Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top-Ten South Loop Connection Posts for 2010

This was a pretty exciting year for the South Loop Connection. Readership jumped to well over 5,500 page reads per month. So what were the SLC readers reading in 2010? Well, they were reading a lot. The saying “all politics is local” surely applied. From park plazas to dog parks, to new businesses opening up, people were surely engaged in what was happening in the South Loop.

What follows, is a countdown of the top-ten SLC reads for 2010. See if you remember some of these stories or if they somehow passed you by.  

Number 10—Board Holds Annual ElectionThe Greater South Loop Association (GSLA) held board elections in October, and many folks were interested in finding out who the new members were and who was still on the board.

Number 9—Rent a Piece of History: The Historic Keith HouseIn September, I did a piece on the Keith House and how it is available to rent for weddings, showers, and private parties or meetings. The Keith House is one of the surviving mansions from the heyday of Prairie Ave. The home was completed in 1870 and reminds us how the “sifted few” lived in nineteenth-century Chicago. 

Number 8—“Chicago Code” Filming at 444 N. Michigan Ave. on MondayThis post from December 5, received the most reads out of all the posts about this new Fox TV series starring Chicago native, Jennifer Beals. I’ve been posting stories about Chicago Code all summer, while they were filming around town, but this one topped them all. 

Cast of Chicago Code
Number 7—Dog Park at Wabash Ave. in the South Loop’s Future?If there was any doubt about the South Loop’s interest in their dogs, the readers of this post put that to rest. The dog park being planned for Wabash Ave., just south of 16th St., looks to be a state-of-the-art facility that will be a great addition to the neighborhood. Construction on this park should begin late summer, early fall of 2011. 

Number 6—Donna’s Cafe is Coming Along NicelyMany readers were interested to learn about Donna Adams’s new cafe opening in the New Year. Adams originally planned to open in October, but permitting and construction delays, prevented this from happening. I’ve chronicled Adams’s progress for quite some time and her cafe should be a great addition to the South Loop. The space is cool, warm, and comfortable. Just the kind of place we need to get us through these cold winter months. 

Donna Adams poses in her new cafe opening soon
Number 5—Ole’ Hardwood Opens in the South LoopWe love to hear about new restaurants in the South Loop. This post garnered over 220 reads since first posted on October 25, 2010. Ole’ Hardwood is the third restaurant to occupy this space at 1351 S. Wabash, but it looks like they have a shot at hanging around for a long time. Here’s hoping! UPDATE: A fire was reported this morning, damaging Ole' Hardwood. This story is developing. Click here for the latest information.

Number 4—Trader Joe’s Coming to Roosevelt and Wabash?Man, did this post get a lot of attention on November 24, 2010. Since I moved to the South Loop over six years ago, there were a ton of rumors about Trader Joe’s coming to the area. For most of those years, it seemed to be wishful thinking, but when Second Ward Alderman Fioretti dropped a hint about an “upscale supermarket” opening in the old Sam’s Wine store at the State of the South Loop meeting November 20, 2010, the rumors were soon confirmed. Almost 300 people have read this post and it still gets looked at almost daily. Some of us still can’t believe our good fortune! 

Number 3—The Psychology of Packing a SuitcaseWhen originally posted on November 5, 2010, it didn’t garner that much attention. But as we got closer and closer to the holidays (both Thanksgiving and Christmas), the reads were off the charts. Speaker, author, and Prairie District Neighborhood Alliance (PDNA) Vice President, Jackie Walker, instructed us how to methodically pack a suitcase without stress. Over 330 readers found this post helpful. 

Number 2—Prairie Pointe Park Plaza PlanPerhaps the most controversial in SLC history, this September 20, 2010 post also garnered the most amount of reader feedback. Some of it was quite colorful, requiring me to create some “rules of the road,” on the fly, for posting comments. The Park Plaza plan was also the most controversial topic at the Second Ward community meeting on September 22, 2010. The PDNA, lead by Tina Feldstein, president and Jeffrey Ayersman, treasurer, campaigned hard against this plan before and at the community meeting. Few will forget Feldstein’s “one last question” of Alderman Fioretti as he was bringing the meeting to a close: “Did you take any developer money?” With that, the meeting came to a fiery conclusion. 

The park at Prairie Pointe
Number 1—State of the South LoopThe second annual meeting drew standing-room only crowds on November 20, 2010. Both second and third ward aldermen, Fioretti and Pat Dowell, respectively, spoke and answered questions. Other speakers included Tara Shelton, principal of South Loop Elementary School, Danielle Croyer, instructor at Jones Prep, and Gail Merritt from the Alliance for a Greener South Loop, among others.

Standing room only for the State of the South Loop meeting
So, what conclusions can we draw from the above? For one, things definitely heated up during the fall. Perhaps when the political season is upon us, we start to pay closer attention to what’s happening around us. I think it’s safe to assume that in the South Loop, the opening of a new restaurant or supermarket can get us excited. What do you think the big South Loop story of 2010 was? What do you think the big story will be in 2011?

Thanks for your continued support. Have a wonderful New Year; may it be filled with prosperity and success.

Stephen Reginald
South Loop Connection

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