Archives for February 2013

Artspace Exhibit Celebrates National Women’s History Month

Elgin Artspace LoftsOn Saturday, March 2 from 2-7 pm, Elgin Artspace Lofts, 51 S. Grove Avenue, celebrates National Women’s History Month with an art exhibit in the gallery highlighting the members and accomplishments of the Schaumburg-Hoffman Estates Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta – the largest African-American women’s organization in the country.

The inaugural exhibit “Celebrating Sisterhood and Service” will be the first event held in the beautiful gallery of the Elgin Artspace Lofts.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the Elgin Artspace Lofts, visit

Keystone Realty: Member Spotlight Business – 2/27/13

KeystoneAs part of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s brand new “We ♥ Downtown Elgin” Buy Local campaign, the DNA will highlight one local downtown Elgin member business each week throughout 2013.

We shine this week’s DNA Member Spotlight on:


Keystone Realty
23 S. Spring Street
Elgin, IL 60120

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Keystone Realty, Inc. was formed in January 1989, by Barbara and Paul Maring. The Keystone office is located at the heart of Downtown Elgin, where it is convinient to area banks, savings and loans, legal facilities, government offices and major highways.

Keystone Realty specializes in commercial and residential property management, commercial leasing, and brokerage services. The family owned firm manages property in a business-like manner consistent with accepted accounting practices and owner objectives. Leasing and brokerage services are performed efficiently and effectively.

Services include:

Seller Representation:
– Market Analysis
– Sales Promotion
– Sales negotiations

Buyer Representation:
– Market survey
– Site selection
– Lease negotiations
– Purchase negotiations

– Retain or divest evaluation
– Investment feasibility analysis

EALA Presents Positively Elgin Photography Contest

EALAThe Positively Elgin Photo Contest was created by a group of Elgin Area Leadership Academy students who want to promote the positives of Elgin. The contest will highlight the hidden gems of Elgin and the winning photos will be showcased at the Gail Borden Public Library, 270 N. Grove Avenue. Contest winners will also receive special prizes.


1. Photos must be taken within Elgin, Illinois.

2. Photos must be of places, not faces.

3. An individual can only submit 1 photo.

4. Photo submissions can begin immediately but will not be accepted after March 15, 2013.

5. Please submit photos as a JPEG via email to

6. Submission email should include the photo, contestant’s name, age, address, phone number and date and location (in Elgin) where the photo was taken.

7. Elgin Area Leadership Academy reserves all rights to pictures on submission. In submitting a photo, each contestant is providing consent that the Elgin Area Leadership Academy can use the submitted photos in publications as well as having the photos showcased at local area exhibit spaces. Photos are schedules for display at Gail Borden Public Library from April 1-7.

Pictures will be posted on the Elgin Area Leadership Academy Facebook page for viewing and voting by the public. Only the contestant’s name and location of picture will be displayed on Facebook.


  • “Like” the Elgin Area Leadership Academy Facebook page.
  • Click on the “Photos” and find the album “Positively Elgin Photo Contest”.
  • Click on the photos you like to bring up the larger view, then choose the “Like” option for that photo.
  • Each “Like” on a photo = 1 vote.
  • All contestants under the age of 18 must have parental consent to participate.
  • All votes must be submitted before March 29, 2013
  • Winners will be announced on Facebook by Noon on April 1, 2013. Contest winners will also be notified through email.

The award-winning Elgin Area Leadership Academy (EALA) of the Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce is an experience for individuals interested in building an understanding of community leadership through exposure, enrichment and engagement. This premier program crafts and delivers a curriculum specifically designed to assistn individuals in becoming active and engaged users in their community. EALA is a 10-month program featuring distinguished community leaders, content experts and successful executives in the Elgin area sharing their ideas, perspectives and experiences. Monthly programs provide individuals with the skills, knowledge, connections and engagement necessary to develop and leverage a strong professional network of future and current Elgin leaders in all industry types. Founded in 1991, more than 430 individuals have graduated from the Academy volunteering in virtually all aspects of the community.

The Madness Returns to Downtown Elgin This March

Join the MadnessThe Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) of Elgin’s third annual edition of Downtown Madness – the DNA’s award-winning, month-long, social media driven restaurant and bar promotion returns this March. “Signature dishes” from Elgin area eateries and pubs – both downtown and “crosstown” – will again face off against one other in a March Madness-style bracket tournament where the public chooses the winners round-by-round until a champion is crowned.

The 2013 installment of Downtown Madness: Downtown vs. Crosstown is expanding this year from 16 participating “teams” to a total of 32: 16 Downtown Elgin eateries vs. 16 Crosstown Elgin eateries. Beginning March 14, Downtown and Crosstown bracket entries compete against each other through four rounds of online voting before one finalists each from both sides of the bracket square off in the Championship Round of voting which ends on April 8, the night of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament’s championship game. The winner receives the honor of displaying the Downtown Madness traveling trophy for one year as well as a Blue Level Sponsorship in the 2013 City of Elgin’s 4th of July Parade.

Eat16_TicketThe Elgin Eat 16 punch card promotion also returns with some new surprises. Throughout the duration of Downtown Madness, voters can pick up Elgin Eat 16 punch card tickets and obtain punches for trying the various “signature dishes” at each participating restaurant. Prizes such as Downtown Elgin gift certificates, Downtown Madness t-shirts and mini basketballs are among the prizes available upon achieving various quantities of Eat 16 punches.

“We’re definitely excited about the changes we’ve made to this year’s Downtown Madness,” said DNA Managing Director Jason Pawlowski. “We know Madness and the Eat 16 punch cards both have an established track record of success for our participating Elgin establishments and we’re hoping for an even more competitive voting atmosphere and more rings at the registers for our businesses over the course of the month-long promotion.”

Last year’s Downtown Madness champion Danny’s Pizza returns to defend their title, competing this year in the Downtown side of the bracket after relocating from 302 McLean Boulevard to 231 Douglas Avenue in downtown Elgin in early October 2012.

Other confirmed returning participants include 2011 Downtown Madness Champion Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street, Elgin; Prime BurgerHouse and Buckingham’s Steakhouse & Lounge inside Grand Victoria Casino, 250 S. Grove Avenue, Elgin; Villa Verone Ristorante Italiano, 13 Douglas Avenue, Elgin; Bangkok House and Shanghai Restaurant, 11 Douglas Avenue, Elgin; Colonial Cafe, 600 S. McLean Boulevard, Elgin, as well as new competitors Weinerville III, 1785 Larkin Avenue, Elgin; and Sherman Health Cafeteria, 1425 Randall Road, Elgin.

Elgin area restaurants can sign up to participate in this year’s Downtown Madness: Downtown vs. Crosstown thru Monday, March 4.

Join Now!



The 2013 Downtown Madness bracket will be revealed on March 14 in the Downtown Madness Selection Show on the DNA’s YouTube Channel and at the DNA’s brand new Downtown Madness website:

Downtown Madness was honored with a Lt. Governor’s Award for Outstanding Main Street Promotion at the 2011 Illinois Main Street Awards in Galesburg, Illinois.

DNA Receives Grant From Making Kane County Fit for Kids

FFK_Press_ReleaseFor the second year in a row, the Downtown Neighborhood Association was selected to receive grant funding from the Making Kane County Fit for Kids Consortium.

The grants awarded by the consortium go towards their goals in reversing the rising tide of childhood obesity in Kane County through a variety of programs designed to promote active lifestyles and increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) received a $1,500 grant to continue and implement bilingual marketing, improvements, and staffing to accept debit, credit and specifically Link cards (SNAP) at the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market. The initiative will continue to allow lower income residents greater opportunity to purchase healthy, locally grown and produced foods, and also provides an economic boost to the local growers and vendors of the area by increasing their customer base.

“In our second year of implementation of accepting Link, credit, and debit cards we are excited to continue the growth and improvement of this program so that Elgin area residents know they have local options to get their produce, meat, and eggs,” said Jennifer Benson, DNA market manager. “But not only will they be able to shop, we want people to appreciate the kids programs, performances by local musicians, and fun interactive booths with our community organizations and sponsors. We hope the experience will encourage more engagement in the downtown and in the community.”

Grant recipients were chosen by the Consortium based on their proposals to implement strategies that are contained in the Fit Kids 2020 Plan.

The Fit Kids 2020 Plan was developed by parents, physicians, engineers, educators, planners, public health professionals, transportation experts, faith leaders, local policy makers and more. The Funders Consortium’s members are: the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley, the United Way of Elgin, the Forest Preserve District of Kane County, the Kane County Regional Office of Education and the Kane County Departments of Health, Development and Transportation.

The 14th season of the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market – Presented by Alexian Brothers Health System begins Thursday, June 6, at 200 N. Grove Avenue across from The Centre of Elgin and the Gail Borden Public Library in downtown Elgin. The market runs every Thursday from 9 am – 2 pm thru October 3. For more information about the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market, visit

On the Side Restaurant: Member Spotlight Business – 2/20/13

OntheSideRestaurantAs part of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s brand new “We ♥ Downtown Elgin” Buy Local campaign, the DNA will highlight one local downtown Elgin member business each week throughout 2013.

We shine this week’s DNA Member Spotlight on:

On the Side Restaurant
74 S. Grove Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120


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Opened in December of 2012, owner Tom Creighton and his staff serve delicious food made from quality ingredients at a fair price. Their rotating menu of weekly entrees and specials is sure to tempt any pallette. Hours are Monday-Friday 7am-3pm and Saturday 8am-2pm.

RSVP Now for February Out to Lunch at Elgin Public House

Out to LunchOur next Out to Lunch takes place Monday, February 25 and will include exclusive, behind-the-scenes tours of 176 E. Chicago Street and 164 E. Chicago Street. Our group will meet in front of Ravenheart Coffee at 11:45am. The tour groups will be split into two and then rotate at around Noon.

The tours are followed by lunch at Elgin Public House, 219 E. Chicago Street. For $12 per person – tax & tip included, cash only – guests will enjoy a buffet lunch consisting of some of owner Greg Shannon’s favorites and your choice of soft drinks or water.

RSVP by this Friday, February 22 at 5pm at 847-488-1456 or via our ONLINE RSVP FORM.

Kim’s Black Belt Academy: Member Spotlight Business – 2/13/13

KBBAAs part of the Downtown Neighborhood Association’s brand new “We ♥ Downtown Elgin” Buy Local campaign, the DNA will highlight one local downtown Elgin member business each week throughout 2013.

We shine this week’s DNA Member Spotlight on:

Kim’s Black Belt Academy
5 S. Spring Street
Elgin, IL 60120


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For over 40 years, Kim’s Black Belt Academy has been coaching and training thousands of students to improve their self-esteem, health, character, physical fitness, life skills and self defense skills through its martial arts program. Becoming a member of Kim’s Black Belt Academy is joining a highly qualified and respected program that is rich in tradition and progressive in its teachings.

DNA Welcomes New Economic Development Director

DNA logoThe Downtown Neighborhood Association (DNA) of Elgin is excited to welcome Don Obenauf as the DNA’s new Economic Development Director.

An Elgin resident with a BA in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and an Associate of Science in Construction Management from College of DuPage, Obenauf served for two years as Program Manager of the Elkhart Urban Enterprise Association in the City of Elkhart, Indiana. He is also a 20-year veteran of the Illinois Army National Guard with three international deployments, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom Afghanistan. Obenauf currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Elgin Shared Harvest Food Cooperative.

As Economic Development Director, Obenauf’s responsibilities will include identification and recruitment of new office and retail tenants to downtown Elgin; retention and expansion of existing business tenants; providing steering guidance to Design and Economic Development volunteer committees, and interfacing with key City of Elgin staff and departments.

We invite you to join us in welcoming Don Obenauf to the staff of the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin. He can be reached at

Downtown Elgin Harvest Market Applications Now Available Online

2013_HM_FacebookProfileTo all of our returning and potential new market vendors, we welcome you as we kick off our 2013 season of the Downtown Elgin Harvest Market with our new vendor applications! This year’s season will run 18 weeks, beginning Thursday, June 6 and will run through Thursday, October 3 with our new times 9am – 2pm.

The Downtown Elgin Harvest Market has been organized by the Downtown Neighborhood Association of Elgin since 2000, and has been a growing event of opportunities for small businesses, community organizations, the arts community and a place for its residents to shop and enjoy!

Our Mission:

The Harvest market offers and encourages locally grown and sustainably produced food, provides an outlet for educational opportunities on sustainable practices and healthy living, supports local artists and community organizations, and cultivates a welcoming and entertaining public space atmosphere for people to shop.

To that end the Market strives to continue to:

  • Establish a venue for local and regional growers, producers, and artisans to sell their product
  • Encourage one on one interaction
  • Serve as a viable economic opportunity for  small local enterprises
  • Foster an environment of accessibility with location, hours, a token system for customers to use their Link and credit cards, and kid friendly activities
  • Provide an educational forum for consumers of all ages and backgrounds when it comes to food, local, health, and sustainability
  • Enhance the community atmosphere, networking, and socialization with music, places to sit, and activities to engage in
  • Showcase Downtown Elgin amenities like our public facilities, the Fox River, the Fox River Trail bike path, and our urban downtown

If these goals and values ring similar to you and your business, then we would like you to submit a VENDOR APPLICATION ONLINE for the 2013 season.

New to our market?  Have questions?  Please check out our website or Facebook page to get a better feel for who we are.  Of course you can also email our market manager Jennifer Benson as well at

Thanks to all our loyal vendors who have helped make this market what it is, and to new vendors – welcome!