SSA #33's loss in Wicker Park and Bucktown is Logan Square Chamber's gain


On a windy day in Logan Square, Paul Levin and Jessica Wobbekind stopped to talk about next steps

Jessica Wobbekind, SSA #33* (Special Service Area) Managing Director, is leaving her position in Wicker Park and Bucktown to take the reigns of the Logan Square Chamber of Commerce (LSCC) as its Executive Director on October 16. 

Paul Levin is retiring as head of LSCC but will be on staff to assist in the transition until the end of October. Thereafter, he will be volunteering with the Logan Square Farmers Market, giving Wobbekind an opportunity to focus on meeting with and gathering information from local businesses, residents, organizations and the seven alderman who are stakeholders in the Logan Square, Hermosa and Avondale communities, served by the Chamber. 

Jessica Wobbekind
Wobbekind joined the SSA #33's staff in 2011 as an intern while completing her Masters of Urban Planning and Policy at the University of Illinois. A proponent of inclusion, Wobbekind looks forward to bringing more people into the planning and activities of LSCC. "Committees are successful in engaging many different people in developing activities, programs and events that benefit a broader reach within our Chamber boundaries." 

"Under Wobbekind's guidance, expertise and unbridled enthusiasm for our community, SSA #33 has accomplished a broad range of goals that include public way enhancements, public art, transportation safety initiatives, neighborhood promotion and strategic planning through the work of our six to nine commissioners and approximately two dozen non-commissioner volunteers.  She has been a pleasure to collaborate with and has been a true asset," explains Brent Norsman, President of the Commissioners. 

Former Commission President, David Ginople, also gives high praise to Wobbekind saying, "Jessica remained remarkably calm, confident and persistent throughout our year-long reconstitution project, while managing our $1.2 million budget. She successfully worked to bring disparate stakeholders to consensus." 

Having lived in Logan Square over 14 years, Wobbekind says, "I have always loved this area. I look forward to expanding what the Chamber has already accomplished by bringing new programming and some updates to the Chamber to provide the best service possible to the business community and surrounding area in this period of rapid growth and change." 

Paul Levin
Levin joined the LSCC in 2006, a year after Josh Deth, who went on to be the co-founder of Revolution Brewing, created the Chamber with the encouragement and support of then Alderman Rey Colon. 

"The Fullerton Avenue Chamber was closing down and we needed to establish one for the 35th Ward," says Colon. "Deth did that in 2005. He was able to get some grant money, making it possible to hire someone to run the Farmers Market." 

Levin left his job with Colon and the rest, as is said, is history. "Paul built the Farmers Market in Logan Square into one of the best in the city," says Deth.  

Crime in some of the area was not giving Logan Square a good reputation but hitching their image to a farmers market brought "good Karma" to the name of not only the Chamber but the entire area, explains Levin. 

While the Chamber holds occasional meetings and events in addition to a 10-month Networking with Bernie series, the Chamber has devoted most of its efforts on the market. "Now is the time for the Chamber to move into other areas," comments Levin. 

"There are tremendous opportunities and lots of new businesses and residents. It may be a time for more socializing events," he says. 

The outdoor Farmers Market between Milwaukee and Sacramento on Logan Blvd. at Logan Square will continue through Oct. 29, between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Their first indoor winter market will be at a new location starting on Sun., Nov. 5, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The new location Is Emporium Logan Square, 2363 N. Milwaukee. With that new location comes a new statement about free entry into the market. A valid id is required for entry. Anyone under the age of 21 must be accompanied by an adult chaperone. The Emporium is one of Logan Square's bar establishments. 

*Administered by the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce



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