GLADSTONE PARK — The small plaza at the intersection of Milwaukee, Elston and Melvina avenues has long been known as Chopin Plaza.
But officially, the name is nowhere to be found in city records, an oversight that Ald. Margaret Laurino (39th) is moving to correct.
"I'm excited," said Laurino, who introduced an ordinance to name the plaza after Frederic Chopin, the famed Polish composer. "I really like the idea of making this official."
Former Ald. Roman Pucinski (41st) unofficially named the brick-paved traffic island after Chopin in tribute to the Northwest Side's Polish population. Considered the leader of Polish Chicago, Pucinski served on the City Council from 1973 to 1991.
Under the new City Council map that takes effect next year, the intersection will move from the 45th Ward to the 39th Ward.
The Gladstone Park Chamber of Commerce has maintained three flagpoles on the island for about 20 years, and held a Flag Day ceremony there June 14.
A plaque commemorating the plaza's new name may be installed later this year at a ceremony as part of Polish Heritage Month, Laurino said.
Chopin, who was born in 1810, was a child prodigy who completed his best known works by the age of 20. He died in 1849. A school, park and theater in Chicago are already named in his honor.
The composer is a source of pride for Polish men and women, and renaming the plaza will honor the Polish Americans who live on the Northwest Side and have "contributed to the greatness of our city," according to Laurino's ordinance.
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