North Shore Views
Natural Areas Volunteer Workday
From 9am to noon at the
Heller Nature Center
2821 Ridge Road, Highland Park
Come join the Natural Areas Program for a volunteer workday. Activities include invasive species removal, brush pile burns, seed collecting and processing, native tree and shrub planting, and plant, animal and habitat monitoring. Contact Liz Ettelson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details or call: 847.433.6901. Come prepared to work outside and get dirty! Cost is free!
Saturday the 29th
Weekend Family Class: Gumballs & Superballs
Chicago Botanical Gardens
1000 Lake Cook Rd Glencoe
Two Classes; 9.30 & 1
Find out how people use parts of rainforest trees to make chewing gum and rubber. Create your own bouncing ball and flavorful gum to take home. TIMES:9.30–11 am & 1–2.30 pm.
To register visit: http://bit.ly/IKwk5t
Pop-Up Adventure Playground
crow island woods
1112 Willow Rd, Winnetka
Bring your family to this unique, public celebration of child-directed play! Join playworkers from Pop-Up Adventure Play as they transform the Woods into an inspiring, rich play environment using large scale, loose parts. Crow Island Woods is the only Chicagoland stop on the Pop-Up Adventure Play National Spring Tour! Sponsored by The Alliance for Early Childhood, Winnetka Park District and Meatheads Burgers and Fries. To find out more about pop-up adventure play ground visit: http://www.popupadventureplay.org
Sunday the 30th
Haiti: An Insiders Perspective
Wilmette Public Library
1242 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette
Griselda Garibay, Advancement Coordinator for the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative, gives insight into Haiti’s past, present and future and describes how the organization empowers Haitians to create better lives for themselves. For more info call: 847.256.6947
Here’s the second in a series of posts providing hyper-local home sales data for Winnetka. Yesterday was Greeley. Today is Hubbard Woods, the area north of Pine St. on the west side of Green Bay Rd. and north of Tower Rd. on the east side of Green Bay. This neighborhood, whose sales were a bit lackluster last year, came charging back in 2011, posting a 31% gain in sales and a 17% increase in median price.
Hubbard Woods Neighborhood Home Sales – 2011 vs. 2010
Wondering what your neighbor’s house sold for? Just email us with the address of the property and we’d be happy to send you that information (caveat: only if the transaction has closed. Until then the information is not available).
The Winnetka housing market has picked up considerably this spring. Sale are increasing and we are working through the high inventory of homes for sale. Prices have stopped sliding, though they are still below last year and we probably won’t see them increase for a while yet.
Winnetka Home Sales
Home sales were up 7% from February 67% over last March. For the first quarter, sales are running 56% ahead of first quarter 2009 when the market was at its lowest point. Although more houses sold this year than last, a larger percentage of homes sold under $1,000,000 than last year.
Winnetka Home Prices
Prices are trending up over the past few months, but are still below this time last year. The median sales price for March was $1,065,000, which was up 10% over February but down 31% vs. last March. Average sale price was $1,734,553, up 55% from February but down 25% vs. year ago.
Inventory and Months Supply
There were 221 homes for sale in Winnetka as of March, which was up 8% over February and down almost 9% from March of last year. We would expect the inventory of homes for sale to go up in March given seasonality. The more important number is months supply, which is a measure of how long it would take to sell all the homes on the market at the current rate of sale. In March of this year the months supply of homes was 14.7 months. This is higher than we would like to see but down 44% from last March and dramatically better than April of last year when the months supply reached 86 months!
The days on market (DOM) chart shows how long the average property is on the market before it sells. An upward trend indicates a buyer’s market, while a downward trend is a move towards a seller’s market. The DOM for March was 143 days, up 22% from February and up 34% from last March.
My best buy for this week is 903 Willow Road in Winnetka. It’s an adorable vintage Dutch Colonial style home with 9 rooms, 3 bedrooms and 2.1 baths.
It’s priced at $599,000 and here’s why it’s such a great value:
- Lots of space in the house, the yard and the garage: It has good-sized rooms. Plus there’s a large screened in porch which expands the living area. There’s lots of living space and storage in the finished lower level. The yard is larger than comparably priced homes at 50′ x 187′ . And there’s a 4 car garage, part of which could be converted into an office or studio.
- It retains its vintage feel, but is updated where it counts (kitchen and bathrooms) and the updates are in keeping with the character of the house. The floors have been refinished, central air has been added and the windows were replaced within the last ten years.
- It is very conveniently located. You can walk to town and trains as well as to Crow Island School.
The downside? If there is a downside to this house it is that it is on Willow Road, which does have a fair amount of traffic during morning and afternoon rush hours. But if you’re used to living in the city, this might not bother you.
See the virtual tour of this house here. If you’d like to see it in person, just let me know. I’d be happy to show it to you.
Think your family can go for a week without TV or any other form of “screen entertainment”?
If you’re up for the challenge, North Shore businesses are here to support you. All week long sponsors of the “holiday” are providing tons of activities for those who want to experience life unplugged.
This year’s theme is “Power on Your Imagination” and the fun kicks off Sunday, March 7 with a performance by the Chinese Acrobats– at 3:30 p.m. in the Washburne School gym, 515 Hibbard Rd., Winnetka. All week long you can take part in dozens of alternative activities – including acting classes, art projects, treasure hunts, story hours, behind-the-scenes tours, sports and community service opportunities. Or, you can just enjoy time with your family at home, without the distraction of TVs, computers and video games. Play board games, read together, bake cookies, or go on a family expedition.
TV Tune Out Week was started in 1995 by the Winnetka Alliance for Early Childhood and has now spread to surrounding communities. Over 5500 children participate in the program, whose goal is for families to evaluate the role TV plays in their lives, to explore other options and to become more educated about screen media.
Ideas for family fun and information about community activities are all listed in The 2010 TV Tune Out Guide, which is available at participating schools or at various locations throughout the community. For more information about TV Tune Out Week, visit www.winnetkaalliance.org.
Winnetka Community Nursery School
800 Pine St., Winnetka, IL 60093
This is a play-based program whose goal is to foster the social, emotional, cognitive and physical development of young children. Its philosophy is that young children learn primarily through play. The emphasis is on developing social skills, fostering a positive self concept and emotional well-being, encouraging thinking, reasoning, language and literacy. Key activities include: imaginative play, cooking, sensory activities, music and singing, manipulative toys, gross motor play, outdoor play, dramatic play and experiential art.
There is a two-day a week program for older 2 year olds; three and four day programs for 3 and 4 year olds; a five day program for 4 and 5 year olds. Half day and full day (8:45am -3:00pm) programs are available. There is also an extended day program and a summer camp.
Winnetka Public School Nursery
1155 Oak St., Winnetka, IL 60093
Founded in 1926, Winnetka Public School Nursery is a play-based program where children learn to think critically, express themselves creatively and relate constructively to the world. It is a Reggio-Emilia inspired school that believes that the child’s environment is the “3rd teacher” that inspires exploration, collaboration and joy. The program balances blocks of child-initiated activity with group experiences led by the teacher. Its name (Winnetka Public School Nursery) is misleading as this is a private, non-profit school, not a public school.
For 2 year olds and younger 3′s the program is thee days/week from 9:00-11:15 am 3 and 4 year olds can attend either 4 or 5 days/week from 9:00-11:15 am or 12:45-3:00 pm.
Willow Wood Preschool
684 Oak St, Winnetka, IL 60093
Willow Wood is a play-based program for children 3 – 5 years old that encourages children to learn through exploration, creativity and problem solving.
Three year olds have a choice of 2 days/week or 3 days from 9:00-11:15. Four year olds go 4 days and 5 year olds go 5 days/week, either mornings or afternoons. Willow Wood also runs a summer camp.
Harkness House for Children
630 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093
Harkness House is located in the Winnetka Community House and accepts children as young as six weeks. It is the only true “day-care” program here in that it runs year round and operates from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm with full day or part day options available.
Activities include art, music, sensory table, manipulative toys, socialization, gross motor and out door play.
Sacred Heart School
1095 Gage St, Winnetka, IL 60093
Sacred Heart School in Hubbard Woods runs a preschool program for 4 year olds concentrating on four main areas of development: cognitive, emotional, social and physical. It is a child-centered curriculum allowing for flexibility and creativity. The main activities are language arts, dramatic play, cooking, music and art.
Children attend mornings from 9:00-11:30 am or afternoons from 12:40-3:10 pm. Parishioners have first priority and others are welcome when space is available.
- Guide to North Shore Preschools
- Glencoe Preschools
- Highland Park Preschools
- Kenilworth Preschools
- Wilmette Preschools
If your kids are getting cabin fever from the relentless cold weather, here’s something to do that the whole family can enjoy: go see “Treasure Ahoy! A Story of Shipwrecked Surprises”. This is an original musical comedy from the Winnetka Children’s Hour and performed by local kids at the Winnetka Community House on February 4th and 5th at 7:00 pm and on February 6 at 10:30 am. Tickets are $8.00.
The play features a group of castaways lost on a mysterious island. While searching for a legendary treasure they encounter a band of bumbling pirates and some mischievous islanders. The Children’s Hour has been putting on shows like this since 1932 and they are always well done and lots of fun. We’ve got some great talent here on the North Shore!
How would you feel if your child were disabled and went to a high school that was not accessible to him or her?
That’s the case for disabled students at New Trier High School’s Winnetka campus. A full 30% of the campus is not ADA compliant. Watch this video made by Corin Atwell (2008) about what it’s like to be disabled at New Trier… then decide if you think this is a problem that should be corrected.
Now watch this video to see how this problem will be corrected if the Feb. 2 bond referendum is passed.
New Trier High School Renovation: Yay or Nay?
Here’s the data for Winnetka home sales through December 2009. It’s a mixed bag but generally heading in the right direction: sales are up and inventory is down, both good things for sellers. Prices are lower than 2008 but the downward trend we’ve seen over the last couple of years appears to be stabilizing.
Winnetka Home Sales
A total of 19 homes (single family houses, townhouses and condos) sold in December 2009, up 111% over December 2008 and 137% over the prior month. Total 2009 sales of 157 was comparable to 2008 sales of 158. Sales, which had been improving since mid-summer had slowed in November with the anticipated expiration of the new home buyer tax credit. Once that was renewed and expanded, sales picked up again in December.
The average sales price in December was $1,247,233, down 33% vs. December 2008 but up 23% from last month’s average price of $1,010,438. Although average and median prices bounce around from month to month, the rolling 3 month average indicates that the downward trend in prices has stabilized.
Inventory and Months Supply
Inventory of properties for sale in December was 178, down 13% from December 2008 and down 13% vs. November 2009. Months supply of inventory was 9.4 months. This means that it would take 9.4 months to sell all the houses on the market at the current rate of sale. This is the lowest level since April 2007, which is good news for sellers. Months supply had reached a high of 86 months in April 2009, which was the absolute low point for real estate sales in Winnetka.
Days on market for December was 91, down 43% vs. December of last year. What this says is that sellers are now pricing their homes more realistically and buyers are getting off the fence and buying.
On February 2 residents of New Trier Township will vote on a referendum for the renovation of New Trier Township High School. The proposal has been three years in the making and has sparked quite a bit of controversy. Several alternative plans have been explored, including a total tear-down of the Winnetka campus, expanding the Northfield campus and moving the upperclassmen there, a partial renovation of the Winnetka campus and maintaining the status quo (making repairs to the existing plant on an as-needed basis)
In a nutshell, what’s currently being proposed is the replacement of the oldest, least accessible and least coherent buildings on New Trier’s Winnetka campus, which are on the east and west sides of the campus. The Tower and north buildings would be retained. The estimated cost of the project is $174 million and the impact to the taxpayer will amount to about $250 per $10,000 tax bill. This is the first “bricks and mortar” referendum for the Winnetka campus since 1953.
There are two web sites dedicated to the issue. Our New Trier is pro-renovation and provides some compelling arguments in favor of the project. New Trier Choices is against the project. Rationale includes project cost as well as impact of construction on surrounding homes (noise, congestion, short term property values).
I have read everything I could find on both sides of the argument and I have taken advantage of the tour of the facility that is being offered almost daily through January 30th. If you can’t make the tour in person, you can take a virtual tour here. In fact, even if you can make the physical tour, take the virtual tour first – it provides a helpful overview of what you will see and hear when you go on campus. The tour I took was led by Principal Tim Dohrer and was extremely informative. We saw all of the problem areas and the plans to address each of them. I was impressed with the thoroughness of the analysis and work that has been done so far to explore alternatives, respond to concerns and to make this project as cost-effective as possible.
For me the facts overwhelmingly support going ahead with this project. New Trier has long been recognized as one of the best high schools in the country, and is one of the reasons many of us moved to the area. However, some of the buildings date back to the early 1900s. They are expensive and inefficient to maintain. They are not designed for modern technology or for today’s teaching methods. Much of the campus is inaccessible to those with disabilities. New Trier is one of the only high schools in the area without a field house. If we want to continue to provide top quality education to our children we need to address this obsolescence. As for the price tag? No one wants to pay more in taxes, but we have chosen to live in one of the most expensive areas in the country. What’s another $250/year to ensure that our children and future generations have the kind of education that they deserve.
Wherever you ultimately come out, if you are a New Trier resident you owe it to yourself to become informed on the issue and to vote accordingly, because the decision will have far-reaching implications for our community and for the education of our children.