Last week the board of Jewish Neighborhood Development Council met in an extended session to elect a new leadership team and to shape our direction for the coming year.
I will serve one more year as president, working closely with our extraordinarily talented Executive Director Shalom Klein and with David (Azi) Lifsics, who will assume the JNDC presidency in 2019. In addition, we elected Sharyl Ross as vice president, Barbra Singal as treasurer and Daniel Peikes as secretary, all of whom are dedicated JNDC board members committed to making our community an even better place in which to live and work.
Looking back, we focused on the impact we’ve leveraged over the past few years, arming Alderman Silverstein with the community support necessary to move major initiatives across the finish line. And we considered the additional impact we could have by extending our reach. One way we plan to do that is by continuing to use our documentary film (funded by the Chicago Jewish Historical Society and the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago) about the past, present and future of West Rogers Park, to connect us with more and more residents. Our recent showing in a neighborhood home, with more upcoming screenings planned, will galvanize interest and support in neighborhood-enhancement initiatives.
We noted the success of the new Magenta Sister Stores on Pratt and California and discussed the possibilities of identifying other home-based businesses willing to test a commercial street location. Chicago’s new, quick-approval process recently enacted to encourage utilization of empty storefronts as pop-up locations can be a boon to our efforts.
We also discussed the desire of many individuals who have contacted us about Touhy Avenue west of California and their willingness to work together to remediate that blighted commercial strip. In the coming year we hope to convene a coalition of committed residents to consider strategies for encouraging positive action in that part of the neighborhood.
Additional considerations were to reinvigorate neighborhood art initiatives and to encourage programming in community parks.
We wish you all a shana tova u’metuka -- a good and a sweet year -- and look forward to working together with you for the health, well being, and betterment of our community in the year ahead.