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Origins of our New Sculpture

Posted by Mike G on September 05, 2009

I returned to Rogers Park just under a month ago.

One night this week I decided to attend a community meeting. Though I live a block out of it’s jurisdiction, I attended a Jargowood Block Club meeting, lead by my “anything but shy” friend, Lorraine Dostal.

Being the activist community that it is, I imagine that Rogers Park has a pretty extensive array of block clubs. And its always been my impression that of all of the neighborhood block clubs, Jargowood is one of the better established ones.

At around 7:30PM, I walked into a conference room down along a first floor corridor at Sherwin Manor nursing home, and I pulled up a chair and joined eight neighbors sitting around a table. The Chair (President?) Dostal swiftly ran through a page long agenda, pausing from time to time so that neighbors could ask questions or participate. The issues ranged from development, support of local businesses, public safety and street repair.

I was particularly impressed with a gentleman sitting next to me named Tony, who serves in some capacity for the Touhy Park Advisory Council. Clearly a long time community resident, Tony shined. He knew something worthwhile about nearly every issue, and, midway through the meeting, he showed us how he is a man who knows how to get things done.

Nearly single handedly, Tony arranged for City crews to install in Touhy Park a sculpture that was returned to Chicago from Oak Park, where it had been displayed for two years. The piece, known as “The Receptor,” was produced by a famous Minneapolis artist named Tamsie Reingler, installed in Millennium Park for a short time, then moved to Oak Park. Last February, when Tony learned from the Alderman’s staff of its availability, he immediately arranged for Oak Park to deliver the sculpture (the park where it was previously located was being converted into recreational use) on THEIR NICKEL, apparently at a cost to Oak Park of $5000!

Often times when improvements occur around the neighborhood we accept the changes without fully considering the amount of time and effort involved in it getting done. Such is the case with this statue (which I have yet to see.) Tony explained the challenges involved in getting the City to lift an extraordinarily heavy piece of art and get it transported across the street, and placed in a properly prepared plot of earth, situated in a manner so that it remains sturdy and so it receives the best site exposure from the street. Tony made all of these arrangements, and also went through great lengths to be sure that this statue was properly covered by insurance, up to the $2,000,000 limits imposed by the City.

Why did Tony do all of this? I am not sure what motivated him, except a desire to make Touhy Park a more interesting and vibrant place, and figuring out how to do it under budget constraints.

Selfless efforts like this help build a community.

Great job, Tony!

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Reader Comments

Thanks, Mike.  I have been wondering about this sculpture. One day, I saw three small children sitting in it. Thanks for the story.

Posted by karen w on September 08, 2009 at 7:09 am

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About the Author

Mike G's photoMike Glasser

Mike has a long term relationship with Rogers Park, having lived here at various times in his life, most recently returning to the neighborhood in August, 2009. While living here as a third year law student, he remembers drunken nights at Biddy Mulligan’s and hosting a couple of memorable parties that he, hypocritically, now forbids his own tenants from having. Years later, after completing his stint as a lawyer, Mike started investing in apartment buildings in Rogers Park (and elsewhere), and soon after, did what many newly divorced real estate investors do: he moved into one of his buildings. In 1992 Mike was one of the founding members of the Rogers Park Builders Group, an organization that he eventually headed for six years, until yielding those reigns three years ago. Around a decade ago, on a whim, he reserved the web site “Rogerspark.com,” which he has been developing ever since, and which co-hosts RP BizArts networking events. Mike is the proud father of three wonderful children, Amy, Mitch and Ella.

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