A dedicated group of volunteers from Waukegan Main Street and Friends of Waukegan Beach completed an end of the season clean up on Saturday, September 21st. The clean up was part of both the International Coastal Clean-up and Alliance for the Great Lakes. We were pleased to have Brownies, Cub Scouts, teens, a young Marine, a college co-ed, the station director from Midwest Generation, friends, and people new to the area. What a terrific mix of people out for a good cause!
A big THANK YOU goes out to Waukegan’s Seventh Ward Alderman Lisa May for co-coordinating the effort and to F.I.S.T. for helping our efforts. F.I.S.T. should also be commended for keeping the beach clean throughout the summer season, meaning fewer filled garbage bags when we finished. Still, volunteers found a few unique items, including a 15 foot long piece of metal pipe and a plastic patio table in pieces.
As Margaret Mead, noted cultural anthropologist, said (and those of you who know me have heard repeated many times), “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Thank you, volunteers!
(Photo credit: Lisa May, Mike May, Jane Yarnall, Dulce Ortiz)
Governor Pat Quinn was in Waukegan yesterday to announce the release of $35.9 million in state funds for the expansion of the College of Lake County Lakeshore Campus. If you were not able to attend, read the whole article in the News-Sun.
We were thrilled to be in the audience for such a great announcement for our downtown. We were especially pleased when Governor Quinn said:
“Once you have an institution like we’re going to build here, with lots of people coming in and out, all through the day and into the night, that’s good for the community. It’s good for public safety. You have eyes on the street. You have people coming together, going to restaurants after school and so on, and that’s what Main Street is all about. When I was lieutenant governor, we worked with Waukegan Main Street, one of the very best programs in the whole state of Illinois. They really work on the community. We believe in the community. We believe in the opportunity of people to start business and expand their businesses. We believe in tourism and encouraging people to come to Waukegan ….” (Thanks to Dan Moran of the News-Sun for the supplying the exact quote.)
Wow. Thanks, Governor! Every single one of our volunteers should take pride in knowing the Governor of a state of 12.88 million people knows about our local Main Street. Our efforts are paying off!
Visitors from our sister city Miyazaki, Japan toured some of our highlights on Tuesday September 17th, including our award-winning library, parks and the Genesee Theatre. What a wonderful, gracious group of people! They started the day at City Hall, discussing government structure, then took the short walk to our library. They were amazed that all the library offerings are free, including computer and ESL classes.
The group then walked down to Genesee Street where I talked about revitalization largely due to the arts, but also mentioned that we have businesses that have been in the Main Street District for 30 years or more. One of the Japanese delegation had visited Waukegan about 20 years ago and said, “You have a beautiful city … not so before.” All of us working diligently on the revitalization of Waukegan should accept that as a compliment, as well as a reminder that hard work pays off.
Along with other stops, they visited architect Joe Legat, who was instrumental in the designs of the Baxter plants in their city, bridging cultures with business. Later the group toured the Genesee Theatre with Phyllis Klein and Marc Scherer, the new management of the theatre tasked with bringing more shows and events to our fair city.
The group was served a culinary delight by Chef Michael Lachowicz, the new chef for the Genesee Theatre. Over lunch we talked about our culture’s similarities and differences.
After lunch, the tour continued to the Field House, the Sports Park and beyond. Dinner was held at Green Town Tavern with specials provided by Waukegan restaurants.
Having people visit always opens one’s eyes to the beauty of one’s everyday environs. Join me in looking around Waukegan with fresh eyes and a welcoming attitude.
Are you on our Calendar mailing list? If not, you’re missing out on getting a fairly comprehensive listing of events and activities in and around downtown Waukegan. Check out this week’s highlights and consider getting a similar calendar in our email inbox every Friday morning.
Highlights from this week include the 14th annual Walk for Seniors on Saturday, September 14th. The Walk will go right through downtown. Are you participating? Swing by the Waukegan Main Street table to pick up information and a sticker!
Saturday evening two of our three theatres have offerings:
A great time was had by over 1300 people who attended the Waukegan Public Library’s Monarch Festival this past Sunday. Irene Edgar and I had a good time talking to all the people who came by our table, giving away WMS stickers and challenging people with Irene’s awesome Architectural Scavenger Hunt!
As promised, here are the answers to the Scavenger Hunt with some interesting architectural notes:
Parking garage at First Midwest Bank on County – folded plate roof
Carnegie Library at 1 N. Sheridan – Doric column
Le Chateau at 10 N. Sheridan
Karcher Artspace Lofts – anchor for cast iron tie rod
120 Washington Street – anchor for cast iron tie rod or ornamental rosette
Jerry’s Tacos at 120 N. Genesee – gooseneck lamp
118 Washington Street – Richardsonian Romanesque
Waukegan Building at 4 S. Genesee
YMCA Building at 204 County – Different colors of brick laid in a Flemish Diagonal Bond to create diagonal pattern
Genesee Theatre at 203 N. Genesee = variation on Corinthian pilaster
Sauter Building/Sterns – copper ornamental banding on oriel window
Blumberg Building on South Genesee
Merchants’ Block at Water and Genesee
Thanks again to Irene Edgar for her hard work and to everyone who swung by our Monarch Festival table!
The Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Tip for today hit home:
To foster a sense of belonging, create meaningful rituals with your family or community, such as volunteering together once a month.
We say it regularly: Volunteers are the heart of Waukegan Main Street! Whether we are tending to the planters on Genesee Street or working a table at Monarch Festival, volunteering exposes us to a diverse group of people and has a positive impact on our community. Other benefits of volunteering include:
Learning or developing a new skill
Volunteering is the chance to discover something one is good at and hone a new skill. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” It is never too late to learn no matter what age, employment or background.
Motivation and sense of achievement
Volunteering is about giving one’s time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life there is choice involved. Volunteers often feel a sense of achievement and motivation, a sense of accomplishment, a sense of wellness – and a sense of enthusiasm that can be contagious.
Boost career options
A survey carried out by TimeBank showed
73% of employers would recruit a candidate with volunteering experience over one without
94% of employers believe volunteering can add to skills
94% of employees who volunteered to learn new skills benefited by getting their first job, improving their salary, or being promoted
Also, when one is thinking of a career change volunteering is a perfect way to explore new fields.
New interests and hobbies
Volunteering is an escape from everyday routines, helping create a balance in our lives. The energy and sense of fulfillment can carry over to a work situation and often relieves tensions, fostering new perspectives for old situations.
New experiences and skills
Volunteering is a way to get life experience. Whether building a library or coordinating a fundraiser, the experience is real, hands-on work. Volunteering also brings together people from all backgrounds and walks of life. Interacting with new people may help one develop interpersonal skills and offers the opportunity to network outside of one’s own circle
Make new friends
Not only does volunteering lead to lasting professional relationships but oftentimes is the basis for friendship. If one is new to an area or has changed living situations, volunteering offers introductions to new people with common interests.
Show people what you are passionate about and maybe you will inspire them too!
Have you volunteered for Waukegan Main Street? Tonight we are celebrating you and all the wonderful work you’ve done for Waukegan. You’ve worked events, stuffed envelopes, handed out flyers, and served on our Committees and Board. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy an evening of appetizers and camaraderie!
Haven’t volunteered yet, but are interested in seeing what opportunities are available? Here’s your chance to get to know us and join the fun! Looking forward to seeing you there!
Even though the Waukegan Schools are already back in session, Labor Day weekend signals the end of Summer for so many of us. This weekend’s weather, however, may seem more like mid-July so find time to enjoy our beautiful Waukegan Beach. Remember, it’s cooler near the lake.
Need some ideas for your weekend? How about …
Live blues and jazz every Friday at Jerry’s Tacos from 6- 8pm
Karaoke every Friday at 17 North starting at 9pm
The Archie Parks Project every Friday at Big Ed’s starting at 7:30pm
Green Town Yoga at Stiner Pavilion, Waukegan Beach starting at 9am
Happy Time Breakfast every Saturday at Green Town Tavern
The Neil Rose Band this Saturday at Big Ed’s starting at 7:30pm
Fowl Mouth, Street Fist and The Forty Whacks this Saturday at the Burgundy Room at 10pm
Sunrise Breakfast every Saturday and Sunday at 17 North at 9am
And, if you haven’t seen our weekly calendar and highlights, check it out by clicking here. You can even sign up to get the calendar emailed directly to you by clicking here.
Have a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!
~Jane Ferry, Executive Director
17 North is giving Waukegan Main Street members a great VIP perk and they want to tell you all about it tonight!
Waukegan Main Street VIP Program!
Starlight Room at 17 North
TONIGHT from 5 – 7pm
Join us for an open house with free appetizers and get your 17 North VIP Card. Using the VIP Card will take 10% off your bill every time you go to 17 North. In addition, you will be registered in their Rewards Program, giving you points for enjoying good food and spirits. When you reach 300 points, you’ll receive a $25 gift card.
Not a member of Waukegan Main Street? You can sign up tonight!