Housing: Awareness is Key to Preventing Deed Fraud

By Liam Millerick, Coordinator of BAPA Housing Services

A few short years ago Beverly/Morgan Park was the location of a housing scam. Criminals who falsely identified themselves as owners illegally rented properties to victims or laid claim to vacant properties under the auspice of adverse possession, what most people know as “squatting.”

Through the efforts of the 19th Ward office, 22nd District Police, BAPA and others, the people responsible for the deed fraud are now serving time in prison.

BAPA continues to work with community partners to ensure deed fraud does not occur again. Local homeowners, however, should be aware that empty homes can be targets of this crime.

Homeowners going on an extended vacation, selling your home that won’t immediately be occupied by the new owner, or otherwise leaving your property vacant for a period of time can help reduce the risk of having a home illegally taken over.  Alert your neighbors if your property will be vacant, maintain a “lived-in” look about your house: cancel newspaper delivering, arrange to have your mail picked up and for snow to be shoveled or grass to be mowed, and put lights on timers so it looks like people are home in the evening.

All neighbors should keep an eye on properties that they know are empty for any signs of intruders. If you observe an unauthorized person entering a property, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Homeowners who are worried about others making false title claims on their property should contact the Cook County Recorder of Deeds to create a Property Fraud Alert. This free service will alert you if any documents that effect your property are filed. Learn more and sign up at Cook County Recorder of Deeds website, cookrecorder.com.

Green Initiatives for Neighborhood Homeowners

Energy saving technologies can simultaneously reduce environmental impact and save homeowners money. However, many energy-saving technologies have prohibitively expensive upfront costs. Although adoption of these technologies reduces overall costs, it often takes several years before savings cover the initial purchase. 

As a result, federal, state, and local governments, nonprofits, and businesses have created incentive programs intended to reduce upfront costs and make the adoption of sustainable practices available to everyone.   

Beverly/Morgan Park residents are eligible for the following incentive programs. More complete information is available at www.bapa.org under the resources tab.  

This information was researched, summarized and coordinated by Thomas Dowling through a fellowship from Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) to create a new sustainability initiative in the BAPA service area. 

Dowling’s project is designed to demonstrate the value of sustainability and the economic benefits it can provide for communities and identify resources for funding for neighborhood sustainability. 


Rebates and Free Upgrades 

ComEd Home Energy Assessment. A ComEd-authorized energy advisor will collect information about your home’s energy use by looking at your heating and cooling systems, water heater and attic then provide recommendations for ways to save energy and money.  

The energy advisor may install free energy-saving products such as Energy Star LEDs, programmable thermostats, WaterSense certified shower heads and faucet aerators and hot water pipe insulation. 

The average customer saves over $100 a year on utility bills with the products installed during the assessment.  

Owners of single-family homes, two-flats, condos, and townhomes who are ComEd residential delivery service customers are eligible for the free assessment. Information and appointments: 855-433-2700, Have your ComEd and natural gas utility account numbers available when you call.  

ComEd Appliance Rebates. Appliances are expensive to purchase, and, if they are not energy-efficient, expensive to run. ComEd offers rebates for Energy Star certified appliances that range from $25 on room air conditioners to $400 on central air conditioning. Eligible products include air purifiers, washers, dryers, refrigerators, heat pumps, insulation and much more.  

To be eligible you must be a current ComEd residential delivery service customer. Applications must be submitted within 60 days from purchase date or by Feb. 28, 2019, whichever comes first. Appliances must be new and purchased in Illinois. Application information is available at www.comed.com under the Ways to Save tab.  

ComEd Refrigerator and Freezer Recycling. ​​​​​​Refrigerators over 15 years old can use twice as much energy as newer models and could be costing you about $110 a year in electricity. ComEd will recycle your old, working fridge or freezer, and send you $50 and an additional $10 if recycling a room A/C at the same time. Refer to ComEd’s website to check eligibility and apply. 

Peoples Gas Home Energy Rebate Program. Peoples Gas provides rebates on HVAC, water heaters and weatherization to owners of single-family homes, two-flats and individually-metered condos, apartments, and townhomes on a wide range of energy-saving improvements to their homes. Eligible products include natural gas boilers and water heaters, insulation and duct sealing. Find a list of products at www.bapa.org  

Equipment must be new and installed in Peoples Gas or North Shore Gas customer dwellings with a Service Classification 1 Account, which can be found listed at the top of monthly bills.  

Refer to Peoples Gas’ website for eligibility and applications. To speak with a program representative and learn more, call 855-849-8928. 


Tax Credits 

The Residential Energy Efficiency Tax Credit applies to energy efficiency improvements in the building envelope of existing homes and for the purchase of high-efficiency heating, cooling and water-heating equipment. Tax credits are worth 10% of the cost of upgrading the efficiency. Installation costs are not included and the credit is capped at $500.  

Eligible improvement must meet the requirements of the 2009 International Energy Conservation Code. Among the eligible improvements are exterior doors and windows 

The Residential Renewable Energy Tax credit is up to a 30% credit on qualified expenditures for renewable energy systems installed in homes owned and used as a residence by the taxpayer. Systems must meet requirements, and include solar electric, solar water heating, fuel cells, geothermal heating and small wind energy.  

Credit are claimed on income tax filings with the IRS. 


Special Assessment for Solar Energy Systems 

Illinois offers a special assessment of solar energy systems that can reduce your property tax liability. 

Eligible equipment includes qualifying active and passive solar energy systems. To have solar energy property valued, file the State of Illinois PTAX-330 property tax form with the county assessor’s office.  

Thank You Neighbors!

Once again, our generous Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors have come through to support BAPA and our community. Donations reached, then exceeded, the $25,000 challenge for a matching grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust.

“The tremendous response from our community is so gratifying,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “Our mail box and inbox were filled with not just donations, but messages wishing BAPA success and thanking us for our work.”

Originally offered as a Giving Tuesday challenge, the grant deadline was extended to Dec. 31. “So many neighbors stepped up to the challenge right away in November, but the early deadline caught us a little short,” Flood explained. “The extension brought about a great response! The Driehaus Trust will double the value of contributions from our community and greatly enhance BAPA’s 2019 programs.”

This generous matching grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust enables BAPA to expand its grassroots work in the community. In 2019, BAPA will be taking a special focus on protecting and promoting our historic neighborhood, beautifying important community spaces, attracting new, exciting business investments, strengthening local schools, creating initiatives to welcome new homeowners to the community, refreshing our mission-based special events to become even better at serving our community, but also in attracting new visitors to experience our Village in the City, and developing strategies to help our neighbors age safely and happily in the homes they love.

BAPA relies on financial support from neighbors who understand our mission to keep Beverly/Morgan Park strong and beautiful. When our neighbors support BAPA with such generosity, it affirms the important role BAPA plays in our community.

BAPA leaders and staff look forward to 2019 and exciting new opportunities to serve our neighbors.

Everyone who supported BAPA with membership donations in 2018 will be recognized in the February issue of The Villager. All donations are greatly appreciated!

BAPA Board Member Profile: Craig Huffman

By Grace Kuikman

Craig Huffman, a BAPA Board member since 2016, moved to Beverly/Morgan Park from Hyde Park in 2008. Huffman and his wife, Rebeca, learned about the neighborhood when visiting friends. “I fell in love with the community,” Huffman said, citing the mix of small town feel and big city appeal that has drawn so many people to the Village in the City.

Soon after the Huffmans settled in their East Beverly home they joined BAPA. Supporting your neighborhood organization is, “the right thing to do,” Huffman said. Even though he didn’t know a lot about BAPA’s work when he first came to the community, he has since learned how much BAPA does to preserve and protect our community. When he got the call inviting him to consider serving on the BAPA Board, he said yes,

The expertise Huffman brings to BAPA includes wide experience in board governance and management including not-for-profits, financial analysis, and facilities maintenance – especially helpful as BAPA owns an old building.

A managing partner and co-founder of Ascendance Partners, a commercial real estate investment firm, Huffman brings exceptional insight and experience in this field to BAPA’s board. Ascendance Partners was established in 2006 with a focus on commercial real estate investments that target industrial, retail and office opportunities throughout metropolitan Chicago.

In addition to his commitment to BAPA, Huffman serves on a number of other boards including the Healthy Communities Foundation, a public policy organization that works for prison reform, and an organization that helps ensure that children from low families have access to higher education.

Huffman’s reputation for hard work and deep insights about Chicago communities were certainly factors to him being appointed to the diverse committee of Chicago business and community leaders invited by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to help make the case for moving Amazon HQ2 to Chicago.

In that capacity, Huffman has participated in briefing sessions and opportunities to advocate for Chicago as the best place for Amazon to locate.

Huffman called Amazon a “major player in commerce” citing its enormous span of influence, from affluent communities to poor ones. “Amazon is redefining what many of us know as conventional retail,” he said. Finalists cities should be announced soon, and the selection may be made by the end of this year. Huffman said he’s “hopeful” that Chicago will be selected but adds “We’ve got some tough competition.”  “I think Chicago is the best city in the world, but people in other cities feel the same way,” he said.

Huffman’s experience and perspective gained in his career, in board work and as an active member of the community help shape the programs and goals of BAPA.

“Beverly/Morgan Park is a great community because of the level of the people who are here, and BAPA is a reflection of that,” he said. He encourages neighbors to actively support BAPA. “The more people getting involved in BAPA, the more we’re invested in making sure Beverly/Morgan Park remains a great community.”

The Huffmans have two children, Sofia, 11, a student at St. Barnabas School, and Solomon, 9, a student at Sutherland School.

For more information about supporting BAPA, call BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood, 773-233-3100, or visit www.bapa.org.

BAPA Partners On New Sustainability Initiative: Thomas Dowling secures $20,000 fellowship to fund local opportunities

The Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) and Beverly/Morgan Park resident Thomas Dowling announce $20,000 in funding to develop a new sustainability initiative in the BAPA service area. The initiative, which is designed to connect neighborhood residents and businesses with resources for sustainability, will begin in November.    

Dowling is one of 10 young business leaders from across the U.S. to receive the award from the national business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2) and the sustainability-driven hotel brand 1 Hotels. The fellowship supports and develops young entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders who seek to make the world a better place through projects that are good for the economy and good for the environment. 

Dowling’s project is designed to demonstrate the value of sustainability and the economic benefits it can provide for communities. The initiative will identify federal, state, municipal and private sector funding for neighborhood sustainability. Among other things, these programs provide rebates and tax credits for the purchase of energy-efficient appliances and other technologies, low-rate loans for clean energy installations, and grants for community projects.  

This research will be used to assist eligible Beverly/Morgan Park residents and business owners apply for and win funding. The information will be presented in a series of workshops for residents and businesses. Interested attendees will receive dedicated support during the application process and implementation assistance if funding is secured. The first workshop will be held this winter.  

“We were thrilled with Tom approached BAPA with the idea to partner on this initiative,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “The project is a perfect fit for BAPA, incorporating E2’s important goals for sustainability programs at the community level with our community’s interest in supporting these initiatives, and using the outstanding talent we have in our community to help create change.”   

“This initiative will ensure the Beverly/Morgan Park area maintains its reputation as one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Chicago,” Dowling said. “It will make our community more sustainable and bring additional investment into the area.”  

Dowling’s plan is to take what he learns from the Beverly/Morgan Park initiative to create a model for similar community-level programs for other city neighborhoods and nationwide.  

Other projects to receive fellowship funding include a documentary video series on clean jobs in Colorado, researching community EV charge sharing in Chicago, and building a network of sustainability-committed building owners in Cincinnati. 

“1 Hotels is excited to participate in the E2 fellowship and to engage with fellows who are identifying interesting problems related to the environment and climate change, while also exploring constructive solutions that create a new and robust economy,” said Hannah Bronfman, 1 Hotels Director of Sustainability. 

“These fellows show us where the US economy can go if we embrace smart environmental policies,” said Bob Keefe, E2 Executive Director. “Now more than ever we need to tap into the visions of America’s young business leaders if we are to continue on the path towards a strong clean economy.”  

The initiative and fellowship are funded for one year.  

Dowling, 22, grew up in Beverly/Morgan Park and attended St. John Fisher elementary school and St. Ignatius College Prep. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Illinois at Champaign Urbana with a double major in political science and history. Last fall, Dowling was named a Rhodes Scholar, and he is currently in the United Kingdom at the University of Oxford earning a Masters in comparative social policy.  


Art Fair & Festival Debuts at Ridge Park this Summer

The 1st annual Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will take place Sat., June 23, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The event is being planned by the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC) and John H. Vanderpoel Art Association along with the Chicago Park District, and will highlight Beverly/Morgan Park as a cultural hub.

The Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival will feature more than 40 Chicago area artists working across a wide variety of media, selling original paintings, sculptures, textiles, photographs, jewelry, art glass, leatherwork and more. Registration is now closed to artists.

As a Chicago Park District cultural center, Ridge Park offers rich and dynamic programming that will be highlighted throughout the art fair and festival. The John H. Vanderpoel Museum is located in the fieldhouse through the Chicago Park District’s Arts Partners in Residency Program, which unites artists and communities in Chicago’s parks. The Museum hosts a world-class collection of Impressionist paintings and other late 19th and early 20th century paintings and works on paper. Ridge Park Art Fair attendees will  have the opportunity to take guided tours of the Vanderpoel Museum, as well as of the park facilities and ceramics studio.

Rounding out the day will be events for patrons of all ages: food trucks, a bouncy castle, local bands, the opportunity to connect with Beverly/Morgan Park institutions and services.

Information about the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival is available at www.ridgeparkartfair.org. Donations and sponsorships are still available. For more information, contact Irene Testa, irene@vanderpoelartmuseum.org, or Mary Jo Viero, mjviero@yahoo.com.

Experience Beverly/Morgan Park from Rock Island Line on BAPA Home Tour

There were less than 20 years between 1834 when public domain land sales opened in Chicago and John Blackstone started claiming property in the densely wooded area surrounding the Blue Island Ridge, and 1852 when the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad first started laying a trail of tracks between Chicago and Joliet.

Those two events created the perfect climate for building the community we know today as Beverly/Morgan Park. The kismet between land development and fast access to Chicago via commuter rail service will be explored on Sun., May 20, 12 to 5 p.m. when the Beverly Area Planning Association’s 2018 Home Tour invites people to experience Beverly/Morgan Park from the Rock Island

On the afternoon of the tour, five private homes — all within walking distance of local Rock Island Metra stops and examples of the lifestyle and history of commuter service in our community — will be open to visitors. Like so many of today’s neighborhood residents, the proximity of the Rock Island Metra was a factor in our homeowners’ decisions to choose Beverly/Morgan Park as their community. Visitors to the Home Tour residences will also discover the unique hospitality, community spirit and historic beauty that contribute to the Beverly/Morgan Park lifestyle.

Featured on this year’s tour are:

A stunning Colonial Revival mansion set at the top of the Blue Island Ridge hill, and renovated from foundation to roof. Built in 1906 for a successful businessman who worked for the Wrigley Company and who played a significant role in local society, the gracious home has been restored to its original splendor with marble tile, hardwood floors, beamed ceilings and exquisite decorative moldings. More than 100 windows in the house were replaced. Ellie’s Café and Wild Blossom Meadery will be providing meal-and-mead samples in the club style backyard.

A deluxe Chicago bungalow carefully preserved for its distinctive detailing and livability, and beautifully updated for an active family. This welcoming home was built as a “high end” bungalow, complete with slate roof tiles, decorative outdoor elements, and a matching detached garage. Filled with natural light that enhances the simply and lovely decorating, representatives from the Chicago Bungalow Association will be on hand to offer tips on tending vintage homes and share history about what has made Chicago bungalows so uniquely desirable for more than a century.

An gracious Tudor Revival set on a quiet corner lot just a half block from the Dan Ryan Woods has been beautifully restored with close attention to retaining the homes most elegant features including a spacious sunken living room with a cathedral ceiling and wall of beautifully crafted leaded glass windows. Bringing the home up to date is the breakfast room/kitchen area created by reconfiguring the floor plan and adding lovely new cabinets, counters and light fixtures. Southtown Health Foods will be serving samples of fresh, healthy juice.

A charming Foursquare home set atop the hill is influenced by the simple beauty of Prairie and Craftsman styling. Rich woodwork, handsomely crafted furnishings, exceptional art and collections, and personal touches tipped with whimsy all add to a welcoming home. Master Gardeners will meet with tour visitors and pass along timely tips to bring to their home landscapes.




A handsome stucco cottage with a garden hideaway is the cherished home of a couple who has spent 20 years making it the perfect place to welcome guests. The house, believed to be the first built in the block, is one of several cottages with almost identical floor plans that were built in the 1910s. Many of these modest homes were owned – including the one featured on the Tour – were owned by people working for the Rock Island Railroad. One of the owners of this house spent his career working downtown and riding the Rock Island five days a week. Now retired, the friends his he made on his daily commute often stop by the house to visit. Open Outcry Brewing Company will be offering samples of their craft-brewed beers in this home’s yard.

The Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour begins at the RMH Design Showroom, 1802-1806 W. 103rd St., where people can pick up the guide books that serve as entry into the featured homes as well as complimentary goody bags.  The RMH showroom is a visual delight of merchandise and samples for mall projects through total remodeling jobs, including fabrics, tile, flooring, counters, wallpaper, rugs, cabinets and more.

Calumet Paint and Wallpaper, paint showcase sponsor for the Home Tour, will have representatives at RMH to share information and expert advice on painting, wallpaper and more.

Homes are selected for the Tour because of their outstanding decorating, amenities and architecture which offer a range of great ideas for updating kitchens, baths, basements and even yards. The homes also show the inextricable impact the opening of the Rock Island Railroad’s service to this area made on the creation and expansion of the community we now know as Beverly/Morgan Park. The convenience of the Metra Rock Island service to Chicago’s Loop is still an important factor in why new residents choose to purchase homes here.

A True Commuter Community

Beverly/Morgan Park would not exist today had it not been for the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad (now the Metra Rock Island). When the Rock began daily commuter service downtown in the later 1800s, the sparsely settled areas along the Blue Island Ridge that became Beverly/Morgan Park began attracting people who desired homes in a “suburban” setting but accessible to jobs and shopping, as well as railroad workers and service providers in need of lodging close to station stops.

Home construction on the Ridge boomed following the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. From mansions that housed some of Chicago’s most prominent families, to cottages and bungalows for families of more modest means, quick transportation downtown was a key influencer for home buyers more than a century ago, just as it is for buyers today. Many of the stations, now located at four-block intervals from 91st to 115th Streets, served as village centers for shopping, and the surviving stations built in the late 1800s and early 1900s form the Rock Island Train Station historic district because of their historic and architectural significance. All of the stations are part of daily life for the estimated 8.3 million riders currently commuting between Joliet and LaSalle Street each year.

At Home in Beverly/Morgan Park Today

For more than four decades, BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour has been opening the doors to some of the neighborhood’s most remarkable private residences. Tickets to this year’s tour are $30 in advance at www.bapa.org or $35 on the day of the tour, Sun., May 20. Advance tickets are also available at RMH Design, 1806 W. 103rd St., County Fair Foods, `0800 S. Western, and Steuber Florist, 2654 W. 111th St. Homes are open from 12 to 5 p.m. on the day of the tour; all tours are self-guided and must begin by 3 p.m.

Thank You Home Tour Sponsors

Mike Haggerty Buick-GMC-Volkswagen in Oak Lawn, Beverly Bank & Trust, Pacor Mortgage, Marquette Bank,  Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Biros Real Estate, Calumet Paint and Wallpaper, Benjamin Moore Paint, CIBC, PRS Real Estate Services, Beverly Hills Animal Hospital, Steuber Florist & Greenhouses, Southtown Health Foods, Coldwell Banker Residential Oak Lawn,  19th Ward Youth Foundation, County Fair, The Beverly Review, RMH Design, Smith Village, Bridget Gainer, Road Home Program, Beverly Cabinets and Construction, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, Open Outcry Brewing Company.

Information about the Home Tour contact BAPA, 773-233-3100 or www.bapa.org.


Village Viewpoint – April 2018

By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director

Ahhhhh spring.  Wait, not really.  My bulbs think so, but hey, we’re Chicagoans, and we earn our stripes on these days when the weather can range from blizzard to sunshine.  As I drive through our neighborhood I find myself thankful that at least we’re not staring at a black, crusty, snow-caked corner every time we stop. Yes, it could snow, but even if it does if we are from the Midwest, we move forward anyway.

April will bring us outside for Easter egg hunts and our yards will silently call to us, reminding us to give nature some attention. Spring in Beverly/Morgan Park brings us back together, it’s when we feel our love for the neighborhood the most.  Warmer weather is a great distractor from today’s constant distractions of cell phones, computers and TV screens.  It’s almost like reunion time on the block as we see the neighbors who we’ve not seen for the winter months except when they ducked in and out of their cars or boarded the train.

At BAPA, we get into the spirit of spring and help jump start this neighborhood reunion with our Clean and Green. Families from all over the community join the BAPA staff and volunteers to spruce up the parks, street corners and the green spaces we all want to admire but are sometimes forgotten.

Our young people have their eye on a society that they can be proud of, and recycling and sustainability are certainly bigger parts of their vocabulary than ever before. I am proud to learn BAPA is rolling out more education on how to “go green” through a pilot school program called “Know When to Throw” and a dedicated section on Going Green in each issue of The Villager. I know that in my house my kids beam with pride when I pay closer attention to loving the earth.  I know my neighbors are happier when I love the earth by starting in my own yard.

This spring, as a new member of the BAPA staff, I plan to expand my warm weather reunion to more corners of the neighborhood.  I hope you’ll join me.

Know Your BAPA Staff

The BAPA staff works every day to make sure everyone in Beverly/Morgan Park loves where they live. But what does everyone do? These profiles will help you match the staff person to their accomplishments.  (The BAPA staff is pictured from left Jennifer Alving, Mary Jo Viero, Susan Flood, Margot Holland, Roberta Kleinman, Grace Kuikman.)

Jennifer Alving, BAPA Business Manager

“I am one piece of the BAPA Office Staff that wants you to love where you live as much as I do,” said Jennifer Alving, BAPA Business Manager for the past two years. Alving grew up by the Sauganash neighborhood – what she now calls “Beverly North.” “I didn’t even know that there was such a place as the South Side.”  Her husband Michael was born and raised in the Christ the King (CK) Parish, which is where the couple bought their home 14 years ago.

Alving does the day-to-day, back-of-the-house work for BAPA, organizing mailings, receipts and payments; managing the membership database; assisting with BAPA programs and events; and helping out when needed. Among her accomplishmests are developing streamlined operations for thanking donors and mailing BAPA Cards, consistent quarterly renewal letters, and other aspects of data management designed to increase membership.

“My favorite part of working at BAPA is the staff.  We all bring a different trait to the table. Our little group gets a lot accomplished and we work well together,” she said.

“I still have two wonderful children at home [Emma, 14, and Aidan, 11], both who’ve enjoyed the same CK grade school experience that their father had. To be honest, it’s still a little weird for my husband to go to my son’s parent teacher conferences. You may see me around the neighborhood at Treadfit, Horse Thief Hollow, working the concessions at the CK gym or out walking my Bernedoodle, Flynn.”

Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director

Susan Flood joined the BAPA staff as Executive Director not quite six weeks ago, and hit the ground running.

“As Executive Director, I set vision and strategy for BAPA based on what our community needs,” she said. “I work on staffing and recruitment of a board of directors, and reach out to residents to support the Beverly/Morgan Park community through volunteering, support, event participation, and sharing of needs, wants and ideas.”

Flood said that her favorite part of working at BAPA is having the opportunity to give back to a community that has meant so much to her and my family and working for “all the people in my own backyard.”

In the short time she has been at BAPA’s helm, Flood has been focusing on using her skills and knowledge of the community to inform and drive BAPA’s programs. “My passion for and commitment to BAPA lies in bringing all aspects of Beverly/Morgan Park together to collaborate, so we can keep BAPA as a truly valuable resource to our residents, businesses, and  public servants.  Making sure that BAPA truly reflects this community and always has our eye on the ball.

“I chose Beverly 30 years ago, raised my family, have worked and played both in and outside the neighborhood during those years,” she continued.  “My career has always been in business development whether it be in the tech sector in my early years or as a passionate non-profit leader in this second half.  I have always chosen roles where I can dwell in possibility and find a way to get to ‘yes.’”

Flood said that her husband and three kids are her biggest supporters in ways too numerous to count.  “As my kids take their talents into the world I am reminded every day of the impact growing up in Beverly has had on their success,” she said.

“Raised by a saxophone player and married to an artist, you’re likely to see me at the Beverly Arts Center when I’m not at BAPA,” she said.

Margot Holland, BAPA Program Director

Margot Holland been on the BAPA staff just over three years, and recently moved from the position she held as Executive Director into a new part time role of Program Director. “This is a  very exciting new position formed to continue to strengthen BAPA’s relationship with the schools, CAPS program and businesses,”she said.

She loves coming to work every day, know the staff can make a difference and continue to fulfill BAPA’s mission.

When asked about which of her accomplishments she is most proud, Holland said, “There is so much to be proud of here at BAPA, we do so many things,” then added, “I am most proud of how our community rises to challenges and works together to support each other.”

Holland grew up in north Beverly and, after living many other places, moved back when it came time to raise a family. “Jeff and I have three kids and just adopted a puppy, Dakota! Most days you can find me shopping at County Fair and working out at Treadfit Beverly.”

Roberta Kleinman, BAPA Coordinator of Property Preservation Services

Roberta Kleinman joined the BAPA staff the first week of 2016.  “The two areas of responsibility I assumed were real estate preservation, which requires familiarity with the Chicago Building and Zoning Codes, and crime prevention, which requires a working relationship with the commander, police officers and civilian CAPS personnel of the Monterey (22nd) District of the Chicago Police Department, where I am Vice Chair of the District Advisory Committee and serve on the Domestic Violence subcommittee,” Kleinman said. “Both areas of responsibility also entail working with 19th Ward officials and other city and county personnel.”

Working alongside BAPA’s staff members has led to other commitments, including working with Mary Jo Viero in starting up the Ridge Park Advisory Council and in representing BAPA at meetings of the Beverly Improvement Association, the oldest and most active neighborhood association in Beverly/Morgan Park.  Kleinman also interfaces on BAPA’s behalf as a board officer of the non-profit Friends of the Major Taylor Trail, and serve on the 19th Ward’s Environment Committee.

“My association with BAPA has raised my awareness of the social interconnections that enable this organization for more than 70 years to remain a unifying force in the lives of multiple generations of longstanding residents, even as it welcomes newcomers that find their way here from elsewhere in the city and state, as well as from other parts of the country,” Kleinman said. “I am particularly proud of my role identifying neglected and/or abandoned residential and commercial structures in BAPA’s service area to city officials, who have used that information to bring property owners into court to compel them to make necessary repairs, put their properties on the market, or consent to demolition in worst case situations where restoration efforts were no longer feasible.”

Kleinman has been a neighborhood resident for nearly 24 years, moving from New York.  “Although I knew absolutely no one when I moved in, I did not remain a stranger for long, as several neighbors on my block began to invite me to holiday dinners, backyard barbeques and their children’s graduation celebrations in their homes and I made the acquaintance of other North Beverly neighbors with whom I shared a daily Rock Island commute until my retirement,” she recalled. “It didn’t take long after that until I traded some of my newfound free time for the privilege of giving back to my adopted community, and volunteerism has been a big part of my daily life ever since.”

Kleinman resides with her life partner Mark Kasper and cat, Mr. Beady Eyes

Grace Kuikman, BAPA Associate Director and Director of Communications

Grace Kuikman joined the BAPA staff 30+ years ago as freelance editor of The Villager. Having worked as a newspaper reporter and freelance writer and editor, the opportunity at BAPA was the perfect fit when Kuikman was ready to start raising a family. When her youngest child started all-day kindergarten at Sutherland School, Kuikman took over the role of communications at BAPA, and started working in the office. She oversees communications for all of BAPA’s events and programs, and produces The Villager, enews, website content and other BAPA print and digital initiatives.

Although she was raised in Evergreen Park, Kuikman’s grandparents were Beverly/Morgan Park residents, and her dad, John Kuikman, attended Vanderpoel elementary school and Morgan Park High School.

“What I love most about working for BAPA is The Villager,” Kuikman said. “Every month for three decades, we have found new and wonderful stories about our neighbors, our schools, our churches, our businesses. It speaks volumes that this community stays so vital and continues to attract interesting and engaged people with even more new stories to tell.”

Kuikman said she is most proud of how BAPA and its communications – The Villager, website, enews, social media – have evolved over the years to remain important sources of information and media that are relevant to old and new neighbors.

Kuikman enjoys spending time with her three adult kids because they are really fun and interesting. Her pastimes are predictable: she’s the founder and facilitator of Longwood Writers Guild, spends her free time writing stories, and is about to launch a digital literary magazine with two longtime colleagues.

Mary Jo Viero, BAPA Community Organizer

Mary Jo Viero began as BAPA Community Organizer in January 2016, working with neighborhood residents and businesses on green initiatives, promoting local shopping, and bringing people together for issues and events.

Viero works with civic and homeowners associations to support their efforts to resolve issues, host events, and communicate with their neighbors.  She helps to promote small businesses with the BAPA Card program and small business events such as the Sip and Shop and Cookie Crawl.

Viero assists with planning, presenting and sponsorship for BAPA events and coordinates BAPA’s green initiatives, including overseeing tree planting grants through Openlands, Weeding Wednesday and neighborhood clean and greens.

“My favorite part of working for BAPA is our staff,” Viero said.  “We are small but mighty. I don’t like to talk about things, I like to get things done. Not a day that goes by that we don’t accomplish something positive for the community.”

Viero and her husband, George, moved to Beverly/Morgan Park in 2003 and their son Frank was born in 2004. They are active St. Barnabas parishioners and Frank will be graduating from St. Barnabas this year. Viero is President of the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC), a volunteer group that works to improve the condition of the Ridge Park fieldhouse.

“I’m proud of the work I have done with the Park District, introducing the idea for Picccolo Park as well as helping to get improvements for Ridge Park Fieldhouse. The RPAC is moving forward on fundraising efforts, hosting events and building awareness of the importance of Ridge Park and its connection to our community.”

Viero likes to stay active. “Neighbors might see me at on Weeding Wednesdays at the Metra Stations or a park. You may also see me eating and shopping locally!”




Going Green: Tips for a Healthy Environment

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Earth Day is Sun., Apr. 22 and there are lots of environment-friendly way you can celebrate leading up to, on and beyond that date.

Lights Out!

Even though Earth Hour was held in March as a global effort to help save our planet by reducing use of electricity, you can schedule your own Earth Hour at home. Pick a day, then turn off the lights for one hour, starting at 8:30 p.m. Make some noise to celebrate your commitment to saving the earth’s resources. Info: www.earthhour.org.

Take a Hike!

Experience the glorious beginnings of spring by taking an Earth Day walk in Dan Ryan Woods! The woods are beautiful, and there are hiking trails and open areas where you can observe birds, enjoy nature and celebrate this amazing resource right in our community. Check out programs at Dan Ryan Woods sponsored by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County at fpdcc.com or volunteer to help the Friends of the Forest Preserves at monthly work days in Dan Ryan Woods; info: fotfp.org.

Save Money & Save the Earth

BAPA is hosting a Utility Bill Clinic with representatives from the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) on Tues., Apr. 17, 6 to 8 p.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Bring copies of your utility bills for the experts to review so they can give you tips on how to save on your gas and electric bills. Spots are limited, so make a reservation at www.bapa.org.

Clean Up Our Community

BAPA invites neighbors to help clean up parks, train stations, schools and other public places in a community wide clean and green, Sat., Apr. 21, 9 a.m. Volunteers who register by Apr. 18 will receive a BAPA Love Where You Live t-shirt. Bring gardening/work gloves, rakes and brooms, if you have them. Students can receive community service hours. Sign up for a location near you at www.bapa.org.

Plant a Tree / Pull Weeds

BAPA continues to work with Openlands to secure tree planting grants throughout Beverly/Morgan Park. Help is needed to identify areas that need parkway trees and to recruit homeowners in contiguous areas who need trees and will be willing to help plant them.

If you’re around on weekdays, join the BAPA team for Weeding Wednesdays. Each week throughout the summer, public places are targeted for removal of debris and weeds. Volunteers receive a BAPA Love Where You Live t-shirt. Info: contact Mary Jo Viero, 773-233-3100 or mjviero@bapa.org.

Every Day Earth Friendly Habits

Conserve water: Do not let water run when brushing your teeth, shaving, etc.

Use low flow faucets, shower heads and toilets.

Try Plogging! Pick up trash as you jog or walk through the neighborhood. On Apr. 21, 7 a.m., the Running Excels running group will be plogging. They meet at the store, 10328 S. Western. Info: 773- 629-8587.

Leave the car at home and walk or bike to your destination.

Invest in a reusable coffee cup.

BYOB grocery bags – even when you’re shopping in the suburbs.

Use earth friendly cleaning products

Reduce, reuse, recycle every day.

House Doctor Series Focus is Recycling

Eileen Klees from the Beverly Unitarian Church (BUC) Green Sanctuary group will present a program on recycling for the House Doctor series, Sun., Apr. 7, 2 p.m., Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley. Klees will explain what you can or cannot put into blue bins as well as the theory and economic impact of recycling.

“Reduce – Reuse – Recycle was a mantra started in the early 1970’s when Earth Day became an official date on the calendar,” Klees said. “Despite its longevity and obvious value, we are a long way from zero waste.”

In the House Doctor program, Klees will clarify what should be reduced/reused/repaired, what can be recycled, what should be replaced, and why knowledge and options make sustainable living more enjoyable and less expensive.

A Q&A will follow the program. Admission is $5 for RHS members and $10 for non-members. Reservations requested: 773-881-1675 or ridgehistory@hotmail.com (provide your name and phone number).

The BUC Green Sanctuary group sponsors environmental events, including the hazardous waste collection every October.  For more information, visit www.beverlyunitarian.org/green-sanctuary-group.