25 years ago North Lakeside Cultural Center (NLCC) formed a not-for-profit to save the beautiful building at 6219 N. Sheridan from being torn down. They signed a 25 year lease with the Chicago Park District. The lease agreement stated that NLCC would pay for utilities and any costs in keeping the building running as a space for the Edgewater community to hold events and meet, etc. Any repairs to the actual building, structure, and land owned by the Chicago Parks District (CPD) that exceeds a certain amount is the responsibility of CPD. For the last several years CPD has either not had the money or chosen not to make these repairs and is now challenging the renewal of the lease because NLCC has not kept the building up on it's repairs. The lease ends December 31, 2011.
The North Lakeside Cultural Center is an important part of the Edgewater and Uptown communities. Most in the area have had an intimate, fond, or at least nodding acquaintance with NLCC, the building and/or its programs during its twenty-five years in the community; and for you who have not, you might well know someone who has. This broad reach has ceased to surprise us board members; the usage is remarkable. During a single year, people numbering 4,000 come through NLCC's doors for programs directly relating to the arts and culture of the communities in the area and beyond. Some are there often, some for the first time: at art exhibits, at fund-raisers for cultural causes, at Jazz Supper Clubs, master classes, concerts, plays, performance art, Days to Create, Children's Art programs, and on and on. It is a place that has touched so many lives, a precious resource for the community's use, and a natural for programming able to complement in unique ways to that of the Berger Park Cultural Center right next door.
The architecture of the house itself is gorgeous, but is in need of repairs; repairs the Chicago Parks District is unfairly holding the NLCC accountable for. NLCC members, and community members are donating their time and supplies to make the repairs/beautification they can because the North Lakeside Cultural Center holds such immense worth to the Edgewater and Uptown communities, but they cannot afford and are not responsible for structural repairs to the floors, windows, doors etc.
Please join us in letting the Chicago Parks District and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel know how loved the building and organization are. Join us in asking them to uphold their part of the lease; fix the building, and please don't penalize the members of Uptown who utilize this space.
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