Tag: neighborhood businesses

The Hideout poised for reopening

A family-owned business, beloved bar, and live music venue along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the Hideout has a long history of bringing people together as a community, serving as a launching pad for bands, and providing respite to industrial business workers.

Located at 1354 W. Wabansia Avenue (see below left), the Hideout is a two-story, balloon frame house that was built by immigrants during the 1860s—a time when industrial workers scraped together materials to build cottages around the Chicago River that supported the thriving steel mills.

From its birth, the Hideout has always been an instrumental part of the North Branch community. People come together at the Hideout and encourage each other to take chances and pursue their dreams—whether it be starting a band, organizing for a more equitable Chicago, or planning a campaign for alderman.

Some of the high-profile musicians who’ve played at the Hideout include Jeff Tweedy (Wilco), Jeff Glenn Kotche (Wilco), John Stirratt (Wilco and Autumn Defense), Mavis Staples (The Staples Singers), Jack White (White Stripes), and Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins).

In addition to being a popular neighborhood destination, the Hideout employs thirty-four people in high-quality jobs. Part-time staff earn good wages that provide them the flexibility to string together opportunities and succeed in today’s gig economy.

The current owners, Tim and Katie Tuten, along with running the Hideout, have played a major role in organizing efforts to improve the quality of life in Chicago. Katie spearheaded the creation of the Chicago Independent Venues League (CIVL), which came together to advocate for small venues to ensure they are recognized for their many contributions to Chicago’s music scene.

Today, CIVL represents over forty independent venues in the City of Chicago.

And during the COVID-19 pandemic, Katie had a prominent role in the #SaveOurStages campaign that pushed the federal government to provide financial assistance to small independent venues. In partnership with Congressman Mike Quigley, this effort scored a major victory in the American Rescue Plan Act, which created a federal grant opportunity for closed venues, the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

North Branch Works would also like to congratulate Katie Tuten on receiving the 2021 Nonprofit Board Member of the Year Award for her work with BandWith, a nonprofit that covers the costs of musical instruments and instruction for under-resourced schools on Chicago’s West Side.

The Hideout is a great example of how neighborhood businesses can thrive in partnership with industrial companies with informed land use planning, which is a top advocacy priority of North Branch Works.

Tim and Katie made the difficult decision to close the Hideout during the pandemic; the business has been shut down since March of 2020. However, we’re thrilled the Hideout is on track to open for outdoor music on its front porch during the summer and has a tentative plan to welcome people indoors in the fall.

North Branch Works members and supporters can help the Hideout by visiting regularly when it opens. In the meantime, please purchase tickets to its incredible virtual events. You can also pick up the latest merchandise from the Hideout’s online store.

North Branch Works is grateful to count the Hideout as a longtime member and to Tim and Katie Tuten for their service on our Board of Directors.

If you’d like to connect with the Hideout, please call 773-227-4433.

Image credits: The Hideout

North Branch Works leads new push for a safe Rockwell Street

If you’ve ever traveled to Avondale businesses on Rockwell Street between Elston and Belmont Avenues, then you know it’s not an easy area to get around by foot, bike, and car.

And having safe and easy access to businesses is smart public policy that would create many benefits including local jobs, business growth and development, and keep local dollars circulating in the neighborhood.

For these important reasons, North Branch Works is working hard to upgrade the infrastructure by convening local businesses, neighborhood residents, and key stakeholders to inform plans for a safe and accessible Rockwell Street.

This neighborhood area is home to many incredible destinations such as Rockwell on the River, Metropolitan Brewing, Metropolis Coffee, Guild Row, Bash Sports Academy, and the Alley.

Presently, this part of Rockwell St. (pictured above facing south towards Elston) lacks sidewalks in either direction, making it difficult for people on foot to navigate safely between local businesses and nearby residential areas.

And it’s even harder for people walking during peak travel times as drivers use the street as a shortcut to access the expressway via Belmont Avenue.

To build broad community support for safety upgrades, we recently convened a Rockwell St. Infrastructure Task Force meeting for approximately thirty businesses and neighborhood stakeholders in partnership with 33rd Ward Ald. Rossana Rodriguez and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CD0T).

Participants heard an update on initial findings from an ongoing traffic study being carried out by CDOT and had the opportunity to inform initial design concepts and next steps.

The study found that 300 bicyclists use this area daily. And that number is only expected to increase with the completion of the 312 RiverRun Trail as well as the prospect of a continuous Chicago River Trail.

Some of the initial design concepts include adding dedicated space for people walking and biking in addition to having vehicle lanes in both directions. Making these types of upgrades will improve public safety and create a more orderly way of getting around the area (pictured above right Rockwell St at Elston Avenue facing south).

Unfortunately, CDOT does not have any funding to build improvements at this time.

North Branch Works will continue to partner with local businesses, neighborhood stakeholders, and city leaders to move this important work forward though research, outreach, and bringing people together.

So what are the next steps and how can you get involved?

We’re excited to announce the launch of the Rockwell Street Area Advisory Committee, which is open to the public as well as any businesses and stakeholders interested in helping shape and advance a new vision for Rockwell St.

With questions and to join the committee, please contact Steve Simmons, Director of Business and Economic Development, 773-929-5552 x2226, steve@northbranchworks.org

Image credit: Chicago Department of Transportation