LINCOLN SQUARE — Lincoln Square neighbors will be able to shop a weekend Makers’ Markets, listen to live music and even possibly watch films curated by the Davis Theater at Ainslie Arts Plaza this summer.
The plaza opened last year at the triangle-shaped block that sits just east of the McDonald’s at 4844 N. Lincoln Ave. It currently has seating and a mural painted by artist Andrea Jablonski.
The improvements to the plaza are part of an effort by Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th) to improve Lincoln Avenue’s north commercial corridor to help boost to an overlooked stretch of restaurants and retail — and long-vacant storefronts — in Lincoln Square.
Vasquez was joined by city officials like Department of Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox and Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Gia Biagi at a Friday ribbon cutting for the plaza.
“We are delighted to see the ideas from the community come to life in the Ainslie Arts Plaza,” Vasquez said. “We’ve had community meetings over the past several months, where neighbors and business owners have provided their input. We will be showcasing the energy and creativity of this community with the plaza, as a gateway to continued development on Lincoln Avenue North.”
The plaza’s amenities include seating, newly installed landscaping and lights. The Make Way for People conversion of the space into a temporary plaza cost approximately $87,000, financed in part by $57,000 in City of Chicago Open Space Impact Fee revenues, which are generated by new residential development projects to help improve public open spaces within the City’s 77 community areas.
The balance of project funding was provided by the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a showcase of what happens when you have community groups, business groups and the aldermen working together,” explains Rudy Flores, executive director of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. “That’s exactly what has happened here, when we all work together, amazing innovative ideas like the Ainslie Arts Plaza come to fruition.”
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