Archives for October 2012

Bulb Planting Day in Downtown Elgin

Community volunteers are invited to help the city plant over 10,000 tulip, alliums and other spring bulbs throughout the Civic Center area and City Hall. This beautification project will take place on Friday, November 2 from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

Volunteers will need to provide their own gloves and hand trowel or shovel. Experience is not necessary as city staff will be available to help instruct those who have never planted bulbs before.

According to Jim Bell, Parks Superintendent with the City of Elgin, “Planting projects are always fun for our volunteers as well as our staff. Everyone who participates will enjoy watching their work come up and bloom the next spring.”

Mayor David Kaptain will be reading a proclamation at the event, as part of “Extra Mile Day”, which is celebrated on November 1 by the Extra Mile America Foundation whose mission is to  promote volunteerism throughout the nation.

Anyone interested in volunteering as an individual or as a group, need to register ahead of time.  Please contact Cherie Murphy at the City of Elgin at 847-931-5667 or email

Window Wonderland: Win This Window

The 14th Annual Downtown Elgin Window Wonderland returns Saturday, December 1 from Noon-5PM. The theme of this year’s Window Wonderland event is “Win This Window” – a celebration of our Elgin area non-profits and an opportunity for them to fundraise and fun-raise.

Window Wonderland passports will be available at and at area businesses, City Hall, and the Gail Borden Public Library beginning Thursday, November 29.


The Holiday Treasure Hunt Passport Puzzle is a new wonderous Window Wonderland activity. Kids 12-and-under are invited to participate in this unique holiday quest. Collect pieces to a special holiday puzzle by visiting all 12 Window Wonderland Passport Stops. Once the puzzle is assembled, bring it to Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street, for a free photo with Santa Claus and an entry into a drawing for $50 in downtown Elgin gift certificates. Kids can even keep the puzzle as a memento of their downtown holiday adventure.


The following is a complete list of the holiday fun that awaits visitors on Saturday, December 1:

The Centre 10th Anniversary Open House, The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way, 7AM-2PM

Free Ice Skating at City Skate, Elgin Civic Plaza, 150 Dexter Court, Begins at 12PM

Chestnut Roasting, Elgin Tower Building, 100 E. Chicago Street, 12-3PM

Letters to Santa, Downtown Neighborhood Association, 2 Douglas Avenue, 12-4PM

Santa’s Crew’s Real Live Reindeer, Civic Parking Lot, Highland & Douglas, 12-4PM

Santa’s Workshop with Mrs. Claus, Primerica Financial, 162 E. Chicago Street, 12-4PM

Boy Scout Troop #10, Serving Trail Doughnuts & Refreshments, Civic Parking Lot, 12-5PM

Boy Scout Troop #111, Selling Wreaths and Serving Cobbler, Civic Parking Lot, 12-5PM

Horse Drawn Carriage Rides, Up and Down Douglas Ave, Starts at Civic Parking Lot, 1-3PM

Kringle Karaoke, Villa Verone, 13 Douglas Avenue, 1-3PM

Elgin Police Department Holiday Open House, Elgin Police Department, 151 Douglas Avenue, 1-3PM

Polar Express Story Telling & Activities, Burritt Building, 25 S. Grove Avenye, 1:30, 2 & 3 PM

Photos with Santa, Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street, 2-4PM

Winter Kaleidoscope Concert Elgin, Civic Plaza, 150 Dexter Court, 3:30-4:30PM

City of Elgin’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, Elgin City Hall, 150 Dexter Court, Begins at 5PM


On December 1, the Window Wonderland judging panel will determine the best decorated windows in the categories of Business and Open and each will receive $50 in Downtown Elgin Gift Certificates. The BEST OVERALL decorated window will receive a $300 cash prize! Winners will be announced in the December 5 edition of the DNA’s Downtown Neighborhood News Top 10 eblast.

Decorated Windows by Category:


Corner Antiques, 201 E. Chicago Street

Elgin Antiques & Uniques, 203 E. Chicago Street

Elgin Knit Works, 17 N. Grove Avenue

Hernandez Law Office, 76 S. Grove Avenue

Kirkpatrick, Jones & Herzog Insurance, 19 S. Spring Street

Neighborhood Housing Services, 163 E. Chicago Street (Decorated by Totally Cool Piano Studio)

Primerica Financial, 162 E. Chicago Street

Rediscover Records, 207 E. Chicago Street

Salon Couture, 176 E. Chicago Street

Simple Balance Holistic Center, 221 E. Chicago Street

Soulful Sparrow, 10 Douglas Avenue

SpaceTaste Gallery, 215 E. Chicago Street

Two Doors Down Antiques, 207 E. Chicago Street

Wrona Brothers, 205 E. Chicago Street

Razor’s Edge, 55 Douglas Avenue


Al’s Cafe, 43 DuPage Court (decorated by Elgin Junior Service Board)

Elgin Area Chamber, 31 S. Grove Avenue (decorated by Highland Community Church)

Elgin Police Department, 151 Douglas Avenue

Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street (decorated by Elgin Community Garden Network)

Future Link, 164 E. Chicago Street (Decorated by St. Edwards Boys Bowling Team)

Habitat for Humanity, 56 S. Grove Avenue

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, 205 Fulton

Ravenheart Coffee, 176 E. Chicago Street (decorated by Gifford Park Association)

YWCA Elgin, 220 E. Chicago Street


Beginning November 29 thru December 12, visitors can vote for their favorite windows (and each window’s corresponding gift basket they would like to win), in the Win This Window People’s Choice Award voting. Votes are $1 per vote online or in person at the DNA. All participating non-profit organizations will receive the total proceeds collected for their window/gift basket from the People’s Choice Award voting so get out and rock the vote!

At the conclusion of the voting process, the window receiving the most People’s Choice votes will receive the total proceeds collected for their window/gift basket PLUS a matching cash donation from DNA up to $300! Gift baskets will then be awarded via raffle drawings from the all of votes cast for each basket.

“Win This Window” Participants (to date):

Al’s Cafe, 43 Dupage Court, (benefitting NorthEast Neighborhood Association)

Elgin Antiques & Uniques, 203 E. Chicago Street (benefitting NorthEast Neighborhood Association)

Kirkpatrick, Jones & Herzog, 19 S. Spring Street (benefitting Boy Scouts Troop 10)

Neighborhood Housing Services, 163 E. Chicago Street (benefitting Stronger for Women)

Our Lady of the Holy Rosary, 205 Fulton Street (benefitting Fox Valley Pregnancy Center)

Ravenheart Coffee, 176 E. Chicago Street (benefitting Gifford Park Association)

Soulful Sparrow, 10 Douglas Avenue (benefitting ReStore)


Nightmare on Chicago Street Road Closures, Parking Restrictions

The Nightmare on Chicago Street event takes place on Saturday, October 27 from 6-11PM. To facilitate the event, set up and clean up, there will be some road closures and parking restrictions in place on October 27:

– Chicago St will be closed between Spring & Villa at 8AM.
– Douglas Ave will be closed between Highland & Chicago at 10AM.
– Chicago St will be closed between Spring & Douglas at noon.
– Spring St will be closed between Highland & DuPage at 2PM.
– No parking beginning at 8AM on Chicago St (from Douglas to Villa), Douglas Ave (from Highland to Chicago) and Spring St (from Highland to DuPage). Limited additional parking restrictions will be in place from Wednesday, October 24.
– No parking beginning 8AM in the first level of the Spring Street parking deck.

If you have any questions, suggestions or concerns, please contact Heather Williams, Special Events Assistant, City of Elgin at 847-214-5413.

You can buy advanced tickets from the DNA, 2 Douglas Avenue, for only $7 each (normally $10), Monday-Friday from 9AM-5PM or PURCHASE ONLINE!

For more information about Nightmare on Chicago Street, visit

October Out to Lunch Includes R.R. Donnelley Building Tour

The Downtown Neighborhood Association’s final Out to Lunch event of 2012 takes place Monday, October 29 at 11:45AM beginning with an exclusive tour of the historic R.R. Donnelley Building at 168 E. Highland Avenue.

Immediately following the tour our guests will enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at downtown Elgin’s newest eatery, La Erencia de mis Padres at 165 E. Highland Avenue.

Lunch is $12 per person – tax & tip included, cash only. Tour is FREE!

RSVP with your name and e-mail address to 847-488-1456 or via our ONLINE RSVP FORM by no later than Friday, October 26.

DNA Awards Gala Winners

The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) of Elgin is proud to congratulate our award winners from the 2012 DNA Prom Time Awards Gala:

Jeff Allison – Individual Award

Jeff has been the chairman of the DNA’s 4th of July Parade Committee for 7 years. He also provided steering leadership to the Elgin International Festival’s inaugural parade. Additionally, Jeff volunteers at Provena Saint Joseph Hospital and helps organize their yearly golf outing.

Nightmare on Chicago Street Committee – Business, Organization or Group Award

Consisting of a group of creative community visionaries and lead by Barb Keselica and Heather Williams from the City of Elgin’s Special Events department, the Nightmare on Chicago Street committee invested thousands of hours into developing a groundbreaking, impactful special event that has served to cement Elgin as the Zombie Capital of the world.

DNA Prom Court

Also, congratulations to Al Young and Barb Keselica who were voted our 2012 DNA Prom King and Queen for the evening.

Photo highlights courtesy of James Harvey Photography >

Photo highlights courtesy of Jan Nohling Photography >

The DNA would also like to thank and recognize the following:

Senior Services Associates, Inc. for our beautiful balloon arch and balloon centerpieces;

The Boys & Girls Club of Elgin for our festive prom banners;

Acme Design for the bright window and doorway starscapes;

Artistic Framing and Supplies and Andersen’s for our DNA Gala Awards;

Grace Richard and Jerri McCue for coordinating our silent auction gift baskets;

Judy Brownfield and Sharon Prizy for keeping the hanky panky from our Gala guests to a minimum as our prom time chaperones;

Christina Rogers and Bresha Brewer for attending on behalf of Illinois Main Street;

James Harvey Photography and Jan Nohling Photography for our photography;

Jerry Cook of Transcendance Entertainment for setting the musical tone for our downtown prom night;

Individual Award Nominees: Representative Keith Farnham, Tonya Hudson, Dave Metzger and Pietro Verone;

Group Award Nominees: Elgin International Festival, Grand Victoria Casino, Love Elgin Day and YWCA Elgin;

Prom Court Sponsors: The Gibson Group and Sherman Health;

Table Sponsors: Armida & Joe Dominguez, BMO Harris Bank, Elgin Junior Service Board, Future Link IT, Jason Pawlowski, Kirkpatrick, Jones & Herzog Insurance Agency, Martini Room, Shales McNutt, Sherman Health, Soulful Sparrow, Tom’s Auto Clinic and TranSystems;

Premiere Level Sponsors: City of Elgin, Grand Victoria Casino and Waste Management;

DNA Gala Committee: Yeli Acevedo, Christie Clarke, Armida Dominguez, Leslie Edstrom, Laurie-Faith Gibson, Elizabeth Haney, Jen Howver, Karin Jones, Jerri McCue, Jason Pawlowski, Suzan Shipyor and Deirdre White;

DNA Staff: Jason Pawlowski, Sue Shipyor, Jen Benson and Emily England;

DNA Board of Directors: Karin Jones, Tom Brockner, Deirdre White, Jerri McCue, Armida Dominguez, Chris Higgins and Grace Richard;

And to all of our DNA Prom Time Awards Gala guests for helping us celebrate our bright shining stars and for supporting the organization that supports downtown Elgin.

Concrete Repairs on Spring Street Deck

Concrete repairs on the Spring Street parking deck begin Wednesday, October 10.

Small areas in the ceiling and on the drive surface will be removed and replaced with minimum disruption of parking. It is anticipated that no more than 15 parking places will be barricaded off and not available during the repair process. Elevated noise levels will be present during the day with the use of concrete saws, air compressors, and jack hammers.

The work is scheduled to be completed by Wednesday October 17

DNA Awards Gala Finalists

The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) of Elgin announced the finalists in the categories of Individual as well as Business, Organization or Group awards for its 2012 Prom Time Awards Gala at Grand Victoria Casino on Thursday, October 11.

The DNA accepted nominations from the community throughout the month of September. From the nearly twenty nominations received, the DNA Awards Gala committee voted and selected five finalists from each award category.

The finalists for the Individual Award category are:

Jeff Allison – Chairman of the DNA’s 4th of July Parade Committee for 7 years. Provided steering leadership to the Elgin International Festival’s inaugural parade. Volunteers at Provena Saint Joseph Hospital and helps organize their yearly golf outing.

Representative Keith Farnham – Instrumental in securing the release of funding from the State’s Capital Fund to begin the Riverside Drive Promenade project as well as helping secure state funding for the Elgin Artspace Lofts.

Tonya Hudson – Tonya’s track record of success as the former Director of DNA included working with the City to provide uniform parking signage & enforcement standards and modification of zoning ordinances to allow for second story residential units in downtown Elgin.

Dave Metzger – Local artist whose creative vision helped shape last year’s Nightmare on Chicago Street viral video campaign. This year he helped launch the new Monster Mash-Up event at the Haight Building and is responsible for the brand new Miss Zombie Pageant held in conjunction with Nightmare on Chicago Street 2012.

Pietro Verone – Hosts weekly Elgin Non-Profit of the Week events at Villa Verone to help raise money and awareness for area non-profit organizations.

The finalists for the Business, Organization or Group Award category are:

Elgin International Festival Committee – Lead by Danise Habun of the City’s Human Relations Commission, iFest combined the resources of dozens of Elgin’s ethnic organizations and hundreds of volunteers to collaborate on this unique celebration of Elgin’s diverse cultures, flavors and talents on Labor Day weekend in Festival Park.

Grand Victoria Foundation – A vital community resource and an instrumental cog in downtown Elgin’s revitalization, Grand Victoria Foundation was a valued partner in last year’s Elgin Home for the Holidays program – which brought over 20 Elgin area non-profits together in the spirit of collaboration in promoting our City as a destination for holiday tourism.

Love Elgin Day – Founded by Pastor Jeorge Holmes, hosted by the local downtown churches and undergirded by the business, professional, government and social services community, Love Elgin Day is an outreach to service Elgin families and individuals in need of physical resources and spiritual encouragement. Both 2012 events were very well attended.

Nightmare on Chicago Street Committee – A group of creative community visionaries, lead by Barb Keselica and Heather Williams from the City of Elgin’s Special Events department, who invested thousands of hours into developing a groundbreaking, impactful special event that has served to cement Elgin as the Zombie Capital of the world.

YWCA Elgin – Located in downtown Elgin for the last 111 years, the YW continues to evolve by building stronger neighborhoods through programs such as School Age Child Care, Teen REACH and Adult Education & Family Literacy. This past January, they were honored with a Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast Award.

The DNA Prom Time Awards Gala takes place on Thursday, October 11 at the Fox River Room inside Grand Victoria Casino. Cocktail hour featuring dancing and prom photos begins at 6PM followed by dinner at 7PM. The Awards Ceremony begins shortly before 8PM with the crowning of the best dressed DNA Prom King and Queen as chosen by the audience immediately following the ceremony. The Gala closes with more dancing followed by Prom After Parties into the night at Martini Room, 161 E. Chicago Street; Prairie Rock Bar & Grill, 127 S. Grove Avenue; and Villa Verone, 13 Douglas Avenue.

For more information about the DNA Prom Time Awards Gala, the Downtown Neighborhood Association or downtown Elgin, visit