LINCOLN SQUARE — As we prepare to ring in 2017, let's take a look back at the stories that had the neighborhood buzzing in 2016.
The Davis has been an anchor in Lincoln Square for nearly 100 years — and that age showed. The theater shuttered in January for extensive renovations, including the addition of a companion restaurant and bar, Carbon Arc. When the results of the makeover were revealed in mid-December, they were nothing short of stunning.
Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) pulled the plug on the Manor Diverter midway through its trial period after neighbors revolted against the plan, which prevented drivers from traversing Manor Avenue end-to-end between Lawrence and Montrose. The purpose of the diverter was to curb cut-through traffic and create a friendlier environment for pedestrians and cyclists, but instead it nearly ignited civil war in this normally peaceful neighborhood.
[DNAinfo/Erica Demarest; DNAinfo/Patty Wetli]
The long-delayed demolition of the Western-Belmont Overpass, built in 1961 to ease congestion around the now defunct Riverview Amusement Park, finally became reality in March. Once construction wraps up in summer 2017, there will be three lanes in each direction on this stretch of Western during rush hour, as well as a five-leg, grade-level intersection at Western/Belmont/Clybourn.
When a thief (or thieves) broke into the Irving Park Food Pantry, 3801 N. Keeler Ave., and made off with the center's entire stockpile of toiletries, the community responded. Long-time supporters and complete strangers dropped off toothpaste, soap, toilet paper and other items. John Psiharis, the pantry's executive director, said the pantry's plight "elicited an amazing response, one that I didn't expect."
Readers were intrigued by the story of Joshua Marin, Lincoln Square's newest small business owner — who happens to be a 19-year-old third-generation cobbler.
Two-flats have been converted into single-family homes and the surge in million-dollar new construction homes has put North Center out of reach for middle-class families. "There are only so many people who can afford $1.2 million homes," said Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th).
Numerous reports of bullet-ridden cars had residents of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood Manor on edge over the summer. The culprits were never found, but the random shootings ceased.
The push for a continuous riverfront bike trail, particularly the potential for floating segments, captured readers' attention and their imaginations.
Chicago's already complicated relationship with recycling became downright tortured in 2016, thanks in large part to a new requirement to place items loose in blue bins instead of grouped in plastic bags. The city plans to redouble education efforts in 2017. (For a reminder of why plastic bags are recycling's Public Enemy No. 1, click here.)
How could we not end with a neighborhood angle to THE Chicago story of the year?
In the bottom of the 10th inning during Game 7 of the World Series, FOX cameras zoomed in on a mustachioed Chicago fan, and Lincoln Square resident Dan O'Conor became an unexpected footnote to the Cubs' historic championship.
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