This column describes how BAPA is fulfilling its mission of offering programs, services, and events in the Beverly and Morgan Park neighborhoods.

Village Viewpoint -May 2018

By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director

I held up traffic on Longwood Drive the other day. I was leaning out my passenger window at a stoplight to photograph the waves of purple Scilla that sweeping up the lawns of some of Beverly/Morgan Park’s most beautiful homes. Every spring it’s as if nature reaches out and says, “Look over here!” and our eyes follow the purple train of flowers up to the houses, and suddenly we are aware of the unique splendor that is hard to find any place else.  All this, within the city limits of a world class city.

May brings with it BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour and memories of the first time I wandered through someone’s home on the tour over 20 years ago.  I felt a bit funny in my role as a voyeur.  I committed as much of the splendid design and decorating as I could to my memory so I could take these ideas home and try them in my own spaces.

This year as I toured potential Home Tour homes I was swept up with gratitude to the homeowners for the impact they make on our community by sharing their personal space for this popular event.  It makes me proud of my choice to settle in a community that sees this kind of hospitality as a priority. It’s yet another reminder of how closely connected we are in Beverly/Morgan Park, of how much we care about our neighbors simply because we live alongside them.

Until I joined the team at BAPA, I didn’t realize how much effort it takes to encourage, protect and preserve the historical beauty of our community. I have always known that BAPA makes housing preservation a priority and that will continue. The results of preservation are everywhere, most eloquently in the homes that young families are updating, taking so much care to keep the details and history that made them – like me – choose this community to call home.

Modern reality has brought home buying online, a major change in the way people make choices of where to call home.  What hasn’t changed is what we see block to block:  a foundation of remarkable homes, a neighborhood with good bones full of residents who are committed to keeping it that way.

 

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.

Village Viewpoint – March 2018

By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director

I fell in love with Beverly/Morgan Park nearly 30 years ago when I started to look for my first home. I was hooked when I first visited with a college friend. As my husband and I explored the Chicagoland area, the people, the culture, the architecture I had found here pulled me in. That was what I saw from the outside! Once we moved in, I quickly learned just how much heart and soul surrounded me.

As a newcomer to the neighborhood, my career in business development (a fancy word for sales) kept me downtown or on a plane most of the week until it was time to start my family. Three children came along and suddenly my appreciation for what Beverly/Morgan Park had to offer grew by leaps and bounds.

I grew up downstate and attended public school in the suburbs, making me a “transplant” with fresh eyes to what surrounded me. Right away, I joined everything I could.  I started volunteering at the kids’ school, church, BAPA, the park district and with charities that I had a passion for.

The community welcomed me with open arms while I learned the tough lesson of where, when and how much I could contribute with only 24 hours in a day to give.

Through this early journey my appreciation grew enormously for just how special the bond is that creates this unique community. Later, when I returned to work in non-profit development (a fancy word for fundraising), I was lucky to land at the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, with a branch home almost in my own backyard. As I dug into the vast networks I needed to tap to get the job done for Mercy Home, I found myself comparing the neighborhoods that make up our city to my own. Once again, I became certain that Beverly/Morgan Park is one of Chicago’s best kept secrets.

As BAPA builds on a successful 70 year record of looking out for the neighbors, businesses and friends that make up Beverly/Morgan Park, I am prepared to bring everything I have to contributing in a meaningful way to meeting the challenges that face our community and sustaining the success that was built long before I moved in and makes this neighborhood so unique.

I am truly grateful for BAPA’s faith in me, and for the opportunity to dig in and contribute to this unique and valuable culture. I simply could not be more excited! It is a tremendous gift to be able work alongside such a talented and dedicated team of staff and volunteers who bring both hard and soft skills to serve all the residents of our community.

Once again, I find myself wishing for more than 24 hours in a day!

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,

Margot

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

 

 

 

Village Viewpoint, September 2017

By Margot Holland

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

What beautiful August weather we have enjoyed! As neighbors come back from vacations and kids start back to school you can feel the energy building in the neighborhood! It has been quite a summer for many of us. So many things going on everywhere, it seems like one of the busiest summers ever in the neighborhood with concerts, softball, summer camps and all kinds of fun for everyone!

As BAPA’s board and staff prepares for fall and winter programming, we continue to reach out to all the neighborhood small business owners, homeowner and civic associations, parishes, Local School Councils and parent organizations, and business association,  we are always humbled by the commitment of neighbors to the health and beauty of our community.

From my perspective, it seems as though we have seen tremendous growth in our commercial districts and we will work to support continued progress. To that end, we have coordinated with local women owned businesses to host a girls’ night out on Sept. 14 to Sip and Shop along the 99th and 103rd Street commercial corridors. It is sure to be lots of fun, so grab your friends and grown up daughters, and come on out to support the local economy!

This fall we continue our work in beautification by partnering with Openlands, a fellow Chicago non-profit, to plant 28 trees in residential parkways. This is always a great day full of camaraderie and accomplishment. If you are interested in volunteering or organizing a tree planting on your block, give us a call at BAPA, 773-233-3100.  However, the true heroes of our beautification efforts are the volunteers who gather every week for “Weeding Wednesday.” These folks, led by BAPA’s own Mary Jo Viero, pick a spot in the neighborhood each week, often a Metra station, and work hard to clean up and weed the area. THANK YOU to this amazing group!

Beginning in October, BAPA will be hosting a six-week Tech Tuesday program geared towards seniors in our Community Room.  The class will be held once a week, and people can explore how to use their phone, access apps, photos and much more. It is free to BAPA members. There will be more information to follow. We look forward to bringing more and more programming to our community and our members.

We are thankful for those who support BAPA’s mission through membership, and encourage anyone interested in becoming a BAPA member to contact us or check out our website at www.bapa.org. We look forward to a great month of September!

All the best, Margot

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

Village Viewpoint

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Happy Spring! As we welcome spring, we remember that this is a great time in our community! As our neighborhood trees and gardens come back to life, a new baseball season begins and graduation draws near for our students.

Here at BAPA spring is our most exciting time of year, packed with our biggest community events — the 46th edition of the Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour and 40th annual Ridge Run and Memorial Day parade. These events have been bedrocks of our community for more than a generation, and they keep getting better!

We are a community that takes great pride in our homes and the Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour on May 21st, gives us a lot to be proud about! The tour celebrates all the beautiful homes in our community, and this year will feature two of our neighborhood’s Frank Lloyd Wright homes as well as a tiny house built by the students at the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, along with three other area homes that are each special in their own way and historic Ridge Park, where the tour begins.

We are so thankful to the committee of volunteers that plans this popular event and to the generous homeowners who open and share their homes with us. A special highlight is that there will be experiences at each home to enjoy, from mini golf to mead tastings and docents who specialize in Frank Lloyd Wright. Do not miss this event!

Those of you who know me, know I am runner and love to run in different races supporting different causes. The Ridge Run has long been my favorite race!  I remember being engaged to my now husband and feeling so much pride to bring him out to experience the Ridge Run and the community where I grew up. Now, our family is up and ready to go to Ridge Park and compete in different races — from the 10K and 5K to the youth mile, the Hollands will be there and soaking up the community and competition! This event is a must even if you are not a runner! You can volunteer on the course or in the park. Runners and walkers certainly don’t want to miss this awesome event — we have a 40th annual Ridge Run commemorative finisher medal, post-race festival for the whole family, and lots more! Sign your team up today at www.bapa.org

I am so thankful for the support of the Ridge Run committee but especially our presenting sponsor, Little Company of Mary Hospital.  Each year they come through with support from their amazing staff of doctors and nurses to ensure a safe run for all to enjoy, however more than that they are a pillar in this community providing health care to our residents 365 days a year! Thank you Little Company of Mary for your support of BAPA, the Ridge Run and all of Beverly Hills Morgan Park!

Don’t miss out on the fun and please join us for these great community events!  For more information on tickets and registration please check out our website, bapa.org or call my office at 773-233-3100.

— Margot Holland, BAPA Executive Director

Village Viewpoint by Margot Holland

Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Spring is here! This spring we are focusing on turning small acts into big change for our neighborhood. Every day we take phone calls and listen to our neighbors’ concerns, helping them to trouble shoot both big and small challenges they face. We supply referrals for home improvement and work with current property and business owners brainstorming ideas to improve our commercial strips.

The small act of cleaning house can create big changes in our neighborhood through beautification. Beginning Apr. 3 neighbors can drop off any old or unused household items in good condition to help us raise money to support BAPA beautification efforts. This “fund”drive will specifically help us tackle the re-landscaping of the cul-de-sacs in West and North Beverly. You can help us by donating your gently used toys, clothes, books and much more. We get 20 cents per pound – so the more stuff we collect, the more beautification! Drop off all your unwanted items at BAPA offices, 1987 W. 111th St. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Apr., 28, or drive over on Sat., April 29, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., when we will have a drop off collection in our parking lot. Please call the office at 773-233-3100 with any questions.

Neighbors will also have an opportunity take part in the community clean and greens on Earth Day, Sat., Apr. 22. We are looking for volunteers to help us clean up our public spaces.

BAPA is committed to making Earth Month a success by spring cleaning our houses and public areas and getting ready for the summer months of fun.

A special thank you to all our members who make it possible for BAPA to continue our work in the neighborhood. Without membership support, BAPA would not be celebrating our 70th anniversary.
All the best,

Margot