Saturday, January 21, 2006


I love maps. My mother put maps up in my room as a kid. I keep a map of the city up in the Royale. I know the city like the back of my hand, so maps are just an extension of this love.

This map is very interesting. Click on the picture to get a better view(I really need to get my scanner working). This is a flyer tacked up on our public bulletin board. I am not sure who did this, but I have a good idea who created this gem.

This is a great sign for the southside, and this neighborhood in particular. This neighborhood is the most critical for the city right now. This neighborhood is on edge. There is still a plethora of problems that plague that particular area- Cherokee, Benton Park West whatever you want to call it. But there is a groundswell of positive signs, more than are even listed on this map. Notice that South Grand is not mapped on this and only has a mention on it. This is the new area.

But there are problems to make this area grow. The business I want to put in the area is at best unwelcome and quite possibly criminal. The business climate is still hostile. This can change, but there are still many hurdles. I very seriously would like to open up a branch of the Panda AC in the neighborhood. I would also like to open up a bar in the neighborhood. I hope that there would be several new diverse businesses to round out the area. There needs to be the climate to make that happen. It is happening anyway. Many of the places that are listed on here were given a very hard time about opening. The growth is organic. It is like a plant that is growing in the crack of the sidewalk. It is surprising that happens, but it is going to try no matter what. I just don't want it to die. I hope it is encouraged and becomes a lush area full of welcome opportunity.

Maps like this should be dropped on South County and the burbs from airplanes. Spontaneous projects like this and sites like Kopper's Lowlife Guide and Jerome's STLPunk do far more for the growth of vital areas of town than any project by the RCGA or other large top down organizations. Let us push to make this the place to be, for immigrant businesses and all new businesses.


Anonymous Bill Streeter said...

Hey if you like maps you'll dig You should set up a Frappr map for this blog.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous Shit-in-the-face said...

what south grand needs is a good record store.

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we need more than fashion and food.

10:23 AM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Any thoughts on what you think the hood needs to succeed? I do find it fun they don't put the highway on the map. You wouldn't see that on any official tourist map. I think the area needs a Mexican owned/run full blown night club. The kind that gets a line outside. That would be hot. Other than that there are full service groceries that have opened which is an excellent sign of long term grounding. There are actually quite a few other businesses on the strip that are not mentioned, even some hipster ones down toward Compton.

11:36 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

As a "Benton Park West" resident, I love Cherokee too, and I was fascinated to see hundreds of people at Fort Gondo and several adjacent spaces for an art gallery / performance show on Friday January 13th.

I didn't even know about it - I was just walkin' back home from Walgreens! Really cool - lots of people, mostly young, many with fancy cars parked right on Cherokee and Compton.

It's happening ... just give it a few more years. And CAMP finally got their issues resolved with the city. Craig Schmid is a good guy; he has a tough job. Shirley Wallace I can do without - she doesn't live here, and both the businesses with which she is affiliated (Record Exchange and Haffner's Antiques) have closed their Cherokee Station locations. So she really shouldn't have the influence she does; i.e., killing the "Mexican bus."

11:55 AM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

How was she able to kill the Mexican Bus? Shouldn't Schmid be able to keep it?

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joe- I live in Marine Villa, and I agree Schmid may mean well, but I really feel he is holding the neighborhoods back. His resistance to CAMP opening is a prime example. He should make it his top priority to remove these antiquated laws which prevent bars from opening. This is why Radio Cherokee can't serve alcohol correct?

The very best thing thing to happen to these neighborhoods which border Cherokee (BPW/Cherokee Park/Marine Villa/Benton Park) would be for them to become a destination for bars/clubs/galleries. People visiting the neighborhood at night does not equate trouble! If anything it cuts down on crime because you have a constant human presence on the street. I was at that event on the 13th, and you're right it was fabulous. It could be every weekend, or every night, and it would only benefit the neighborhood.

I'd like to see both Schmid and Ortmann replaced. The neighborhoods are just waiting for a rebirth that comes from the immigrants and the creative types. Anybody willing to run?

Sorry for this long post- but on a related note- the bar Little Gam's on Antique Row recently closed. Nothing will be opening in it's place because it was grandfathered in. So we're down to one bar on Antique Row. Shangri-La is great, but wouldn't it be even better if you could visit at about 11pm for food and a drink?

1:31 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Here's a link to the RFT story about the bus and Shirley Wallace.

I think regarding CAMP, Craig has probably been feeling pressure from people in higher positions, and maybe from some conservative neighborhood types too. Recall the raid there and at Bolozone around the time of the World Ag Forum a couple years back; this is just a continuation of those struggles.

Craig Schmid is a hundred times more effective than his predecessors, Michael K. Sheehan (who actually opposed Housing Conservation Districts!) and ward boss "Uncle Louis" Buckowitz. I may not agree with everything Craig does, but generally I think he tries really hard to accommodate a lot of different interests.

As for Ortmann - good luck. Martie Aboussie still wields a lot of power in this area; and of course Ken's wife Pat is both committeewoman and a higher-up in Gregg Daly's office.

I was never a fan of Little Gam's.

2:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^I was never a fan of Little Gam's either. It is just sad because everytime a bar closes on Cherokee St. that is it. You're not going to see anything replace it. I personally would like to see a music club or a martini bar go in its place. Something that might complement the nearby Off Broadway, but the way things are it will never happen.

And I'm sure you're right about Craig's effectiveness vs. past alderman. We could have things much worse I am sure. But I also think things could be better and I would love to see someone new and young in the board of alderman.

2:25 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Hey Joe, why did Schmid stop the Mexican Bus? What a great way to have people to come to this neighborhood. People who may want to invest in a businesses because they see the opportunity. People who may want to move into the neighborhood. Or do we only want Metropolis kids? Chicago was rebuilt in the 90s, not by yuppies and hipsters, but by immigrants. The white population of Chicago decreased between 90 and 2000. It was the immigrants who were the engine behind the renaissance. We are keeping ourselves from moving ahead by placating the old guard reactionary conservatives. This is not a time to worry about politics. This city was built on immigration- we at one time had the highest percentage of foreign born residents, so let us not forget our roots and who we really are.

3:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey did jerome do that map?


11:46 PM  
Blogger Steven Fitzpatrick Smith said...

Probably, that is where I would put my money.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I put the map on the board. Sheri at Tension Head gave it to me. Jerome did not make it. I forgot her name, but some girl made it. The same girl who made the flyers for their grand opening.

8:54 PM  
Blogger Thomas said...

Little Gams = Lotta Germs.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Eric said...

Just went to Tension Head today, and met the artist who made that - Maggie, I believe her name was. She also made a bunch of li'l comic zines that you can get at TH. In very fact, as I was told, they're having a grand opening for their magazine/zine section soon, and Maggie'll be doing caricatures.

5:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So if anyone were looking to investigate the situation on Cherokee a bit...
the businesses on Cherokee are getting shit from the power that be. The crack dealers, hookers and shoplifters are left alone. There is resistance for new businesses to come in.
Has anyone thought of a link between Shirley, Ortmann and developers???
Maybe Ortmann gave the signal to inspectors and crap to hold up small businesses so a big developer could come in. Shirley may be his lackey. Just a theory.
I've heard Schimd is ok but what if he's in on it?

8:52 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home