The Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) is one of Chicago’s most successful grassroots civic organizations. Since 1947, we have worked to preserve and improve the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. BAPA’s motto is Love Where You Live. Our mission is to sustain and enhance our safe, culturally diverse community. We do that with proactive, effective programs that unify residents, institutions and businesses around the common cause of nurturing Chicago’s best neighborhood. Our programs focus on issues that enhance our quality of life: safety, schools, housing, shopping, business services, communications, and beautification.

BAPA has benefited the last 3 years from a strong Executive Director, Margot Holland, who revitalized the organization by increasing membership, reorganizing staff, improving events, and expanding programming.  Mrs. Holland is transitioning to a programming position so the Board of Directors is seeking a dynamic, experienced candidate to continue and expand on the progress of the past three years.

The Executive Director must be a proven leader who demonstrates an understanding of, and dedication to, the mission of BAPA to preserve and improve the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhood.  As the principal advocate and spokesperson for BAPA, the Executive Director must have the ability to engage and inspire staff, volunteers, local business owners, policymakers, educational institutions, faith based institutions, law enforcement, media, and elected officials. Attributes that will be highly valued in a candidate are excellent verbal and written communication skills, experience in community engagement, fundraising, development, and working with volunteer boards.

The candidate must reside in the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhood. The Executive Director reports to the Board of Directors, and is responsible for BAPA’s consistent achievement of its mission and financial objectives.  In fundraising, program development, event management, and organizational administration the Executive Director will:

  • Assure that BAPA has a long-range strategy which achieves its mission, and toward which it makes consistent and timely progress.
  • Manage BAPA staff of 1 full time employee, 3 part-time employees, 2 volunteer positions, freelancers and consultants.
  • Work closely with volunteer Board of Directors to drive organizational goals, set annual budget, and ensure the overall vitality of the organization. The Executive Director will keep the board fully informed on the condition of the organization and important factors influencing it.
  • Create and strengthen relationships with neighborhood and city stakeholders to ensure BAPA has a leadership role in creating policy and effecting change.
  • Represent BAPA at community meetings, social events, and neighborhood activities. In addition to BAPA board and committee meetings, the evening commitment to this position is roughly 2 evenings per week.
  • Promote active and broad participation by volunteers in all areas of BAPA’s programming, fundraising, and community events.
  • Develop strategies to increase income and financial stability through membership, grants, public and private partnerships, and major gifts.
  • Report to maintain compliance with City grant requirements around BAPA’s local economic development goals.
  • Work with staff to identify and develop programming to fulfill BAPA’s mission.
  • Respond to neighborhood issues and incidents with a constant focus on working towards the goals stated in BAPA’s mission.
  • Sustain and increase residential and business memberships.
  • Oversee planning, sponsorship, and presentation of BAPA special events: Home Tour, Ridge Run, Memorial Day Parade, Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Family Fun Nights, Sip and Shop, Tap Into BAPA, Cookie Crawl, and others.
  • Manage Special Service Area (SSA) for 103rd Street business district. (SSAs are local tax districts that fund expanded services and programs through a localized property tax levy within contiguous areas.)
  • Oversee property management consultants, vendors and agents in maintaining the physical property at 1987 West 111th owned by BAPA.

Applicants to should email a cover letter and resume to Maureen Gainer Reilly at maureen@consultgo.com.

Start date: Immediate  Salary Range $60,000-$70,000 BAPA is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.

Village Viewpoint – January 2018

Dear Neighbors,

Happy New Year from all of us at BAPA! We hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful holiday. This is a time of year when we can reflect on all that has taken place over the last year and make goals for the upcoming year ahead. We had a great year 2017 at the Beverly Area Planning Association and that is because of you — our neighbors and members are more engaged than ever. Your support provides the gift of community, and that is something money can’t buy.  Thank you to all those who attended BAPA events, sent in membership and volunteered in 2017!

During 2017 we were able to expand our programming in schools and safety and our support of local businesses. In 2018 BAPA will continue to build in these areas. The BAPA board has been hard at work organizing committees to support the staff and expanding programming. Coming up in 2018, in addition to our existing services, BAPA will launch Author in the Schools, Tech Tuesdays for seniors and shared office space in the new and improved community room space in our building. We are proud of all that has been accomplished and all that is to come in 2018.

As part of our growth, early in the year I will be completing my three year term as Executive Director and will move into the new position of Director of Programming to launch these new initiatives. I am proud of all the change and positive momentum that our staff and board have been able to accomplish and look forward to a new chapter of climbing even higher.

BAPA is in a very strong position both organizationally and financially, and poised to continue all the good work for many years to come.

All the best,


Police Presence, Nosey Neighbors and Being Informed Impact Safety

According to BAPA’s safety survey, a strong and consistent police presence, a commitment to being nosey neighbors and having access to community alerts and crime information are the top three tools needed for a safer community. (See survey results.)

“I think these results show how much confidence our community has in our police force, so much so that we hope Chicago Police Department leadership will dedicate more police manpower to protecting our commercial and residential areas,” BAPA’s Margot Holland.

“The survey provides valuable information for our law enforcement partners,” said 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. ” I look forward to ongoing collaboration with BAPA and the 22nd District.”

The survey was distributed in early December through email blasts and social media, and was completed by nearly 2,000 area residents.

“It was a great response, and respondents overwhelmingly agreed that frequent police patrols throughout the community is the most effective crime-fighting tool,” Holland said.

Being a nosey neighbor and calling 9-1-1 to report suspicious activity was cited as the second most important aspect of crime prevention, and quick access to crime alerts came in third. CAPS meetings received the lowest confidence as a crime prevention tool.

Nearly 80% of the people who completed the survey have lived in the community for more than 10 years, and they provided good perspective on changes in community safety. “Many people noted that neighborhood receives a lot of attention from police when there is an uptick in crime, and that strong police presence is an effective crime deterrent,” Holland said. “People also commented that the neighborhood needs continuous police presence, not just added presence when something happens.”

While the vast number of survey respondents perceive the neighborhood as somewhat safe or very safe, a concerning number of people also indicated that they limit certain activities due to safety concerns.

“We received a lot of comments about where and why people curtail activities, and many people said that concern about their safety increased with the recent spate of crimes and there is more opportunity for crime because there are not enough police on the streets,” Holland said.

Even before the recent armed robberies, BAPA was developing the safety survey. “Those crimes made the survey more timely and the input we received more critical,” Holland said.

Survey respondents selected increased crime prevention tips in BAPA communications, volunteer-driven neighborhood watch, and neighborhood watch Facebook groups.

People interested in seeing the survey results can find it at www.bapa.org. The survey was developed by BAPA staff and board members with the help of 22nd District CAPS leaders, 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea, and community members.


BAPA Brings Author Program to Local Schools

Nikola-Lisa prioritizes his interests as storytelling, music and writing, in that order. The author of 20 children’s books and a former second grade teacher, Nikola-Lisa is a man with many stories to tell, and he likes to share them with an enthusiasm that invites young readers to not just relate to the stories, but be inspired to go beyond the pages of the books and relate the stories to their own lives.

In January, the BAPA Education Committee will bring W. Nikola-Lisa to neighborhood public schools through the Authors in the School (AIS) program, and each class will get to meet the author and receive a copy of his book, “How We Are Smart,” and participate in a one-day workshop.

The book is a collection of short biographies of successful people – some of them who we all know, and some who we may never have heard of. Each of these people is smart is a different way, and, as written by Nikola-Lisa, the stories encourage children to identify and appreciate their own unique way of being smart.

Nikola-Lisa got the idea for the book when attending a lecture by Howard Gardner on his theory of multiple intelligences in 2000. Nikola-Lisa said he felt a connection to the theory, which sets out eight ways in which people are smart – body, logic, music, nature, people, picture, self and word. The different ways of being smart influence people to become athletes, artists, scientists, activists, musicians, lawyer, explorers, writers and more. The author spent two years researching and writing to make sure “How We Are Smart” includes the success stories of inspiring people of all genders and racial groups.

In his Author in the Schools workshops at neighborhood schools, Nikola-Lisa, will use music, storytelling and more to help 3rd graders develop reading, writing and storytelling skills. “My goal is to guide students through my writing experiences in a logical, sequential way so students have a broad understanding of what an author does . . . and what makes a good story,” Nikola-Lisa said. Participating elementary schools are Barnard, Clissold, Esmond, Kellogg, Sutherland and Vanderpoel.

“How We Are Smart” has been recognized with the Christopher Award and Gustavus Myers Book Award, and is recommended by the Great Lakes Great Books Award List, School Library Journal Book Review and New York Times Book Review. Nikola-Lisa grew up in southern Texas and currently resides in Chicago. He began teaching in elementary schools in the late 1970s and then went on to get his doctorate. He was a professor of education at National-Louis University and currently spends a great deal of time visiting classrooms as an Author in the Schools.

Pictures in “How We Are Smart” are by award-winning illustrator Sean Qualls who draws his inspiration from many sources including childhood memories, movies, television, nature, music, and literature. Qualls lives in Brooklyn.

We’re BAPA Members. Are You?

Joan Each Rowan

Everything’s Relative, 10548 S. Western

“I support BAPA because BAPA and the neighborhood support me. BAPA keeps the community informed and encourages the residents and businesses to come together at all levels. BAPA provides owners with resources and information and spotlights businesses to help them thrive. I have been a business owner for 24 years, and I know that the people of Beverly/Morgan Park are very loyal to good businesses.  BAPA helps us be good businesses. Why am I a BAPA business member? I can’t imagine why a business wouldn’t support BAPA!”

Bonita and Robbie Jefferson

Bevelry Hills MarketPlace, 1809 W. 95th St.

“We wholeheartedly embrace BAPA’s mission to support the commercial community,” Bonita said. “We believe BAPA is the pulse of the neighborhood. For new businesses, it serves as a hub of information, a connect-the-dots vehicle for what’s happening and how to get involved.”

The sisters rely heavily on The Villager to stay in the loop of neighborhood activities. “The Villager has been our go-to guide for Neighborhood Notes, Arts & Entertainment and a link to valuable business workshops,” Bonita said. “We became actively involved with the 22nd District CAPS Business Partners for Safer Neighborhoods as a result of information in The Villager. We see our shop as a Safe Haven to assist children, seniors and other members of the community who feel threatened by a person or situation.”

Bonita believes supporting BAPA is essential to keep the community vibrant and safe. “BAPA continues to demonstrate the power of ‘We’ through follow-up action — with results. They are not only encouraging shopping local 365 days of the year with your BAPA Card, they are fostering a climate of ‘neighborship’: homeowners and business owners getting to know each other,” she said.


Kathy Ruopp

Soon after moving to Beverly/Morgan Park from the North Side in the late 1970s, I found myself involved with the Vanderpoel Improvement Association (VIA), the civic association for my area of the neighborhood, and through VIA, with BAPA, the group linking all of the 13 civic associations. It was a time of change in the neighborhood, and both VIA and BAPA focused on the importance of knowing our neighbors, which promoted a sense of community and belonging. Over the years, BAPA has been a resource for VIA for resolving housing issues, monitoring problem houses, connecting residents to available resources and supporting neighborhood projects. BAPA acts to ensure that residents are aware of safety issues and what can be done to improve security for individuals and homes. BAPA’s support of our schools has been very important to the neighborhood.  BAPA’s Villager, in print and online, has been an effective means of communication and BAPA has supported printing VIA’s local newsletters. VIA and BAPA have been essential in creating the reality of belonging to a community that is interested in and committed to the well-being of each resident.



Cookie Crawl & Christkindl Market

Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) and Olivia’s Garden are teaming up for a family-friendly weekend of holiday events: BAPA’s 2nd Annual Holiday Cookie Crawl and Olivia’s new Christkindl Market, 10730 S. Western, Chicago. The market will be held Sat., Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Sun., Dec. 10, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Both days, the market will feature dozens of vendors offering a variety of unique gifts, decorations, candy, bread, soaps, spices, art work, books and more, as well as food trucks.

On Dec. 9, 10 a.m. to noon, shoppers are encouraged to bring the children to visit with Santa. Maplewood Photography will be taking photos for $15, or families can bring their own cameras and take pictures. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., participants who purchased cookie tins in advance for BAPA’s Cookie Crawl will start their sweet odyssey, taking time to shop at the market before heading out to collect their cookies at participating businesses along Western Avenue. Cookie tins are sold out and will not be available on the day of the event.

Don’t miss student dancers performing a scene from The Nutcracker Sat., Dec. 9, starting at 4:30 p.m. in the window at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western.

On Sun., Dec. 10, Christkindl Market visitors can take a break from shopping to enjoy live music and a beverage along with bite to eat from food trucks. Café style seating will be available.

Market vendors include Kindred Knots, Poore House Crafts, Xzavier’s Sweet Shoppe, Coco’s Tamales, Bungalow Bias Chicago, Rotten Tooth Company, Oliver Scott Interiors, Que Sera Sarah, Our Secret Garden, A Touch of Whimsy, Fairy Farmacy, Harrison and James Publishing, Breadman Baking Company, Ivy Rose Jewelry, No I’m Not Amish, Katesplosion, Salty Dog Seasonings, Cera & Lore, and Gotta Be Crepes. Wally’s Waffles will be at the market on Saturday and Vintrendi Wine and Loi designs will be at the market on Sunday.

Village Viewpoint by Margot Holland, BAPA Executive Director

October 2017

Dear Neighbors,

Our community never disappoints when it comes to supporting one another. That was evident at our first Sip n’ Shop girls night out event highlighting women owned businesses along the 99th and 103rd street business corridors. Over 200 women came out to support our small business community! It was a magical night because the business owners rolled out the red carpet for the community. Thank you to those who came out to participate and to the businesses that stayed open late and provided a unique experience in their shop.

When owners invest in their small business we all win because local economic development is trademark to a healthy community. Shopping local is something our community does because we know how important these retail and service related businesses are to the vitality of Beverly/Morgan Park.  If you missed the Sip n’ Shop, don’t worry! Local business owners are already preparing for their next big event, the Beverly Art Walk on Sat., Oct. 7, coordinated by the Beverly Area Arts Alliance. Artists and performers will be featured in local businesses and many other venues.  A new dimension his year is the unveiling of the City of Chicago’s public art project for the 19th Ward. BAPA was a part of the committee to choose the public art piece. We love to see all this investment in our neighborhood!

BAPA has been busy working with civic associations preparing for the 30+ trees we will along residential parkways plant in November and advocating for the rehabilitation of the Ridge Park Fieldhouse.  BAPA has been very supportive of the newly formed Ridge Park Advisory Council in reaching out to the Chicago Park District and attending their budget hearing to help shine a light on the disrepair of the Ridge Park Fieldhouse.

For 70 years the Beverly Area Planning Association has been bringing the community together to help spur economic development, increase City services and, more than anything, build a strong sense of community. That is made possible thanks to our members.  We are so lucky to have over 1400 members currently supporting BAPA. We have worked hard to define membership beyond community events and have rolled out the BAPA card and opened the business center and community room, and continue to offer trade referrals and other services.  We hope you will join your neighbors in supporting BAPA through membership. Look for the membership envelope inside this issue of The Villager and please join the BAPA family today!

All the best, Margot




RPAC Campaigns to Save Ridge Park

By Mary Jo Viero, President, Ridge Park Advisory Committee

Local organizations and residents have been voicing concern about the condition of the Ridge Park fieldhouse for many years. As the leadership of the Chicago Park District determines its budget for FY18 the rehabilitation of Ridge Park should be the top priority. The fieldhouse is an important part of our community, keeping the building in good repair should be expected. However, severe issues plague the facility including a leaky roof and rotting windows; the building is not ADA accessible; lighting is outdated and inefficient; and the kitchen, gymnasium and auditorium all need significant improvements.

Ridge Park draws over 6000 people annually for programming alone and consistently ranks 3rd among all 580 city parks for program participation. That does not include the 30,000+ people each year who gather at the park for community events like the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk, Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade.  Additionally, Ridge Park is home to the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association Gallery, a multi-million dollar art collection. Unfortunately, this collection is suffering damage from the leaking roof.

After being pushed back several times, the RPAC was told that work on the roof is supposed to begin in mid-October – if true this is great news for our park and community!  We hope that the park gets the new roof it needs – The RPAC was formed to focus on the restoration and continued maintenance of the field house and the grounds, and we are determined to fight for what Ridge Park deserves.  Sadly, as we all know a new roof is only the beginning and we ask that the community join the RPAC in standing up for Ridge Park.

On Sept. 19, 2017 members of the RPAC and the community (both young and old) gathered together at the Chicago Park District budget hearing to advocate for a complete facility restoration to save Ridge Park!  While we recognize and respect the fact that managing a budget for hundreds of public parks in a large and diverse city is no easy task, and we’re grateful for recent improvements to the Ridge Park baseball fields and tennis courts, we believe major improvements are past due at this community treasure.

Please join us, there is strength in numbers! Demand that the Ridge Park Fieldhouse is treated like the treasure it is.

For information on how you can help, email Mary Jo Viero, mjviero@bapa.org.

Why I’m a BAPA volunteer

By Mallory Fitzpatrick

I’m so glad I signed on with BAPA; I had such a great experience. BAPA’s events are so great for our neighborhood, and it was wonderful to be a part of that. By bringing so many neighbors out into a friendly, welcoming, and fun environment, BAPA really builds that sense of community and support that makes Beverly/Morgan Park such a great place to live. You really don’t realize how much work goes into those events until you’re helping out behind the scenes.

I’ve lived in the neighborhood as long as I can remember, and grew up with events like the Ridge Run and Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. This summer, watching kids dance at Family Fun Nights and seeing the Ridge Run winners cross the finish line first hand hammered home what an amazing place this is. It was so great to have a chance to give back to the community where I have my family roots. Working with BAPA’s board and staff really demonstrated how hard those people work to make our community as incredible as it is. My deepest thanks to BAPA!

Know Your Neighbors: Paula Robinson

By Kristin Boza

Paula Robinson is dedicated to progressing the economic development of her community through her work with the Morgan Park Civic League. Community activism is in her blood; Robinson’s grandmother, Annabelle Robinson, was also an active participant in the Morgan Park Civic League, which has been working to improve and enhance Morgan Park since 1937.

Robinson’s community involvement isn’t limited to Morgan Park. She, and the rest of the Civic League, recognizes the impact each south side neighborhood has on one another. Community groups in West Pullman, Beverly, Bronzeville and others all collaborate to stimulate economic development and address housing and transportation issues throughout the south side.

“It’s not so much that we need to develop a lot of things here; we have a lot to offer,” Robinson said. “We focus on highlighting what we have, making connections and giving people reasons to go. Once they get the invitation to come and experience something, then it opens up a whole other level of what you can do and how you engage with people. If people don’t even know what you’ve got, then it’s not so much that we have to get a lot of new things, but we just need to figure out how to engage the community.”

Promoting the Major Taylor Trail is a big push of Robinson’s — not only to get people to use it, but to encourage companies to open businesses along the trail that runs from the Dan Ryan Woods to Whistler Woods. “On the northwest side of the city, we’ve seen the success of the 606 Trail and what it’s done to bring communities and neighborhoods together. The bike trail is a community asset and spurs more development.”

Outdoor recreation is a great way to connect communities, according to Robinson. “It’s beneficial for the whole well-being, wellness and health of a community as a whole,” she said. The Civic League is also looking for ways to partner with local artists to install art along the path. “With the tie-in with art and culture, these trails can not only be about recreation, but provide a cultural benefit to the community as well,” she said.

Besides the Major Taylor Trail, Robinson and the Morgan Park Civic League always aim to determine how to create action and excitement around things that already exist. The annual Roots Festival, a farmer’s market, and economic development along 111th Street are other focuses for the group. Robinson hopes to get a visitor’s center up and running on 111th Street to alert people going to the Pullman National Monument about other things to do in the area — including grabbing a steak sandwich at the famed Home of the Hoagy, 1316 W. 111th St., and enjoying a cup of coffee at the Old Morgan Park Coffee Shop at 111th and Loomis.

“We have a lot of wonderful history for people to see, a beautiful bike trail and other amenities that are interesting to visitors and residents alike,” Robinson said. “Morgan Park is an older community, and we have to identify new housing and new opportunities to attract younger people who will want to keep our community sustainable.”

To find out more or to get involved, visit the Morgan Park Civic League on Facebook.