NBC Chicago and Ward Room bring you profiles on all 50 wards this election season. As candidates face off in the Feb. 24 election, they are also facing a new ward map, which takes effect when the winners assume office.
In this profile, learn all about the 45th ward, which covers parts of Old Irving Park, Portage Park, Jefferson Park and Norwood Park.
- Total Population: 55,967
- White: 64.34 percent
- Black: 1.88 percent
- Hispanic: 24.54 percent
- Asian: 8.23 percent (Source: WBEZ)
Current Alderman: John Arena
Ward Committeemen: John Arena (democratic committeeman) and Steve Gustafson (republican committeeman)
Who Else is Running: Michelle Baert, Mike Diaz and John Garrido
Adjectives that Describe the Ward: Safe, family friendly and quiet
Economic Engine: Local shops, businesses and restaurants
Where People Eat: Natalie's Drive-In, Mom's Old Recipe, Cafe Marbella, Vaughan's Pub and Grill, Big Top, 4 Hermanos, Smakosz Restaurant and Lounge, Brown's Chicke, Sandy's Bakery and Deli, La Palapita, Pizza by Alex, Jeff's Red Hots and C-Manny's Mexican.
Where People Drink: Bars include Three Counties Irish Pub, Gladstone Lounge and Liquors, The Corrib Irish Pub, Brigadoon, Phoenix Bar, Di's Den, Independence Tap, El Llano Restaurant and Grayland Pub.
Where People Pray: Churches and places of worship include Twenty-Second Church of Christ Scientist, Faith Lutheran Church, St. Tarcissus Church, Elston Avenue United Methodist, Northwest Bible Chapel, International Pentecostal Assembly, Filipino Immanuel Baptist Church, St. Constance Church, CSI Christ Church of Chicago, St. John's Lutheran Church, Irving Park United Methodist and St. Viator Church.
How the Ward Typically Votes: John Arena has been alderman of the 45th ward since 2011 when he won 50.1 percent of the vote, defeating John Garrido by 30 votes in a runoff. Prior to Arena's election, Patrick Levar was adlerman for 24 years; he retired in 2011. Levar won 56 percent of the vote in 2007, defeating Terrence Boyke (31 percent) and two other challengers.
Landmark: Six Corners shopping district (Milwaukee, Cicero and Irving Park)
Resident's Voice: Malena Basave, co-owner of Mom's Old Recipe, said the neighborhood needs more businesses to attract people from outside of the community to come to the ward. Overall, however, Basave said she's happy with the neighborhood because everyone seems to look out for each other.
Ward Expert: Judy Skotzo, president of the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association