In an ongoing effort to stimulate the local economy, State Senator Martin Sandoval (D-11) and Alderman Michael Zalewski met with a small but determined group of Garfield Ridge residents to discuss the redevelopment of Archer Road in Garfield Ridge.

Archer Avenue used to be a thriving business and social hub for Garfield Ridge. Unfortunately, over the years many small businesses have either closed their doors or moved to neighboring suburbs. Approximately one year ago, a small but determined group of Garfield Ridge residents who shared a passion for their neighborhood began to meet and brainstorm on ways to redevelop Garfield Ridge and help make it conducive to business needs and pedestrian traffic.

“Small businesses are the backbone of the community,” said Senator Sandoval.

Working towards redeveloping Garfield Ridge as a small business haven, the small group of residents have since formally organized as Garfield Ridge Retail Entertainment and Amusement Team, otherwise known as GRREAT LLC. and started a Facebook page called "Redeveloping Garfield Ridge for Restaurants and Retail".

After carefully evaluating and polling community interest and support via GRREAT's Facebook page, the group met with Alderman Zalewski and State Senator Sandoval to share the results and present an economic and redevelopment plan. Both the alderman and senator were very impressed and fully supported the movement. At the suggestion of Senator Sandoval, members of GRREAT also met with the managers of several local suburban and city redevelopment projects, most recently the Berwyn Development Corporation to gain insight and a road map for undertaking this project. Senator Sandoval was an integral part of the recent redevelopment of Berwyn.

“It’s the economy,” Senator Sandoval said.  “That is the issue that should be central.”

“I’m not saying (other issues) are not important or shouldn’t be addressed, but let’s take care of the bread and butter issues today. We cannot survive unless our economy is strong."

The goal of GRREAT, LLC is to redevelop the one-mile stretch from Harlem to Narragansett with streetscaping and to make it more pedestrian friendly for customers to find businesses. The goal is to attract a small handful of the right corporate businesses that will in turn create a ripple effect that will attract smaller owner operated restaurants and shops. We also aim to keep businesses that are very much a part of our community and help them continue to succeed.
There is a lot of work to be done, but Alderman Zalewski has helped build a coalition of willing political leaders who deem the project worthwhile for businesses and residents alike. 

On Dec. 26, GRREAT met with State Senators Sandoval and Muñoz as well as Alderman Zalewski to formally present their Economic Plan for the Redevelopment of Garfield Ridge. The Plan was an overwhelming success. GRREAT is in the process of organizing a community events calendar for 2014 that is aimed at engaging residents and community interaction. Attractions will hopefully include car shows, food truck tastings and movies in the parks to name a few. If you would like to show your support or get involved, please "Like" Redeveloping Garfield Ridge for Restaurants and Retail on Facebook, contact them via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call at: 773-410-2830. Volunteers and donations are greatly appreciated.


PHOTO: Senator Antonio Muńoz (left), Alderman Michael Zalewski (fourth from right) and Senator Martin Sandoval (third from right) embrace redevelopment of Archer Road in Garfield Ridge with the Garfield Ridge Recreation Entertainment and Amusement Team (GRREAT), led by John Kapusciarz (center) of European Chalet, 5445 S Harlem Ave.


Office Info

Springfield Office:
Senator 12th District
111 Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706

District Office:
5807 W. 35th Street
Cicero, IL 60804