BAPA Hosts School Search Seminar for Parents 6th-8th Graders

Attention parents of 6th, 7th and 8th graders: Now it the time to start your search for the right high school. BAPA is here to help. Partnering with Chicago School GPS, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation and the Beverly Arts Center, BAPA will host a seminar designed to help guide parents through the high school selection process on Tues., Aug. 29, 7 to 8:30 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.

Beverly/Morgan Park families have a lot of choices when it comes to high school. How can you make sure the school you choose is the right fit for your student?

Grace Lee Sawin of Chicago School GPS will demystify the Chicago high school admissions process and help parents navigate the public and private school search journey. Sawin will explain the new GoCPS application process for Chicago Public high schools, provide an overview of the private school admissions process, give guidelines for how to choose a school that is a good fit for your child, explain criteria for various public and private high school programs, offer tips on navigating open houses and high school shadow days, and more.

Chicago School GPS was founded by three Chicago moms who believe that the culture, opportunities and unique setting of Chicago makes it ideal for families, and that academically challenging, emotionally nourishing and culturally diverse options for education are available. Chicago School GPS understands that the search for the right high school can seem overwhelming. Their research covers neighborhood public schools, selective enrollment, magnets, charters, parochial and private schools.

Space is limited and reservations are appreciated; adults only please. Light refreshments will be served. Information and reservations

Village Viewpoint

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

It is hard to believe we are heading into the month of August! As we soak up these last bits of summer and prepare for a productive fall and winter calendar of programming and back to school activities, it is also a time to be thankful for all the support that BAPA receives in the spring and summer – please know your attendance at our events and volunteerism are never taken for granted. We are so thankful for this amazing community!

We have had many proud moments over the last month, including the 15th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. Over 3000 people came out to check out the race and sample some brews from area breweries and especially Lagunitas Brewing Company, which contributed over 20 kegs to help BAPA raise funds for our beautification efforts. Other generous breweries were Horse Thief Hollow, Blue Island Beer Co., Argus Brewery, Baderbrau and of course Western Avenue’s newest brewery Open Outcry Brewing Co.! What an amazing show of support of our community – thank you!

Another highlight of the summer is all the investment into the Dan Ryan Woods by the Cook County Forest Preserve in honor of the 100th anniversary of the woods. We are so lucky to have this resource right here in our community. They have lots of family fun planned on Aug. 27, so please mark your calendars; you will not be disappointed!

Also coming up in August, BAPA is excited to host a seminar with an expert on navigating the high school entrance process for both Chicago Public Schools selective enrollment and the private schools. We are lucky to have many options for all levels of education in our neighborhood. Please join us for this free event.  We are also looking forward to a great month of September when BAPA will host a girls night Shop and Sip supporting local women-owned businesses. It should be lots of fun!

Thanks for all your support through BAPA membership and event attendance. See you around the neighborhood enjoying the rest of the summer!

All the best,

Margot

BAPA History: Neighbors Working Together Achieve Good Things

By Tom Hogan, BAPA Past President

My wife, Cathi, and I have lived in our house across from Crescent Park since the summer of 1986. We moved into this home after having lived in the Old Town/Lincoln Park areas during the first years of our marriage. We both spent a good deal of our childhood/teenage years living in different parts of the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood. As a result, we had a good idea of that we would experience as our family grew.

Our two sons were able to play unsupervised in Crescent Park after they reached an age where they could cross the street by themselves. They had many friends with who they would play in the park after their school day at Clissold or on their days off. This provided them with the opportunity to work out their own differences without too much adult interference. This was much the same way Cathi and I were able to transition through our childhoods.

We first became involved in neighborhood activities in the late 1980s/early 1990s when Cathi joined a group of people who helped guide a long overdue revamp of the Crescent Park playground. That committed band of volunteers spent hours traveling to parks in other neighborhoods and suburbs to gather ideas for Crescent Park. Their efforts led not just to a refreshed play area, but to several lifelong relationships with many great neighbors. This network of people later formed the foundation of the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk.

In the mid-1990s, I joined BAPA’s Board of Directors. At that time, this neighborhood was confronted with working through issues which had been at the forefront since the 1960s: Racial change, home values and school choice. We were also faced with replacing the funding bases BAPA had enjoyed in its earlier years when local financial institutions were bought and moved out of the neighborhood. I served with many great people who didn’t always agree with one another, but who understood that compromise is not always capitulation. We set a path for the organization on all of these issues which, in hindsight, has allowed the work of BAPA to continue and the organization to thrive.

While I was president of BAPA (1998-2001), a group of real estate agents working in the Kennedy Park Civic Association area were telling residents that quick racial change was coming. This panic peddling tactic that had fostered so much white flight in the City during 1960s and 1970s caused quite a bit of concern to all of the Kennedy Park area residents, African American and Caucasian. Working with the civic association, BAPA held a series of meetings in residents’ homes. There was plenty of discussion – some helpful and some not – about what should be done.

BAPA told the real estate agents that we knew what they were doing, and that we would disseminate widely what we knew if they didn’t stop. As a result of neighbors working together on this important issue, the real estate agents did stop. This couldn’t have happened unless the residents had significant trust that BAPA would follow through on its promises.

I know BAPA works best when its objective is clear and those who are executing it trust one another to follow through on its promises. This can only be done when neighborhood residents form alliances with one another, working on smaller projects that form a foundation to benefit the larger community, much like that committed band of Crescent Park volunteers did.

If you like what the current BAPA Board is doing, tell them so. If you don’t like it, get involved yourself and work toward compromise. Together, we the residents of Beverly/Morgan Park can live in the Village in the City.

Ask Roberta

By Roberta Kleinman, BAPA Coordinator of Property Preservation Services

Q: What can I do to correct a major drainage problem that causes my yard and adjoining neighbors’ properties to flood whenever there is a hard rain?

A:  Depending on the type of soil in any particular parcel of land, standing water may remain in a yard for days once the ground becomes completely saturated. When there’s nowhere else for the water to go, it may eventually enter your basement through cracks in the foundation. Fortunately, many major drainage problems caused by extended rainfall, including those severe enough to impact multiple properties, can be corrected given the right professional assistance.

Surface drainage issues will become of increasing concern in the years to come as area homeowners are strongly encouraged to disconnect their downspouts from the city sewer system.  In older neighborhoods such as ours, for years homes were built so that water runoff from roofs was directed into the sewers. This practice is no longer permitted because of the municipal expense of processing all that extra rain water.  The city of Chicago and the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District have distributed rain barrels to residents as a way to incentivize homeowners to disconnect their downspouts, but what happens when it rains long enough and hard enough that your rain barrels fill up and overflow onto your already saturated lawn?

Enter a non-profit Chicago-based organization named the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), which provides Chicago residents with helpful advice on how to install green solutions to absorb the water in an environmentally friendly way.  Check out the portions of their website that deal with urban flooding mitigation and their RainReady initiative at www.cnt.org. CNT’s mission is to develop “policies and practices that help residents and entire communities plan for weather events associated with global climate change.”

The City of Chicago and other municipalities partner with CNT to solve persistent local flooding problems.  One solution BAPA has directly benefited from was replacing the blacktop pavement in its parking lot with permeable paving stones that allow rainwater to be absorbed by the soil underneath rather than winding up in the city sewer system.

For extreme volumes of standing water, CNT may recommend installation of a Naturalized Detention Basin, which offers a real possibility of providing simultaneous relief to multiple adjacent residential parcels.

For homeowners who don’t have extreme drainage problems the solution could be as simple as installing a French drain or two. Use the services of a professional contractor or consider doing the work yourself with the help of good instructions.  Acceptable drainage solutions do not entail redirecting standing water onto a neighbor’s property.  Also, remember to check for underground utilities by calling the Chicago Excavation Alert Line (the “Digger Hotline”) at 312-744-7000 at least 48 hours before beginning any excavation.  If digging strictly on your own private property, no city permit is required.

Disclaimer: Opinions presented here are the author’s alone, and may not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Beverly Area Planning Association. Be advised that the author of this column is not a licensed attorney. The information contained in this article is general in nature and is not intended to, and should not, be relied upon by you, the reader, as personal legal advice or a legal opinion concerning your particular situation. The information also may not necessarily reflect the most current statutory or municipal code developments. You should always seek assistance from a qualified legal professional and/or other knowledgeable real estate experts when dealing with matters affecting your residential property.

Send your question for Roberta to rkleinman@bapa.org.

 

 

Village Viewpoint – July

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy summer and cheers to a wonderful and safe 4th of July holiday! Well, there is no rest for BAPA as we charge on through the summer bringing the community together with lots of fun filled events supporting local businesses. We hope you were able to enjoy some of our popular Family Fun Nights held throughout the month of June. Now on to the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Bikes and Brews on July 14. We have secured plenty of beer from local breweries and a variety of food trucks. Enjoy all the races — No lines, no waiting – I promise!

As you know, Beverly/Morgan Park families have enjoyed a stable integrated community for many decades. While BAPA has no reason to think that would change, responding to situations that may undermine the stability of our community is BAPA’s job. Over the past few weeks, BAPA has received several calls from neighborhood residents reporting real estate solicitation from multiple sources. BAPA’s long-held position, and that of most fair housing groups, is that any type of unsolicited contacts by real estate sales agents inviting owners to sell their homes can create alarm, given the history of unscrupulous real estate practices that caused the rapid racial change of neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago.

It has been BAPA’s experience that a solicitation from one realtor may not disturb a homeowner, but multiple solicitations, even if nothing is said that could be construed as panic peddling, can have the effect of panic peddling in a neighborhood that is racially diverse. Real estate solicitation is not illegal, but it is not encouraged. Unsolicited communications that offer to buy a home “as is,” ask “if you knew what your home was worth would you sell?” or encourage you to “call NOW” can undermine a homeowner’s faith in the stability of a neighborhood.

As neighbors report incidents of solicitation, BAPA is contacting the companies with a request that they not continue this kind of marketing. If you receive a real estate solicitation on postcard, phone call, email or business card in your door, please notify BAPA at 773-233-3100 or mholland@bapa.org, and provide the company name and contact info, a summary of the content and, if possible, a copy of the solicitation.

If you are planning to sell your home or purchase a home in the community, BAPA recommends you work with a local real estate company staffed by community residents who can offer expert information on local home values and market trends, and professional services that will benefit you as a buyer or seller. Thank you for attention to this important issue.

All the Best,

Margot

 

 

Investing in Success: Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

By Kristin Boza

Beverly/Morgan Park’s business community is growing in extraordinary ways, giving us places to shop and dine, and investing in our neighborhood. With these investments, expansions and enhancements, the commercial landscape is improving every day. Neighborhood residents can do their part to support these businesses by putting their money where their heart is: right back into our own neighborhood.

“With the ease of online shopping, a brick and mortar business must provide a needed product and also a positive shopping experience,” BAPA board president Maureen Gainer Reilly said. “When businesses invest in their property, staff and product, it directly affects their bottom line.”

Gainer Reilly also notes that area residents must make the choice to support the businesses that make our neighborhood a home. “I often hear South Siders lament that we need more shops and restaurants. But for that to happen, we need to make the ones here a smashing success!” she said. “The next potential business owner sees the support for existing businesses and decides to open that cool new shop, cafe or restaurant. Plus, the math works. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $70 stays local. But that drops to $40 for every $100 spent at a national chain.”

Local businesses not only pour money into the local economy through sales, but as employers. As Gainer Reilly points out, small businesses are more likely to hire local people.

Here are some of the local businesses that are not just opening up shop, they’re investing heavily in our neighborhood.

Bookie’s Moves to Western Avenue

Bookie’s owner Keith Lewis desperately needed to expand shelf space in his popular new and used bookstore.  He scouted properties for a year before deciding on 10324 S. Western, formerly occupied by two businesses.

“The spaces were separated and I found out that they were only combinable with a doorway, as there was a brick wall between the two storefronts. This wouldn’t be a perfect situation for most stores; however, for me, a wall means more wall bookshelves,” Lewis said. He worked with a bookstore shelving company to optimize the space. “We also made sure that the fixtures are all spaced out enough to make the whole store wheelchair accessible.”

Sharing a quote from Neil Gaiman’s “American Gods,” Lewis best explains his desire to make Bookie’s better than ever: “What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore, it knows it’s not foolin’ a soul.”

“I want this community to have a great bookstore,” Lewis said. “A bookstore can be a place that sells books, or it can be a place that sells books, promotes literacy, and gets involved in the community. I want to be the latter. I want Bookie’s to help grow the neighborhood and be a destination bookstore, one to which people will travel to shop.”

By taking a risk and investing in the community, Lewis hopes the community will respond in kind. “We have a lot of people who shop local, but there aren’t enough. There needs to be a concerted effort to invest in the community. Good, strong small businesses need to strive alongside various corporate entities, and it will take the people who live here to make that happen,” he said.

Open Outcry Brewing Co. on Tap

The buzz about Open Outcry is reaching a fever pitch, and owner John Brand is anxious to open its doors. Brand always wanted his own business and decided Beverly/Morgan Park was the place. “I think this is an amazing neighborhood and I don’t think there’s too many places that are still like this with our sense of community and pride,” Brand said. “The support and encouragement I’ve gotten has been pretty humbling, and I saw a good investment opportunity too. If I invest all this money, it’d better be in the neighborhood where I live and raise my children.”

Before moving here, Brand and his family lived downtown. They missed being able to load up their kids in the stroller and walk to eating options. Open Outcry will be a family-friendly destination. “I really wanted a place where it seemed socially acceptable to bring kids; our chef is even creating a kid’s menu,” he said.

Brand is also teaming up with other local businesses to offer workout classes (with Beverly Barre), terrarium building (with The Geranium Guild), a book club (with Bookie’s and the Beverly Arts Center), and a running club end point (with Running Excels).

“Small, locally owned businesses add to the vibrancy and viability of any neighborhood,” Brand said. “You have folks investing in their community and we try very hard to understand what the community is asking for and then deliver it to them. There’s no way a big box or chain is able to deliver on that.”

Tranquility Salon Co. Infuses Creativity into Walden Parkway

As the anchor of Walden Parkway, Tranquility Salon Co. has continuously contributed to the unique atmosphere found in the picturesque area. Meg’n Barba and Katie Schickel are co-owners of the salon.

“The two factors that we owe our continual success to are reinvesting and reinventing,” Barba said. “The salon is a platform for us to understand what people want to see in our neighborhood. Walden Parkway is a really cool nook, a hidden gem.”

When The Blossom Boys closed their business, Barba and Schickel were immediately interested in what would go into the space, ultimately deciding to take it on as an extension of their salon. “If you don’t keep evolving with what’s new and what people see going on in other places, people won’t stay here,” Barba said. “Our investment is seeing to it that the potential [of our block] becomes a reality. We want this block to evolve and cater to the neighborhood and bring things that people want and will use.”

Barba intends for the shop to be an open ended creative space. So far, Tranquility has hosted two music events under their Beverly Music Initiative’s Backyard Project. “We wanted to get the ball rolling to shine a light on great musicians — both local and beyond — and bring it right to our neighborhood. It’s the perfect setting to bring people together in a common place that is not a bar,” Barba said. “We wanted to provide a space for the neighborhood to have good music and try to raise money to turn our backyard into a sustainable venue.”

Barba is set on making Tranquility about more than just hair. “It’s not just a salon to us, we want to create greater ways to bring people together in our space. You don’t necessarily need to come here as a client, but you can still be a part of it,” she said.

Details are pending, but Tranquility plans to host the High Point Festival as part of a community-wide bike ride on July 29. The party will include a live concert in the backyard.

99th and Walden has undergone a lot of changes. B-Sides Coffee + Tea will open in August at 9907 S. Walden. Sweet Freaks, another Walden Parkway staple, moved to 9927 S. Wood St. to expand their offerings and produce all of their goods on site. Replacing Sweet Freaks on Walden is Capsule, a clothing store expected to open in September.

 

 

Generations of Making History With BAPA

By Maureen Gainer Reilly

A few months back I became the BAPA Board President, carrying on a bit of a family tradition. My dad, Bill Gainer, was BAPA President back in the 1980s.

It may seem unique, but it’s really such a typical Beverly/Morgan Park story of seeing generations of families engaged in and committed to the neighborhood. They raise children who grow up, move away and then return when it’s time to raise their own families.

The Beverly/Moran Park I am enjoying with my children is even better than the one I grew up in. That is in large part due to the dedication of people like my parents.  My mom was forever stretching out the kitchen phone cord as she simultaneously cooked dinner, planned the Snowflake Ball, chaired the Home Tour or followed up on whatever event she was running.  Being a nurse at Little Company and having 6 kids wasn’t enough to keep her busy?

My dad was eternally dragging us to a community meeting (or wake), and was involved with BAPA for years when he worked at AT&T.  The investments made by my parents and countless others like them can be seen in the stable, safe, healthy and diverse neighborhood we see today.  I am grateful they made Beverly/Morgan Park such an attractive destination! Today, we see a wave of new people with no family connection to the area buying houses. These new neighbors have brought an energy and vibrancy to our local retail, culture and entertainment.  I mean, have you been to The Frunchroom or the Beverly Art Walk? Add these events to the Southside Irish Parade, Ridge Run, Home Tour, Breast Cancer Walk, Bikes & Brews and many other events and you have a neighborhood unmatched by any in the City or suburbs.

I joined the BAPA Board because it’s time for my generation to step up and invest the same time and energy as my parents did so that one day our children will be drawn back here to buy a house and raise a family.

The issues the neighborhood faces today are different than the ones my dad and BAPA faced in the 1980s and 90s, but the volunteer needs are the same.  A new generation of volunteers fortifies BAPA, but also ensures that this venerable community organization continues to respond to the ever-changing needs of our neighborhood and our neighbors.

Volunteering is also a way to connect and strengthen the area through the relationships forged through BAPA, school, church and community organizations. One downside of an incredibly tight knit community like ours is that newcomers can feel isolated or unwelcome. BAPA can be the bridge to connect new and old residents so that everyone is at the table and has access to all the amenities.

The perfect first step in engagement is joining your Civic Association.  What is a Civic Association? Think of it as the group of your immediate neighbors who come together to take care of your few square blocks and watch out for each other. These small groups feed into BAPA which, as the umbrella organization, supports, promotes and strengthens the entire neighborhood. Active civic associations have been part of our community’s success since the late 1960s. When the Civic Associations are strong, BAPA is strong. Please consider joining your association.  Call the BAPA office at 773-233-3100 to get connected.

With everything there is to see and do in our community — and with so many opportunities to get involved — I look forward to meeting you soon!

Village Viewpoint – June 2017

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Today, I am filled with gratitude! Together we experienced another great set of events for our community!! Thank you to all those who participated and volunteered to make the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Home Tour and the Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade huge successes.

These events bring over 5,000 people together in our community and would not be possible without the 300 volunteers who step up each year to help. More than ever we count on volunteers to support the BAPA staff and make these events special. Every May I am humbled by the thousands of participants and volunteers who connect with our community through BAPA. It is truly inspiring! THANK YOU!

The Beverly Area Planning Association’s mission is “to sustain and enhance Beverly/Morgan Park as a safe, culturally diverse Village in the City with increasing home values, high quality schools, thriving commercial areas and a low crime rate.” But more than that, our mission is to highlight the neighborhood to potential investors, attract new neighbors and continue the tradition of excellence this neighborhood as long enjoyed. To me, year after year the events presented in May and throughout the summer complete this mission.

In addition to volunteers these events would not be possible without our generous sponsors who love this community as we do. Please take time to support those businesses that support our community and the Beverly Area Planning Association.

Looking forward to June and the summer is very exciting as well! As the weather warms we will see the parks and libraries fill up with kids for summer programs and, hopefully, take time to enjoy our community. Each Thursday in June beginning June 8, meet us at the 103rd Street Metra for free Family Fun Nights. There will be food, entertainment and lots of fun for the family! Also mark your calendars for Bikes and Brews, the 15th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Fri., July 14 at 107th and Longwood. Most of all have a safe and happy kick off to summer! I look forward to seeing everyone!

All the best,

Margot

Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes & Brews

Join us on Fri., July 14 when the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) presents the 15th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes and Brews. The start/finish and festival grounds are centered at Beacon Therapeutic Center, 107th and Longwood Drive, with the race course running in a one-mile loop between 105th Place and 108th Place, Longwood Drive to Hoyne and Seeley avenues.

On the schedule of the Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup, the local event features four exciting pro/am races sure to provide plenty of action for spectators all around the race course.

The Bikes and Brews festival opens at 4 p.m. and features craft beers from Lagunitas and other favorite breweries.  The expanded Kids Zone includes a game truck, bike activities from the Pedalpushers and more. Food trucks include the Roost Carolina Kitchen serving friend chicken and homestyle fixings. Live music starts at 8 p.m.

The Racing

Founded in 2012 as the Prairie State Cycling Series, the Intelligentsia Cup brings competitive bicycle racing to the Chicago metro area, featuring top-level professional and elite amateur athletes. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic is day one of the nine-day series. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic will host a Masters’ race, women’s race and two men’s races.

Area residents are invited to ride their bikes to the event and join the fun for a ½ mile family ride on the race course. All riders must wear helmets! Free bike valet will be provided at the festival site.

The Bike Raffle

Tickets to BAPA’s Bike Raffle are now on sale. Don’t miss your chance to win a brand new bike donated by Beverly Bike and Ski.

The Sponsors

Beverly Bike-Vee Pak Racing Team returns as presenting sponsor. Underwritten by Beverly Bike and Ski and Vee Pak Manufacturing, the racing team is composed of several amateur riders who compete in races throughout the area.

Also sponsoring the event are Mike Haggery Buick – GMC – Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Smith Village, AT&T, Beverly Bike and Ski, The Beverly Review,

BAPA hosts the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic as a community-building summer event, the suggested donation for admission to the Bikes & Brews festival area is $5 and supports BAPA’s community-based programs.

For more information or to volunteer to help with Bikes and Brews, call 773-233-3100 or email bapa@bapa.org.

Free Family Fun Nights Start June 8

Make a date with your kids for Family Fun Nights, Thursdays, June 8, 15. 22 and 29, 5:30 to 7p.m., across from the Metra Station adjacent to the Beverly Bank parking lot, 1908 W. 103rd St.

Every week a different theme will be celebrated with special guests, activities, music, fun and food. Little Company of Mary Hospital will be handing out giveaways to the kids and doctors will be available to talk about family health.

On June 8, Miss Jamie’s Farm will hold a Rootin’ Tootin’ Hoedown with songs and activities sure to appeal to all her barnyard buddies. Jamie performs at parties around Chicagoland, and is a favorite among kids and their parents.

The DJ John from Beverly Records will be playing the tunes for a Dance Party on June 15.

The June 22 event features No Business Like Show Business, a performance by the Storybox Improv Theater. Actors will create a story from an audience suggestion in this imaginative and fully improvised show.

On June 29, families will join in the official Summer Kick-Off Party! Music and lots of fun activities are in store as we celebrate everyone’s favorite time of year.

Each week Pedalheads will be offering tips on bike safety and more, and Calabria Imports will be selling food and beverages. Bring your chairs and blankets, and get ready for a good time!

Family Fun Nights are co-sponsored by the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA), Little Company of Mary Hospital, University of Chicago Medicine/Comer Children’s Hospital, Beverly Bank and Trust, 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Calabria Imports, People’s Gas and Mike Haggerty Buick-GMC-Volkswagen.

Family Fun Nights will be presented as planned, weather permitting.