Edgewater community gets new beach house

August 27, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Mayor Daley and members of the Edgewater community joined with members of the Osterman family to dedicate the opening of the new beach house at Osterman Beach near Foster Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.

The beach house is named for the late Kathy Osterman, who served as alderman of the 48th Ward and director of the Mayor's Office of Special Events.

Kathy Osterman was a great friend of mine who was dedicated to the City of Chicago and the 48th Ward," said Mayor Daley. "We are here today to honor her legacy."

The mayor says the Kathy Osterman Beach House is an anchor that will empower the area. There is also a young man who lives in Edgewater and has decided to make this beach his personal project.

For the last four years, every morning, weather permitting, Ken Gonzales gets up at dawn with shovel in hand and heads for the beach. He spends hours pulling weeds and clearing several layers of walkway along Osterman Beach.

"I edge the entire walkway from Ardmore to Lakeside," said Gonzales. "Thank me and it makes me feel good."

"He beautifies the city, and we thank him," said Katie Osmanski, Edgewater resident.

Gonzales does this backbreaking work because he wants to give back to the community.

"It looks good and makes it easier for the elderly along with women and strollers, so they can get through the sand," said Gonzales.

Gonzales is the evening manager of Marcello's Father and Son restaurant. He says every morning he covers about 45 feet, pulling, scraping and cleaning the walkways. In the process he gets a great tan and a workout.

Friday afternoon, Gonzales got to meet the mayor at the new beach house.

"He told me I was doing a great job," Gonzales said.

"This is the kind of thing that people need to know about, and how much it means to a community," said Mary Ann Smith, the current 48th Ward alderman.

Gonzales says he loves the new beach house and he has made it his mission to clear the walkways all the way to Foster Avenue by September.

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