LAKEVIEW — Is Lincoln Avenue south of Belmont in danger becoming a dead zone?
With several popular independent businesses — Bottle and Bottega, Heritage Bicycles, Sam and George's, to name a few — the answer's no for now.
The street has "a lot of potential," said Heather Way Kitzes, executive director of the Lakeview Chamber of Commerce, but the stretch between Diversey Parkway and Belmont Avenue "is definitely in need of some updating."
The chamber will host an open house from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at JP Burke's Patio and Tap, 2913 N. Lincoln Ave., to get input from business owners, property owners and residents on ways to beautify the street.
All community members are invited.
"Lincoln Avenue has so much potential," Way Kitzes said. "It just needs that little push."
The dicontinuation of the No. 11 Lincoln bus last year was a huge loss for the street, and chances are slim that it will ever return, Way Kitzes said.
Upgrading the street with trees, plants, bike racks or benches is a way to create a sense of place for the area for pedestrians — a short-term fix until larger street projects like dedicated bike lanes can be completed.
Special Service Area 27, a taxing district for business improvement, wants to implement the temporary fixes soon, with a budget of approximately $50,000 for 2014.
Residents will have the opportunity to vote at the open house on different styles of greenery, such as shrubs or perennial flowers, and on different styles of planters. Those who cannot attend may also take an online survey by Tuesday.
Already, the special service area implemented Lakeview's first "people spot" on the stretch in front of Heritage Bikes, 2959 N. Lincoln Ave., the last two summers, with the goal of having a place for people to hang out.
The people spot will return next year, too, Way Kitzes said.
"One of the themes is enhancing the pedestrian experience across the board in our service area," she said. "That is definitely necessary on Lincoln Avenue."
Once the results are tallied, the chamber, which runs the special service area, will hold another event next year to showcase the implementation plan.
"For now," Way Kitzes said, "we’re looking to get really solid community feedback."