BAPA residential member profiles

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.

BAPA Member Profile: Eva Kelly

By Kristin Boza

Eva Kelly, a long-time North Beverly resident, has made a point to support BAPA with an annual membership donation for the last 39 years — since 1978!

Kelly, and her late husband, purchased their home in 1970. “At that time, the racial mix of the area began to change. BAPA had taken the lead in trying to avoid the panic peddling that devastated other areas,” she said. “The issues of housing, education and safety were the core concerns of BAPA, and we felt a responsibility as residents to support it — and our local neighborhood organization, the Beverly Improvement Association.”

As the years went by, Kelly noticed that BAPA’s scope expanded to include numerous special events. “We looked forward to each issue of The Villager, reading it through to keep abreast of what was happening across the area,” she said.

Now that the Kelly children have grown and moved out, and Mr. Kelly has passed away, Eva is the oldest on her block and the second-longest resident. “I believe we made a wise choice in moving to Beverly. Our children learned to love the city, to take advantage of what it offered, and to experience a wider mix of people,” she said.

Backyard Oasis in Morgan Park

By Kristin Boza

Daphne and Martin bought their Morgan Park home in 2011. At the time, the home had one evergreen bush in the front yard, and some grass and a basketball court in the back. Now, thanks to Daphne’s planning and dedication, the yard is a blooming oasis of flowers and plants where the family enjoys spending quality time surrounded by nature.

Daphne was pleased with the home’s simple yard when they moved in, for it gave her an utterly blank canvas to design the landscape as she wanted.

“My dad, who passed away in 2002, was my inspiration for the yard,” Daphne said. “He was a gardener and he had a beautiful yard and vegetable garden. I was not into gardening at the time and I couldn’t understand why he would plant so many flowers.” But Daphne herself caught the gardening bug when her father encouraged her to design an island for her yard in a previous home. “After everything [in the first home] started growing, it was beautiful and I was hooked from that point on,” she said. “I know he is smiling down at me and very pleased.”

Daphne and Martin’s yard is filled with a wide variety of trees, flowers, grasses, ground cover and annuals in addition to a large garage built on the former basketball court. Daphne spends 15 to 20 hours a week maintaining the space, which includes about an hour and a half of watering each day. “I do take my time when I water, pulling up weeds and snipping this and that as I go,” she said. “It takes a while, but if it’s something you enjoy, you don’t mind the work.”

Her best advice for up-and-coming gardeners is to walk around and visit local gardens and nurseries, talking and asking questions along the way. “Definitely visit local nurseries for advice and not the big box stores,” Daphne said. “Most employees at big box stores don’t have the training that the people in the nurseries do. Also, subscribe to free gardening publications, as you can get a lot of education and ideas from them.” And don’t worry if some plants don’t make it, as it’s bound to happen. “I’m very DIY, and it’s all about trial and error,” she said.

Daphne also finds ideas from Pinterest and Houzz.com, a home design website. “I love coming home and sitting in my backyard enjoying my plants. I find it very relaxing after a long day at work,” Daphne said. “This is a complete transformation from where it started and I’m very happy with the results. I did not plan the way the yard turned out, I just buy the plants and plant them. I often purchase plants and have no idea where they are going; when you get to this point, you know you are a gardener and you’re addicted!”

Home Cooking: Le Beverly Bistro’s Urban Farming Tips

By Kristin Boza

Tim Sullivan and his family moved to Beverly/Morgan Park 13 years ago, bringing his north side tradition of decadent dinner parties to the south side. Over the last decade, Sullivan took his love of cooking to the next level and created an urban farm in his own backyard, yielding enough tomatoes to feed his family a steady diet of fresh tomato sauce all winter long.

Inspired by legendary Chicago chef and restaurateur Rick Bayless, Sullivan’s backyard “farm” supports his “out-of-control crazy cooking hobby,” he said. Out of this hobby, and his wife’s photography skills, Sullivan started an Instagram page at the urging of his daughters. Now, Le Beverly Bistro has nearly 800 followers salivating over the delectable dishes he prepares.

Fourteen years ago, Sullivan came across a tomato sauce recipe in Food & Wine magazine from famed Italian chef Marcella Hazan. Ever since, Sullivan makes batch upon batch of the sauce at the end of each farming season. He freezes the sauce and uses it all winter long.

“I have about 40 heirloom tomato plants and the first tomatoes start to come in around the end of July. For two months at the end of the summer, my oven is on and I’m roasting tomatoes to make Rick Bayless’ salsa and Marcella Hazan’s sauce,” he said. “It all goes into the freezer and is used to prepare all of our meals from scratch — in fact, our kids have never had a canned tomato in their lives.”

Despite not having any formal cooking training, Sullivan loves to indulge in his hobby to create a Top Chef style restaurant experience for his family and friends right in the comfort of his home.

“I can cook with my eyes closed; I love getting up on the cliff and pulling off an amazing chef dinner on a weeknight,” he said. “I also work on a continual cycle of cooking, composting and creating my own 500 pounds of organic fertilizer each year.”

The long-term goal for Sullivan is to open a farmhouse restaurant in Traverse City, “but for now I’m having a lot of fun on Instagram and urban farming,” Sullivan said.

Marcella Hazan’s Tomato Sauce

2 1/4 lbs ripe tomatoes
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 400. Halve the tomatoes crosswise and arrange them cut-side up in a glass or ceramic baking dish in which they fit snugly. Sprinkle the parsley and garlic evenly over the tomatoes and season them with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4 cup of the olive oil all over the tomatoes and bake them on the top rack of the oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until they are very tender, shrunken slightly and browned at the edges. Let the tomatoes cool slightly.

Lift the tomatoes with a fork, letting them drain well, and transfer them to a food mill (Editor’s Note: Sullivan uses a food processor). Puree the tomatoes into a bowl.

Beverly Improvement Association Celebrates 100 Years

By Kristin Boza

It’s always interesting to think about who lived in our neighborhood as it was established so many years ago. The Beverly Improvement Association, a civic association serving North Beverly residents, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, a milestone that goes to show the unique commitment that residents have to the community.

According to a 100th anniversary pamphlet compiled by the BIA, North Beverly has come a long way since 1917. Back then, traffic on 95th Street moved a lot slower on the two-lane gravel country road. Sidewalks were made of five-foot square slabs of smooth stone — some of which still exists on the southwest corner of 94th and Vanderpoel. Street lamps were lit each night with a blow torch by a man on a bicycle. And snow was removed by a man with a team of horses and a v-shaped plow.

Nearly half of the lots between Damen (known then as Robey Street) and Charles were vacant, which caused some concern among the neighbors of 100 years ago. The BIA was organized by people who realized that they needed to come together to take action to improve their community, according to the BIA brochure.

These days, roads are paved, electricity is plentiful and horses are a hobby — but the feeling of community and the desire to continually improve it has remained the same.

“BIA has been a leader amongst local community service organizations in the Beverly/Morgan Park area,” said Joe Kratzer, current BIA president. “BIA will continue its long history of promoting and hosting family-friendly events, which offer neighbors the chance to meet new faces and enjoy the many great community assets in North Beverly. We live in a community where people care about their neighbors, and BIA will be here to ensure that spirit of community is maintained.”

BIA celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 29, the date when the secretary of state issued the charter officially recognizing the organization. While no official 100th anniversary celebration is planned, the BIA is busy with their much-anticipated events, including the Bicycle Treasure Hunt, BIA Fall Fest, BIA Family Bike Ride, cross-country ski outings in the Dan Ryan Woods, and Santa’s Workshop.

BIA members also actively participate in the City of Chicago’s Clean and Green days and other beautification efforts, and help on projects that support North Beverly and the rest of the neighborhood.

To find out more about the BIA, visit their Facebook page: Beverly Improvement Association (BIA).

Friends of the Major Taylor Trail Advocate for Bike Path

By Grace Kuikman

Anne Alt, President of the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail, is passionate about biking and about preserving the ridability of the bike and pedestrian trail that starts in the Dan Ryan Woods and runs to the Whistler Woods in Riverdale.

Alt has been part of the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail since she moved into Beverly/Morgan Park eleven years ago. Although they participate in rides, the group focuses on advocating for and helping to tend the trail. The Friends are volunteers who participate in organized as well as impromptu workdays that include trimming tree branches and invasive plants that obstruct the trail, picking up trash, and other maintenance tasks. “It’s physical work,” Alt said.

The Major Taylor Trail runs about seven miles along an old rail line. A portion of the trail is maintained by the Chicago Park District. Members of the Friends stay abreast of issues that affect the Trail, and contact government and park officials when advocacy is needed.

The group is open to anyone interested in helping out and participating in rides and/or workdays. New members are welcome, and help is always needed.

Like most of the Friends of the Major Taylor Trail, Alt really enjoys the varied aspects of the trail that range from wooded to urban areas, and offer some unique glimpses into nature. “You never know what you’re going to see,” Alt said. Inspired by the abundance of birds she sees when riding, Alt is interested in working with a bird enthusiast to develop a bird watching ride along the Trail. She also open to ideas for special rides. “People are welcome to make suggestions, and if they have expertise, that’s cool, too,” she said. “There are so many possibilities.”

The Friends of the Major Taylor Trail meet every other month at the Ridge Park Fieldhouse, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The next meeting is Mon., Sept. 18, 7 p.m., and meetings are open to all interested neighbors.

The Friends participate in rides, some of them with the Major Taylor Cycling Club of Chicago. They invite area riders to join them on the Major Taylor Victory Ride on Sat., Aug. 19. The ride will cover about 50 miles, starting at the trail head in the Dan Ryan Woods and traveling to Major Taylor’s gravesite in Glenwood.

Marshall “Major” Taylor was a professional bicycle racer who set many world records in track riding and sprints. In 1899, at the world championships in Montreal, Canada, Taylor won the one-mile sprint, to become the first African American to win a world championship in cycling. Born in 1878, Taylor started his amateur cycling career while still a teen in his home town of Indianapolis, and went on to compete in the U.S., Europe and Australia, winning many races. He faced and challenged racial prejudice throughout his career. He died in Chicago in 1932, and in 1989 was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

Anyone interested in learning more about Friends of the Major Taylor Trail or the bike ride can email maj.taylor.trail@gmail.com or search Friends of the Major Taylor Trail on Facebook.

The Importance of Celebrating LGBTQ Pride

By Bonn Wade

With more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people living openly over the last decade, one might think that Pride is outdated and no longer necessary. Yet, a brief Google search reveals a different reality. Gay and lesbian young people are more likely to engage in self injury, bisexual young people face increased stigma within both the heterosexual and LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) communities, and targeted violence towards transgender people remains high.

In June, Pride month celebrated LGBTQ identities through community events, allowing people to be out and proud of who they are. We need spaces where we, as LGBTQ people, can feel safe and see others like us that show us the depth and breadth of our community.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), LGBTQ people are three times more likely than others to experience major depression and anxiety. A fear of coming out, family rejection, limited education/employment opportunities because of discrimination, and even physical violence may lead LGBTQ individuals to remain quiet about their sexual orientation and gender identity. For these reasons and many more, our local community needs to be a part of the larger conversation and implement actions working towards increasingly just and accepting Beverly/Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood neighborhoods.

Recently, local LGBTQ-affirming activities have taken place, Beverly Area Connect, Protect, and Activate held a community event, “Gender Identity: A conversation about transgender and gender non-conforming people.” The Beverly Art Center has showcased Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus for numerous shows.  Two local organizations provide space for LGBTQ youth. Beverly Therapists hosts GROW/Gendernauts formerly two local groups that are merging into one monthly meet up where LGBTQ and gender exploring high school-aged teens find a space to talk, connect and build community. Mirjam Quinn and Associates is forming a group to support to LGBTQ middle school youth.

People who want to be an ally to LGBTQ people in Beverly/Morgan Park and Mt. Greenwood can learn more about local and national organizations and ways to join the efforts. Check out Affinity (affinity95.org), Project Fierce (www.projectfiercechicago.org), Transformative Justice Law Project (www.tjlp.org), Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (www.illinoissafeschools.org), National LGBTQ Task Force (www.thetaskforce.org) and Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (www.pflagillinois.org).

(The former Director of the TransLife Center at Chicago House, Bonn Wade is a clinical consultant, trainer and psychotherapist practicing at Beverly Therapists and the co-founder and former associate director of UCAN’s LGBTQ Host Home Program. Bonn holds a master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.)

 

Neighbor You Should Know: Ellen King

By Kristin Boza

As parents scramble to find engaging activities for their kids each summer, consider the enchanting Mrs. King’s Art Camp, taught by Ellen King. Since 2012, King’s camp has been a neighborhood staple for kids who wish to learn more about a variety of art mediums.

“My aunt, Marybeth Vihon, grew up in Beverly and is a well-known artist in the Chicago land area,” King said. “She suggested I start a summer art camp based on the overwhelming success of a camp that her daughter attended in her neighbor’s yard in Wilmette. Her excitement inspired me to begin mapping out how such a camp would operate best in Beverly.”

The camp has tried a variety of venues over the years, and this year is hosted out of BAPA’s Community Room. “This location will help us to seamlessly incorporate the idea of children expressing themselves through the act of creating art in their own community,” King said.

Boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 10 are welcome to the camp, which meets three days a week and takes place over five week-long sessions. “The goal of the art camp is to provide opportunities for children to develop their creative expression in a fun and relaxed environment,” King said. “They will work independently and in a variety of collaborations in drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture as well as the preparation and display of their artwork for an art show.”

King hold a BA in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Master of Arts in Teaching (elementary education) from National-Louis University. Currently, King is the art teacher/school librarian at Kellogg School in North Beverly. “I absolutely love being a resident as well as an employee in our beautiful community,” she said. “I suppose the fact that I am immersed in all-things Beverly on a day-to-day basis has clearly provided the impetus for the art camp’s creation.”

Living and working here reinforces King’s view of the family-oriented community we share. “I love that the common thread among neighbors is that people want the absolute best for their children and are willing to work tirelessly to make that possible,” she said. “I also believe that there is a renaissance of sorts that is occurring in our community regarding the arts. From the phenomenal success of the Beverly Art Walk, the Beverly Music Initiative at Tranquility, The Frunchroom and Beverly Arts Center’s revival as a pillar of art events in the neighborhood, it’s clear that art is alive and well.”

Mrs. King’s Art Camp has limited spots available for sessions 1, 2 and 4. Land of Nod, Lulu Photography, Southtown Health Foods, The Chicago Public Library-Walker Branch, Edna White Memorial Garden and Cornell School of Ornithology are all donating goods and services to the campers. “I am thrilled that these prominent businesses are teaming up with the art camp to make this an amazing summer!” King said.

To find out more about Mrs. King’s Art Camp, visit Facebook/MrsKingsArtCamp or email King at ewoods75@yahoo.com.

 

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!