September 6, 2016 Wicker Park Advisory Council Minutes

Wicker Park Advisory Council – September 6, 2016 Minutes

Meeting Attended By: Adam Housley (President, Dog Park), Doug Wood (WPAC Secretary and Events Coordinator), Richarrd Tilley, Mike Payette (Security), John Shirk (Urban Encounter & WickerMic), Denise Browning (Wicker Park Garden & Events), Susan Fontana (Former President & Wicker Park Garden), Alexa Schutz (WickerICE), Mary Tamminga (WPC), Leah Root (WPC), Elaine Coorens (Our Urban Times News), Ben Ellis, Omar Elkuka


  1. MINUTES AUGUST – August 2016 Minutes were read and tentatively approved pending Park Supervisor’s Review.


  1. Discuss Renegade Craft Fair Proposal, WPAC Response, and Discussion – Renegade Staff present – Despina Papadeas (Production Manager) & Justin Justin Rathell


PROPOSAL – May 20, 21, 2017 on Damen from Wicker Park Avenue south to Division Street – ALCOHOL SERVED

Despina Papadeas (Production Manager) & Justin Justin Rathell

RENGADE PROPOSAL – 2017 will mark Renegade Craft Fair’s 15-year anniversary, having enriched the vibrant creative culture of Wicker Park. RCF has expanded from our humble beginnings in 2003 when we held our first fair at Wicker Park hosting 75 local artisans. We now produce 23 Fairs in 8 US cities and London, with our flagship event taking place in Chicago each September on Division St. spanning from Damen to Marshfield. On May 20+21, 2017 we’d like to celebrate the passage of time and honor Wicker Park by curating a smaller, “Pop Up” style fair along Damen Avenue, spanning from Wicker Park Ave. south to Division St.

“15th Anniversary Renegade Craft Fair Pop Up” Proposal:

  1. a) Honoring our humble beginnings in Wicker Park and highlighting the vibrant, creative culture of Wicker Park in a 2 day shopping event.
  2. b) Saturday and Sunday, May 20+21.
  3. c) To span from Wicker Park Ave south to Division St.
  4. d) Will partner with local businesses, non-profits, neighborhood beautification projects, WPAC to ensure a successful event, as well as host 100+ artisan Makers, many of whom are local to Chicago.
  5. e) Joe Moreno has agreed to sign off on the event, with a letter of approval from WPAC.



TO: Despina Papadeas and Renegade Craft Fair Staff,

The Wicker Park Advisory Council has reviewed Renegade Craft Fair’s proposal to occupy Damen AV from Wicker Park AV to Division on May 20, 21, 2017. We also reviewed the additional information that you provided. WPAC will not provide a letter of approval. We are very opposed to this proposal. By copy of this letter, we are informing Alderman Moreno of WPAC’s position.


We spoke with Alderman Moreno and he stated that he would uphold the WPAC recommendation.
Briefly, our reasons are as follows:

THE PARK: Wicker Park has been greatly improved since Renegade was here 15 years ago. We now have award-winning, mature Gardens along Damen. Both the planting and weekly maintenance of the gardens is done by community volunteers, and not the Park District. The community raises the funds to purchase all of the plants in the 10,000 square feet of ornamental gardens. Our experience has shown that when Fests sell alcohol, a small number of Fest attendees come into the Park and damage the Gardens, park grounds, and other historic features of the Park. For both the Green Music Fest and the Wicker Park Fest, WPAC has to hire and pay for additional private security to protect the Gardens and other parts of the Park. In addition, the park’s restroom and waste management allocations are pushed above budget during these events and portable toilets must be rented. WPAC members are required to spend their time assisting with waste management during the fests. WPAC does not want another Fest adjacent to the Park that will add to our already high private security bill ($4000 this year). These security costs come out of our budget that is totally funded by donations. Increased 2016 security costs have led WPAC to cancel our community Halloween event (attended by 3,000 patrons each year) due to lack of funds. WPAC and the Park are adversely affected by Fests adjacent or near the Park.

Also during the last 15 years, WPAC has developed a very successful program that vastly adds to Park District activities at Wicker. It is called the Create Program and attracts thousands of additional people to Wicker Park from late spring until late fall. The cost of the Create Program is covered by community donations, and not the Park District. We don’t need the Renegade Craft Fair to highlight the “vibrant, creative culture of Wicker Park.”


PAST HISTORY WITH THE RENEGADE: WPAC members who were on the committee during the Renegade’s last rainy year in the park were left with an unfavorable impression of the Renegade’s administration’s concern for our park and community.  The field was left compressed, torn up, and muddy and the fountain and fountain court were filled with mud from the patrons of the fest who scraped the mud off their shoes in the fountain and curbing. Even today, the ruts are still visible in the field, marking the walkways between the rows of tents from that year’s festival. The Renegade’s staff refused to discuss the repair the damages with the council.

THE COMMUNITY: We already have four street fairs: two on Division, the Green Music Fest which is adjacent to the Park on Damen and the Wicker Park Fest at North and Milwaukee. This is an unprecedented number of Fests in just a few blocks of each other. All of these Fests in this high density area add strain to Park patrons, neighbors and local traffic. The Park patrons and local residents have festival fatigue. With the existing Fests, neighbors can’t invite friends to their homes on four weekends of the season due to parking and traffic congestion problems caused by the Fests. Instead, they spend those days monitoring the impact of activity from the fests and mitigating the effects by cleaning and protecting their neighborhood. It is unreasonable to take a fifth weekend away from those who live in this community.

We are sure that Renegade Craft Fair can find some other more appropriate location for your event.

Very truly yours, Wicker Park Advisory Council Adam Housley, President      Mike Payette, Security Committee    Doug Wood, Events Coordinator, Promotions, Gardens


DISCUSSION – The letter was discussed and the Renegade Group and WPAC agreed that the event would not take place in 2016.  Leah Root asked the Renegade to send a list of Not-For-Profits that benefit from the event (List not received to date).  Elaine Coorens emphasized the damage that occurred to the field has not been fixed to this day. Doug Wood Suggested that Renegade Partner with WPAC/Park District and offer Craft Classes at the Park.

  1. Discuss Proposal from Chris Hohenstein from City Tree Delivery (Next to Big Star)

Offer: Trees at same price and painted/preserved like Menards at Menard’s Price – Offer Greens for roses and proposed that weSet up Tree Drop off with mulching


  • Do you want offer of trees? Yes, Wicker Park Garden Club Will purchase and offer promotion on Winter Banner
  • Greens for Roses? Yes, will pick up on Saturdays
  • Set up Drop off and Mulching? No, no room in park or oversight volunteers



  1. Midnight Circus in the Parks– Fri-Sun. Sept. 16, 17, 18 – Details were discussed. Details of setup and volunteer jobs were discussed as well as the inclusion of Boo-Palooza regulars – JLC Done in a Day and Mad Hatters as well as a special photo op by Greg Nagel.


  1. Upcoming Performance Discussion – Theatre-Hikes – 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, Fri. Oct. 14 at 6:30pm – Set up 100 chairs and electric at 5pm


  1. Programming Discussion – Landscape Design Lecture Series – 1st Mondays – 7pm Oct. 3, Nov.7, Dec. 5

Set up at 6pm each day


  1. Upcoming Event DiscussionFountain Decorating Social, Sat. Nov. 19, 9am – 4pm (11/26-Raindate)


  1. Weekly Event DiscussionGardening SignUP– Saturdays at 10am – 1pm


  1. Workshop Series DiscussionHome Landscape Design Workshop– 8 Weeks Jan/Feb


  1. COMMITTEE REPORTS– Dog Park – Adam Housley pointed out the need for fence repair again.