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The best uses of summer

As summer winds down, we recall the events we’ve attended throughout the season. We’ve celebrated everything from baptisms, communions and confirmations to graduations and class reunions to picnics with family, friends and neighbors. All of these events constitute a “best use of summer” kind of life. We Midwesterners so look forward to summertime that you’re hard-pressed to find us at home. This month’s column salutes these best-use-of-summer events and the togetherness and camaraderie they bring.

St. Anthony’s always signals the start of summer with its communion and confirmation celebrations welcoming new members into the fold of the Catholic Church. Of course, those ceremonies were followed by the May Crowning. No, today’s event isn’t as all-consuming as it was when the St. Anthony of Padua Grade School was in operation. However, you can rest assured that the love, respect, and appreciation of Mary, Queen of Angels, is filled with as deep devotion, honor and adoration as in the St. Anthony days we remember.

Speaking of St. Anthony, former and current parishioners joined in celebrating the St. Anthony Feast Day—complete with the blessing of St. Anthony bread. The parking lot was, once again, turned into the festival grounds. Parking abounded on the streets around the church which made for good use of the entire area.

The food and drink were awesome and pleased every palate from Mexican to Italian to American. St. Anthony parishioners know how to do up a festival with live music, excellent dance performances by St. Anthony’s young ladies, games of chance and raffles too.

The little children are never left out and this year was no exception with a climbing wall that motivated not only the young, but the tween-agers to accept the challenge. For the little ones there was a large wooden train that traversed the playground and provided a fun ride while making sure the little ones were safe.

One of the major kiddie attractions was a large foam stick which circled back and forth forcing the kids to jump up as it passed. Just watching the kids as they took a harmless fall on an inflatable floor was entertaining for all the adults watching from the dining table tent.

All-in-all, the event was a success and everyone had a great time. Fr. Mark took the opportunity of the St. Anthony Mass to make everyone aware that, until September, there would only be two masses: 9:00 am and 11:00 am. This is the first time father has consented to this change which will definitely improve summer attendance and also make it easier on Fr. Mark. When September arrives so do the Catechism classes which will require a return to the usual mass schedule.

In Pullman, the big news is that there will soon be a groundbreaking ceremony for the first new construction in Pullman proper in many decades. Pullman Artspace Lofts will be located in the 111th & Langley Avenue block of Pullman. The project received $1.2 million in funding from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Construction of the $17.6 million project will begin later this year. The 32,000 square foot building will create 38 affordable rental work/live units and about 2,000 square feet of community space including a gallery, working studio, and classroom space for its residents.

The three-story loft buildings will restore two vacant block house buildings on the north and south ends of the lot and include new construction of three buildings. The development will consist of studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units.

The dollar amounts alone serve as an indication of the potential for Pullman that is key to Pullman’s future. Along with the monies that the Federal Government’s National Park Service has budgeted for the upgrading of Pullman National Monument, there are serious commitments being made to maintain Pullman’s importance and historic value.

My suggestion is that any of you with relatives who qualify as low-income / struggling artists should advise them to check out the Facebook page http://www.artspace.org/news on a regular basis. The ArtSpace organization is behind the Pullman Artspace Lofts and this is the page to find out the most current information regarding the opening / leasing dates of the Pullman project.

The construction of the new shopping strip mall on the north side of 111th Street, directly across from the police station is progressing smoothly under the construction banner of Raffin Construction Company. Once again, a Pullman project under the Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives (CNI) is making use of local businesses and residents. There are a number of local businesses and major chains that have already agreed to lease space in the strip mall and other businesses are being sought.

The Whole Foods Warehouse construction project located behind Methods Products on 111th Street is on pace to be completed soon. The 150,000 square foot facility, as with all of Whole Foods Warehouse was recently purchased by AMAZON for $13.2 billion. This facility will employee 50 employees from the day it opens and more in the future.

The Annual Pullman Garden Tour was held in June and was a great success. There were some changes made to the actual venue since it was decided not to stage the event at the Hotel Florence as in previous years. The changes had little effect on the tour and it was quite the event to kick-off summer.

As with every summer we can count on the Fourth of July as being a local festival with a few families on Lawrence Avenue making this event their annual reunion. On August 5th the Pullman Reunion Picnic takes place and, as usual, will be attended by Roselandites coming in from the suburbs and Northwest Indiana to celebrate and visit with old friends. The reunion event information can be found on the Facebook page “9th Annual Pullman Reunion.”

Labor Day is a special time in Pullman due to the 1894 Pullman Strike being the reason President Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a national holiday. Generally, there are labor and union rights activists coming to Pullman to present Labor Day speeches in honor of the event.

There’s always the chance that I might miss mentioning an event or project that is taking place in Pullman that would be of interest to all Roselandites, but I do my best to keep everyone informed so they can make the best use of their summer.

Contact me at 11403 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60628; 773-701-6756; or cjfranoi@yahoo.com

About C.J. Martello

CJ Martello has returned to his roots as the author of “Petals from Roseland.” After five years of writing his column as a resident of Chicago's North Side, CJ put his money where his heart is and moved to Pullman, near the Roseland area in which he grew up. Having joined the Spaghetti-Os, Veneti nel Mondo and St. Anthony of Padua Parish and being one of the founders of the Roseland Roundtable Facebook page, CJ has become reacquainted with countless friends and acquaintances from his youth. CJ is looking forward to retirement and completing the books he has put on hold, including one that will encompass as much of Roseland's rich, beloved history as possible.

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