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Fullerton Avenue 'Tombstones' Could Get a Makeover Soon

LOGAN SQUARE — It's easy to see why some have dubbed the strange concrete structures along Fullerton Avenue "tombstones."

The city installed the eight concrete planter walls between Kedzie Boulevard and Hamlin Avenue in 2006 with plans of installing decorative inserts into them.

But that was seven years, one recession and a handful of city budget crises ago, and the planter walls just fell through the cracks.

So, that's when archi-treasures stepped in with an idea and a Kickstarter campaign to spruce up the "tombstones" with colored concrete impressions, hence the project name, Logan Square Impressions.

Archi-treasures was founded in 1996 and dedicated itself to beautifying cityscapes while bringing community members together in the process.

They're the folks responsible for the yellow silhouettes on the bright blue wall next to the Logan Square Blue Line entrance, along with the Paseo Prairie Garden by the station entrance.

"The idea is really about using art and design as a tool to bring people together," said archi-treasures executive director Joyce Fernandes.

The silhouettes, for instance, were made by a group of teens from Kelvyn Park High School and seniors from the nearby Logan Vistas apartment complex over the summer of 2008.

It was at that time that Fernandes and others at archi-treasures noticed those drab slabs of concrete on Fullerton. They tried for years to get city funding for the project, but to no avail.

So, last week they launched the Kickstarter campaign in hopes of raising the $27,000 needed to complete the project.

The money will go toward materials, workshops and as well as to cover archi-treasures' staffers' time as they work to complete the project.

They only raised $1,591 as of Tuesday evening, but Fernandes believes the end product will be well worth the cost.

"For us the end product is having active, vibrant streetscapes that are friendly to pedestrians and that make people feel comfortable and safe when walking around the neighborhood." she said. "That stretch of Fullerton is a little bit dismal right now, and I think public arts projects can have a very beneficial impact on street life, especially if you involve community in making the project."

The Logan Square Impressions Kickstarter campaign will be open until May 16.