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    Volunteer Workshop Registration

    Cost is $25.00 for Illinois Main Street Organizations and $35.00 for Non-Main Street Organizations. Cost includes lunch and refreshments. Register Here...

Mardi Gras is This Saturday!

 

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Waukegan Main Street’s annual Mardi Gras fundraiser is this Saturday, February 7th, at Glen Flora Country Club.  Thanks to the Mardi Gras committee and several volunteers who have been working on plans, silent auction items, and sponsors, this year will be quite an extravaganza.  Returning this year is DJ at Large Christopher Thelen, who will be providing the music for the New Orleans-style night starting at 6pm.

DJ at Large

Glen Flora’s executive chef has worked up a Cajun-inspired menu to tantalize the taste buds.  And casino gaming, a $500-prize raffle, tarot card reading by the Divine Miss E, and silent auction will be going on throughout the event.  “The casino gaming is a big hit with people, especially since we have some local celebrities as dealers” said Jane Ferry, Executive Director of Waukegan Main Street.  “This year the top prizes include a 42″ television donated by Grand Appliance and Bears tickets donated by North Shore Printers.  We are continuously overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors and sponsors.”

SiVer Place

Silent auction items from a variety of donors in the downtown and lakefront – or “Main Street District” – and outside Waukegan have been flowing into the Main Street office over the last month. “The silent auction items run the gamut from children’s activity baskets to great outerwear to original artwork to Bears tickets,” said Ferry.  This year’s items have been posted regularly on Main Street’s Facebook page and include  several  ‘experience items’, such as theatre tickets, a tattoo gift certificate, a wine and food pairing.

“We are lucky enough to have three women who have run the silent auction preparation and day of activities for years return again this year.  It is amazing to watch them create baskets … and sometimes fight over what gift certificate or bottle of wine should go with something.”

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While most of the tickets are pre-sold for the event, walk-ins are welcome. Money raised at the event supports Waukegan Main Street continuing efforts to revitalize downtown Waukegan and the lakefront.  “It’s an entertaining evening, giving people a chance to get dressed on a cold February evening, socialize and enjoy.  As the French say, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!”  #MainStMardiGras

Expanding Learning Spaces at Waukegan Public Library

Downtown Waukegan will be full of construction project in 2015, with the Lake County Court Expansion and CLC’s new building both getting underway.  In addition, our award-winning library will go through a complete renovation of the main floor to better accommodate the needs of the community.  We at Waukegan Main Street are thrilled at all the positive changes in our downtown!

Architect’s rendering of the new main floor of Waukegan Public Library.
Architect’s rendering of the new main floor of Waukegan Public Library.

Starting January 10th, the Waukegan Public Library will undergo a major transformation of its main floor to accommodate the changing and growing needs of the community. Ensuring that the environment of the library is focused on learning and discovery, the redesign includes six new classrooms and collaborative study spaces, educational exhibits, upgrades in technology, better seating and lighting, and a large media wall.

In an effort to reflect the changing role of the library, the new spaces will further define the library as a Learning Center for the community. It will include functional, innovative, and engaging spaces that will help community members on their individual paths to success. The redesign is another step in increasing literacy rates by 25% by the year 2020.

For the last 30 years, the Waukegan Public Library has offered literacy programs for adults and families with the help of partner organizations and outside funding sources. However, current library classroom spaces and collection materials are no longer adequate to meet the demands of a growing population  in need of free resources and services.

New classrooms and collaborative study spaces on the main floor.
New classrooms and collaborative study spaces on the main floor

“In the past, we had to have had to be very creative in finding learning spaces for groups. Our classrooms are full every night of the week and our classes have long lists of students waiting for an opening. With two new classrooms and four collaborative study spaces on the main floor, we will be able to serve more members of the community,” said Gale Graves, Education and Literacy Services Manager.

“Libraries are … about reading, resources, and access to information,” said Richard Lee, Waukegan Public Library Executive Director. “We are committed to creating a community of readers from cradle to career. When our residents are successful, our city will be successful.”

The library will be open normal hours during construction except for the week of January 10-18. The project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2015.

Waukegan Park District recognized for Conservation Achievements

Congratulations to our Waukegan Park District for receiving the Conservation and Native Landscaping Award from the Chicago Wilderness!  The Waukegan Park District is one of 13 sites honored.

From great woodlands to outdoor classrooms, the Chicago Wilderness Conservation and Native Landscaping Award recognizes sites within the greater Chicago region that demonstrate excellence in site-based restoration, native landscaping, and conservation design. These practices create and protect habitat for a variety of native plant and animal species, and result in important environmental benefits for both people and nature.

The Waukegan Park District received the award for habitat restoration in Bowen Park’s Glen Flora Ravine. Waukegan Park District President Terry Duffy stated, “The Waukegan Park District is fortunate to have such a great partner, the Waukegan Harbor Citizen’s Advisory Group, in the Bowen Park ravine restoration project. This award wouldn’t be possible without their significant contributions. The District’s restoration efforts will enable future generations to enjoy the ravine’s beautiful natural areas, special plants and animals. Ravine restoration also supports an important ecological purpose, purifying water as it travels to Lake Michigan. Receiving this recognition is like icing on the cake, thank you Chicago Wilderness!”

The natural areas of Chicago’s wilderness are home to a wide diversity of species and rare habitats, and provide the region’s residents with opportunities for recreation and exploration, as well as clean air and water, flood protection and so much more. Yet the region’s natural areas are threatened by fragmentation; invasive plant and animal species; pollution; and the impacts of climate change. To address these threats, through the restoration of the Glen Flora Ravine, the Waukegan Park District is demonstrating a commitment to maintain the health of local nature to benefit both people and wildlife.

“The Chicago Wilderness alliance is so pleased to recognize Waukegan Park District,” said Suzanne Malec-McKenna, Executive Director of Chicago Wilderness. “They are helping to ensure that our region’s natural heritage remains vibrant for generations to come.”