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

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

Village Viewpoint: Celebrating Irish Heritage and BAPA’s 70th Anniversary

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Wow, time is flying by! It is already March, a very special time in our neighborhood when we celebrate the Irish heritage of so many who have lived in this area for generations – but you don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in this neighborhood! The South Side Irish Parade Committee has put together another great parade for every neighbor to enjoy on Sunday March 12 along Western Ave.

For 70 years the Beverly Area Planning Association has been organizing community around economic development, housing, safety and schools and today is no different. Community organizing is all about building grassroots support. It’s about identifying the people around you with whom you can create a common, passionate cause. That is why we spend so much time and energy supporting our civic associations and recently park advisory councils.

In recent weeks neighbors who frequent Kennedy Park and Ridge Park have formed advisory councils. The members of these councils are advocates for the community and work with park staff to ensure quality programming for our community as well as apply for grants to support facilities. These groups are volunteer their time to make all of our experience at these public spaces even better. Kennedy Park recently launched a Go Fund Me page to purchase new chairs for the pool deck and Ridge Park is hosting a painting party to continue to highlight it as not only a gymnasium but also a cultural center – home to the Vanderpoel Art Collection.

We are so lucky to have an engaged community willing to put it he time and effort it takes to make sure our community is beautiful for another 70 years.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day,

Margot

Village Viewpoint: Working Together for a Great Community

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Well, I was hopeful that after the contentious presidential election my Facebook newsfeed would go back to focusing on cute pictures of kids and fuzzy animals and that the traditionally cold weather would compel crime to let up, allowing the Chicago Police Department time to regroup and address the growing crime rate on the south and west sides of our City. No such luck.

I, like you, have been especially concerned about incidents that took place in our neighborhood from shots fired on New Year’s Day to hateful graffiti found on residential and church property. These crimes are unacceptable. We at BAPA condemn these acts of violence and hatred that happened in our neighborhood. We are proud to be part of an integrated, family-oriented community, and we believe that we can find a way to come together as a community and curtail this unacceptable behavior.

Over the last several weeks, members of the BAPA staff and Board of Directors, civic leaders, the alderman’s office and the 22nd District Police have been discussing the safety of our community and how, in the current climate in Chicago, Beverly/Morgan Park can remain safe.  WARNING: It requires your participation!

We need you to engage in keeping our community strong and safe by doing these simple things: don’t be a bystander and don’t be afraid to call the police – they are ready and willing to be here on our streets protecting us!

BAPA has been working with you – our community — to preserve and improve the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood for more than 70 years. 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.

Thank you for all you do to support BAPA and our neighborhood!

All the best,

Margot

Village Viewpoint

Happy New Year everyone, I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday season!  A fresh new year is upon us. It’s the time to be thankful for the blessings of the past year and to take stock of all our achievements. 2017 is a brand new year to start afresh and to start strong.

The BAPA staff and board are ready to continue to empower our “back to basics” approach of working for our residents and businesses every day. I look back on our accomplishments in 2016 with great pride – and you should, too. BAPA can only do its work because of supporters like you. Here are some of the highlights of our work this year:

Established the Parent Mentor Program, bringing trained volunteers into classrooms at Barnard School.

Opened the BAPA Business Center, providing office resources and mentoring opportunities to small businesses.

Launched the Ridge Run 5K training program at local schools, engaging hundreds of families in the benefits of clean eating, regular exercise and team work.

Launched the BAPA Card, providing discounts and specials from BAPA business members to all neighbors who support BAPA with membership donations.

Gave away 400 rain barrels through the Chicago Water Reclamation District

Announced “makeover” plans for the Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour, and more exciting changes for the Ridge Run, including a new finish line and post-race festival. We broke recent attendance records for the Home Tour, Ridge Run and Beverly/Morgan Park Memorial Day Parade.

Created neighborhood-wide beautification efforts including Weeding Wednesdays and re-landscaping the 103rd and 107th Street hills.

Launched the Love Where You Live campaign.

Established the Ridge Park Advisory Council, which stepped right up to provide improvements such as painting and to testify at the Chicago Park District budget hearing for much-needed repairs to the field house.

Partnered with Little Company of Mary Hospital and Beverly Bank to present free Family Fun nights.

Rocked the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic by reimagining it as the Bikes and Brews festival of craft beers, food trucks and family fun.

Were awarded a $10,000 matching grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust.

Launched new user-friendly www.bapa.org.

Finalized the fall Openlands tree planting grant, replacing 50+ trees on neighborhood parkways.

Co-sponsored the Shop 19 and Earn Neighborhood Rewards program, a month-long campaign promoting local shopping.

As we end 2016 celebrating with family and friends, we look forward to ringing in 2017 and the 70th anniversary of BAPA. We are grateful for your past support and rely on your input and ideas as we continue our important work, responding to the ever-changing needs of our amazing neighborhood.

All the Best,

Margot

 

Village Viewpoint

Dear Neighbors,

Happy Holidays! I want to start by saying thank you to all our board, staff, committees and BAPA members for all their efforts throughout the year. I know there are many demands on your resources, and I am grateful for your investment in our organization.

This is an awesome edition of The Villager — jammed with holiday fun for all ages!! Whether you are looking for a holiday concert, to pick up Christmas tree or schedule a visit with Santa, you don’t have to go too far!

The holidays are such a busy time of year, filled with family and friends but, most of all, a time when our community shines. Every day as I meet with different stakeholders and volunteers I am reminded of what a special place Beverly/ Morgan Park is to live and raise a family. And, while as the City of Chicago and, indeed, as a nation we are facing many critical issues from safety to economic prosperity, we, as a community, continue to grow and thrive. To me that is the best Christmas present one could ask for!

We are thankful for the investment from the community and the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust which awarded us a matching grant. That funding will allow BAPA to dedicate more programing in the important areas of education and safety — areas that have long been cornerstones of BAPA’s work in our community. We continue to empower our” back to basics” approach, guiding the staff and board to fulfill our mission to the residents and businesses every day!  We believe that today, BAPA membership is more meaningful than ever. With the BAPA Card, our members have incentives to shop local every day! (If you haven’t already made your 2016 BAPA membership donation, we hope you will! A membership envelope is inserted in this issue of The Villager.)

As we look forward to ringing in 2017 and the 70th anniversary of BAPA, we are grateful for support and wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season.

All the best,

Margot

Village Viewpoint

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

What a beautiful fall we have enjoyed! Warm weather and leaves STILL changing, it has been a perfect weather for soccer, football, pumpkin carving and all the other traditions that come with the fall season! I am often reminded of what a special neighborhood we have built here, but November is a time to be grateful for all the beauty and community that surrounds us! Thank you to all the neighbors and volunteers who contribute so much to make our Beverly/Morgan Park what it is today!

And there is lots to be thankful for over here at BAPA! With the support of our growing membership and continued partnership with neighborhood stakeholders, we are able to be the catalyst of change that our mission calls on us to be! It is exciting to be doing so much good work. All across the board we are fulfilling our mission! To foster investment in economic development, we hosted a wildly successful tour for commercial developers at the end of October. We welcomed 35 brokers, developers and retailers on a guided tour of our community, followed by a reception with community leaders and businesspersons. BAPA’s new education committee is off and running, and they will host an open community meeting Wed., Nov. 9, 7 p.m., I the BAPA Community Room. If you are interested in quality schools, please join us!

The success of our events provides BAPA with funds needed to complete community projects. Proceeds from Bikes and Brews funded new landscaping for the parkway on the north side of the 107th Street hill. Partnering with us on the project were the 19th Ward and Beacon Therapeutic Center. The hill looks BEAUTIFUL! Nothing makes working with this organization more fulfilling than the chance to make an impact right here where we live.  Every day we are seeing the positive impact that BAPA is having on Beverly/Morgan Park community – and for that we are SO THANKFUL!

The BAPA board and staff so appreciate the outpouring of support we received over the last few months in response to the Richard H. Driehaus Charitable Lead Trust $10,000 matching grant! We are thankful for the diverse and supportive membership committee who stepped up to help strengthen BAPA’s important role in the community.  Donations have exceeded the match and we thrilled about all the work we will be able to accomplish through this opportunity. THANK YOU!

As my grandmother would say, “There is no grass growing under our feet. “  In addition to all our work out in the community, the BAPA staff has been hard at work planning all kinds of fun for the coming weeks: MORE tree plantings through Openlands, our 2nd annual Tap Into BAPA pub crawl on Nov. 12 and our first annual Holliday Cookie Crawl on Dec. 3. Please look for details in this issue of The Villager! We are thankful for all support from the bar owners on Western for Tap into BAPA and to the local bakers and businesses participating in the Cookie Crawl – both events are sure to be lots of FUN!

All the Best,

Margot