We thank Wednesday Journal for its continuing attention to North Avenue, including the Nov. 26 story on the soon-to-open Market Fresh at North and Harvey avenues and in Dan Haley’s recap of his conversation with state Senator Don Harmon. But the latter requires some clarification.
Regarding Harmon’s support for Alderman Deborah Graham, Haley wrote: “Graham is under fire from North Avenue activists frustrated with her handling of pawn shop and liquor licensing on the street.”
NANA-OP was indeed frustrated with Graham’s 2012 support for a new pawn shop, the fifth within two blocks on North Avenue. (The North Avenue Zoning and Development Advisory Committee, with members from Oak Park and Chicago’s Galewood neighborhood, didn’t exist then.) But neither NANA-OP nor NAZDAC has a problem with her on North Avenue liquor licensing. In fact, Graham helped us prevent a nightclub from opening and put a liquor moratorium on the shuttered Walgreens at North and Mobile. [At the request of NAZDAC and the North Avenue Business Association, she helped a great new restaurant called Sergio’s Place with a zoning problem and supported its liquor license application.] She’s also led the effort to obtain funding for the North Avenue study we’ve advocated.
The chair of a dormant citizens group supports a Graham opponent in the upcoming election. NAZDAC is politically neutral, however. We seek good relationships with all local government officials and reserve the right to disagree with them as well. But if Graham is now under fire by North Avenue activists, they do not include NAZDAC or NANA-OP.
Chair, North Avenue Zoning and development Advisory Committee (NAZDAC)
Co-founder, North Avenue Neighbors Association of Oak Park (NANA-OP)