park of dogs off leash. Weekends were particularly busy for ticket writing the committee heard.

Finally a multi-million dollar series of projects is approaching a conclusion at the park. New facilities, including an elevator, ADA compliant work-out rooms, electrical infrastructure and other upgrades should be in place shortly. The committee heard a report that funding for the improvements came in part from federal stimulus money.

To give money towards the Openlands matching grant, a project in partnership with the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association.


Horner Park Advisory Council TONIGHT

The Horner Park Advisory Council will be meeting tonight at Ravenswood Manor Park, 4626 N Manor. Most HPAC meetings are held at the Horner Park Field House.

The HPAC also controls activities at Ravenswood Manor Park, Sunken Gardens Park, Jacob Playlot and Buffalo Park.

  • Horner Park Advisory Council
  • Ravenswood Manor Park; 4626 N Manor
  • Mon., July 11; 7.30 P
  • For more information.

Merle’s— for sale

The signs are on the wall that Merle’s Coffee Shoppe on Francisco may be sold. Literally, the restaurant located adjacent to the Francisco Brown Line station on Manor and Francisco Avenues has put multiple signs up announcing the place is for sale. “Serious inquiries only.”

Owner Jeff Scoughton did not want to talk about the sale to The Bulldog. Merle’s, located in the business center of Ravenswood Manor, is one of two restaurants at the rail crossing. The other restaurant is First Slice Pie, located just north of the tracks on Manor. First Slice opened over the summer.Francisco v Rockwell

The 11 shop commercial area is somewhat similar to the 23 shop commercial area surrounding the Rockwell Brown Line stop because of its location servicing an El stop. A large playlot called Manor Park sits in a triangle between Francisco and Manor Avenue attracting families throughout the day.

Like Rockwell, which has the Greater Rockwell Organization, the Manor has an established community organization, the Ravenswood Manor Improvement Association. But while Rockwell seems to speak of vitality, the Manor Crossing business district seems to say I’m dying.

Perhaps the line of empty store fronts on Francisco facing the park make the statement. For rent signs face the sidewalk as the pedestrian walks south from the CTA stop. They are broken only by Merle’s and a dance studio that seems filled with young families.

Although the portion of closed shops is similar at Rockwell, many of the storefronts there do not advertise their condition. Several are simply closed, with no sign of being available for rent.

The Bulldog stopped a number of pedestrians on Manor to ask about Merle’s. Merle’s has a good Yelp* rating, with 22 persons giving it an average rating of four of five stars. (See The Bulldog’s review of Merle’s). Yet many of the pedestrians Sunday said they wished Merle’s well, but had never been inside.

“It’s good to have it open,” one person told The Bulldog. “But I haven’t warmed to it.”

“I think it’s a real neat little neighborhood place,” Rita Battles said. “I’ve been there a couple times and the food was good.”

The classic rock and roll from Merle’s speakers rolls over the Francisco stop and across the crossing gates. A mural faces the platform. Merle’s doesn’t define the neighborhood, but you ask yourself what would happen if Merle’s became Rod’s or Deb’s or Starbucks? What if it closed?

“It’s wonderful,” Tamara T told The Bulldog about Merle’s. “It needs to stay local. If it closed it would be awful.”