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

Happy Birthday, Frank Lloyd Wright!

BAPA’s Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Home Tour Features 2 Wright Homes on May 21

Two unusual homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and a tiny house designed and built by students from the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences are among the outstanding stops on the Beverly Area Planning Association’s Beverly Hills/Morgan Park Home Tour Sun., May 21, 12 to 5 p.m.

All tours must begin by 3 p.m., and start at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr., where people must check-in to receive their booklets, which are required for admission into the homes.  The three-level historic Ridge Park fieldhouse features a pool, meeting rooms, performance space, gym and workout room, as well as the Vanderpoel Art Association art gallery.

2 Rare Wrights

This is a particularly important year for fans of Frank Lloyd Wright and his architecture. It is the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth, as well as the 100th anniversary of the construction of Wright’s Guy C. Smith House in Beverly/Morgan Park. The Smith House and the Jesse & William Adams House, both Chicago Landmark houses, will be open for the Tour. They are rare and distinctive examples of Wright’s work.

The Guy C. Smith house is one of two American System Built homes designed by Wright and built in our community in1917.  Wright’s goal was to offer livable and beautiful prefabricated housing at a moderate price.  Only a few of the homes were built before the US entered World War I and construction materials became less available.  The current owners have spent more than 25 years carefully restoring this house. It as last on the Home Tour a decade ago, and since that time has undergone a complete renovation of its spacious yard that includes the installation of a Wright-inspired pond and all new landscaping.

Built in 1901, the Jesse and William Adams house was designed during an important period of experimentation for Frank Lloyd Wright that resulted in the development of the Prairie School. The home’s owner, William Adams, commissioned Wright to design it. Adams was a contractor/builder who worked with several prominent architects on residential and commercial buildings. Adams and Wright worked on several projects. Emerging Prairie Style elements in the Adams house can be seen in the horizontal design and the way the porch connects the homes interior and exterior. The Adams house was last on BAPA’s Home Tour in 1996.

Also Featured on the Tour

The Tour will also open the doors to an exceptional Prairie Style house that has been renovated from top to bottom for a contemporary family lifestyle; an English style home designed by Homer G. Sailor and built in 1930 for a prominent Chicago financier; a historied Colonial Revival Foursquare built in 1903 on a wooded lot atop the hill; and a tiny house built for display at Chicago’s Home and Garden Show by students at the Chicago Ag school.

Home Tour stops feature cooking and decorating demonstrations, experts offering home and garden advice, tastings and lots more.

Buy Your Tickets Today!

Tickets for the Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and available online at www.bapa.org or at the BAPA office, 1987 W. 111th St., Mon. through Thurs., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information on the event, volunteering or becoming a sponsor, contact bapa@bapa.org. .

 

Vietnam War Vet Grand Marshal of Parade

U.S. Army veteran Rich Doyle is Grand Marshal of the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade. Doyle during the Vietnam War.

Drafted in August 1966, Doyle was 19 years old when he entered into military service. “I was very proud and I’ve always loved my country,” he said. “I’ll be honest that when I first went into the Army at 19 years old, I wasn’t used to being treated the way I was by the drill sergeants. I talked to my dad, who was at Omaha Beach during D-Day, and he told me to be the best solider I could be and good things will come of it.”

Working hard, Doyle quickly rose through the ranks, ultimately becoming a sergeant during this three years in active duty. “I won a Soldier of the Month contest at Fort Bragg, NC before I went to Vietnam. I got promoted pretty quickly, which is kind of unusual. I probably could have made another rank, but I was close to going home and I was satisfied. I know I made my parents proud,” he said.

Doyle left for Vietnam on Aug. 31, 1967 and returned home on Aug. 13, 1968. He was happy to return home safely, but was not prepared for the crowds at O’Hare protesting the Vietnam War and the returning veterans — protestors who even threw objects at the returning soldiers. “I had no indication that would happen; my family was there waiting for me and my dad just grabbed me and said we had to get out of there right away. So, it was a happy time that turned out to be not good,” he said.

As Grand Marshal, Doyle will lead and kick-off the parade; he will be accompanied by his siblings and friends, some coming from Champaign and California to support him. “I’ve always been involved in the parade; I’m honored to be asked and I’ll do my best to represent this community,” he said. “We should all be reminded of the veterans and our sacrifices.”

BAPA History: Planning for a Stronger Community

By Charles Shanabruch

In 1980, the Beverly Area Planning Association’s stated mission was to sustain the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood as a “quality, stable, integrated community.” Sociologists had projected that the area would follow the pattern of resegregation that had been characteristic of the South Side. The challenge to maintain integration was sensed by most of the community’s 40,000 residents.

Fortunately, Pat Stanton’s call to reinvigorate BAPA in 1971 had made a critical difference. Rather than the “a total lack of planning” that often occurs in communities where individual interests take precedent over the common interests, this community was engaged in “total planning” making sure every facet of life was attended to.

From 1980 to 1985, I was executive director of BAPA. It was a daunting assignment and has been the highlight of my professional career. Through the efforts of BAPA’s dedicated and creative board members and staff, committed elected officials, and more than a thousand generous volunteers, we made good on the promise of “total planning.”

At the time, the community’s greatest challenges came from the issues regarding schools, public safety, community building, and unfair housing practices. On each of these interconnected issues BAPA gathered the support of civic associations, churches and local businesses.

Education

The educational excellence of local schools was essential. However, this was threatened as many families with public school students left the community and those families who stayed feared that the Chicago Board of Education’s mandate to desegregate neighborhood schools would lead to busing and the closure of low enrollment schools.

BAPA met the challenge head on. An education committee composed of eight public school parents and led by Barb Vick (for whom the Vick School is named) sought to make each public elementary school attractive and unique so current parents would want to keep their kids enrolled and ne families would choose them.

Numerous meetings with Board of Ed officials, PTAs and parents led to plan proposing that Vanderpoel, Barnard, Clissold and Kellogg become magnet schools and special 7th and 8th grade programs be created at Morgan Park High School. BAPA convinced the Board of Ed that our community could be a city-wide model. With full community support the plan was adopted and the schools thrived.

Public Safety

In the 1980s, when the Chicago Police Department proposed closing several stations, including the 22nd District, BAPA led the fight to keep the station open. Using its civic association networks and block representatives, BAPA flooded the community with petitions. In only four days almost 18,000 signatures were gathered. BAPA delivered the petitions when it testified at a special committee hearing at City Hall. The testimony included BAPA’s promise of more community action. In fact, BAPA had purchased 12,000 yards of CPD-blue plastic ribbon to be tied on every light post in the community until our station was no longer hostage to the “efficiency” plan. Fortunately, the ribbons were never used. (I still have a 100 yard roll in my home office as a reminder of the community’s successful fight for the station.)

Communication

Communication is a critical element in mobilizing community action, but it was just as important in BAPA’s goal of building a sense of “a village in the city.” In Sept. 1980, BAPA replaced its quarterly newsletter with The Villager. Monthly 15,000 copies were distributed free to every residence and hundreds more were dropped at the train stations for commuters to read on their way to work. Its purpose was to keep the community informed, promote engagement, support local businesses and our schools and ensure that BAPA’s perspective was clearly portrayed on issues.

Another very important initiative was the Neighborhood Involvement Program. BAPA identified residents on nearly every block to “NIP” problems in the bud. They were the community’s eyes and ears who called BAPA identifying problems or opportunities to enhance community quality.

Housing

The biggest challenge facing Beverly/Morgan Park was unfair housing practices. Chicago’s history of racial discrimination and segregation threatened BAPA’s mission to sustain a stable integrated community. The real estate market did not provide free and open access to information. Realtors steered blacks to areas where blacks and whites lived and whites to areas that were predominantly white thus creating segregated communities.

BAPA addressed the dual housing market through education and litigation. Numerous block meetings were held to discuss issues of racial change directly and openly with whites and blacks together. BAPA also tried to persuade realtors to obey fair housing laws that had been put in place in the 1960s.

Realtors seeking to accelerate racial change used for sale signs and unsolicited calls to ask people to list their homes for sale as the tools of panic peddling. BAPA supported a ban on for sale signs and also secured signatures on anti-solicitation letters from home owners then served lists of the residents to dozens of real estate offices; when signers were solicited BAPA got the States Attorney to investigate cases and file lawsuits.

Despite these initiatives, racial steering persisted. BAPA realized that until all communities were open those that were integrated would be threatened by the injustice of steering. For this reason, BAPA partnered with the Leadership Council of Metropolitan Open Communities to “test” real estate offices. Matched couples of white and black were trained and then went to real estate offices to see whether each couple received the same real estate listings. When blacks were given only information about integrated neighborhoods and whites were given listings in nearly all white communities, the law was broken.

In Nov. 1983, BAPA filed four law suits in Federal court charging discriminatory real estate practices. BAPA lost the first case brought to trial but the other suits ended in settlements. Most importantly, BAPA’s initiative gave notice to all realtors that racial steering would not be tolerated.

BAPA’s President, Rich Andersen, constantly reminded staff, “Good things do not happen by chance.” Very intentionally, BAPA paid attention to details and the big picture so the community thrived.

Ask Roberta

By Roberta Kleinman, BAPA Property Preservation Coordinator

Q: Are there circumstances when it is unnecessary to apply for a building permit before undertaking alterations to my Chicago single-family residence?

A: It all depends on the type of alterations you plan to make. No permit is required for relatively uncomplicated projects that do not involve, for example, structural changes to a residential property, or a change to the total amount of conditioned square footage available to the home’s residents (i.e., the amount of heated or air conditioned space,) or a change that would constitute a major expansion of the property’s existing electrical or plumbing systems. Some projects that would not require a permit would therefore include repairs to, or replacement of,

Interior finishes such as wall-to-wall carpeting, hardwood flooring, tile, paint and wallpaper;

Cabinetry and furniture without electrical and plumbing connections;

Non-fire rated in-kind doors/windows (i.e., replaced with similar item of same size at same location);

Playground equipment;

Most types of walkways and patios at ground level;

Fences five feet high or less, not including chain link and masonry fences;

Many types of common non-structural exterior finishes when used on one to three story residential buildings (subject to various exceptions);

Shingle roofing with a slope of 5-in-12 or steeper;

Hot water heaters, boilers, furnaces and air conditioner condensers;

Toilets, sinks, faucets and bathtubs;

Interior stairs in same location as a previous set of stairs within the dwelling unit;

Low voltage wiring, excluding wiring for fire alarm systems;

Enclosed sheds with a maximum area of 70 square feet (subject to setback and other restrictions).

A more extensive list of projects that do not require a building permit, with relevant exceptions, is set forth at https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bldgs/general/Homeowner/WhenAPermit

NotReq.pdf. where one may also find the same type of information as it applies to multi-unit residential and mixed-use buildings.

The information above does not apply to properties in a landmark district, or parcels of land upon which a landmark building is located. Those properties have their own separate restrictions and regulations.

If in doubt whether a particular home improvement project will require a building permit, and if so, whether a so-called Standard Plan Review permit application would be required or an Easy Permit application would suffice, it is always a good practice to contact the Building Department by calling 311 and asking to be transferred to the right departmental personnel, or by calling the Building Department directly at 312-744-3449.

Additionally, an extensive Guide to Permits can be found at https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/bldgs/general/Homeowner/GuidetoPermitsMarch17.pdf

(Disclaimer: Be advised that the author of this article is not a licensed attorney. The information in this article is general in nature and is not intended to, and should not, be relied upon by 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. Always seek professional assistance from qualified legal and other relevant professionals when considering making alterations to your residential property.)

Send your question for Roberta to rkleinman@bapa.org

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month

In April, the GFWC IL Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club will join the Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Campaign and thousands of other communities, organizations and individuals across the nation to raise awareness of child abuse, build effective services, and strengthen families.

As part of the Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club’s ongoing campaign, this month they will display a banner stating “Prevent Child Abuse Illinois” and plant a blue pinwheel garden next to the banner at St. Christina’s baseball field on the corner of 111th and Central Park. Because of their positive association with children and with happy images of childhood, pinwheels are the national symbol of child abuse prevention, and they represent the hope that every child will be raised in a healthy, safe and nurturing environment.

The Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Campaign provides an excellent resource packet concerning child abuse prevention. The packet includes information on the warning signs of abuse, how to report child abuse and neglect, what to do if you see child abuse in a public place, and what it takes to be a nurturing parent, and much more. Packets can be obtained on-line at www.preventchildabuseillinois.org.

According to Prevent Child Abuse Illinois, child abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as neglect, which is described as failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, medical or educational needs. Most often, the abuser is someone the child knows, such as a parent, relative, neighbor or friend of the family.

Each year, close to 3 million reports of suspected abuse are filed in the United States. Many more cases never get reported.

Join the Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club by participating in Prevent Child Abuse Illinois Campaign. Go to preventchildabuseillinois.org for more information.  Protecting children is everyone’s responsibility.

Sunshine, Spectators and Smiles: Another Memorable South Side Irish Parade

The South Side Irish Parade made its annual march down Western Avenue on March 12. Families, friends and neighbors lined the route to take part in the largest neighborhood-based St. Patrick’s Day Parade outside of Ireland.

This year’s parade featured over 100 entries including pipe bands, marching bands, Irish dancers, festive floats and 2017 South Side Irish Parade Queen Shannon Zofkie. Zofkie moves on as the South Side Irish Rose in the Chicago Rose of Tralee Selection set for April 8 at Ridge Country Club.

“We were delighted with the great day seeing so many families along the parade route enjoying this year’s festive parade entries,” said Jeannie Kovak, co-chairman of the South Side Irish Parade Committee. “We were honored to work with the Les Turner ALS Foundation and Christmas Without Cancer, both organizations are inspiring examples of helping others in the community and beyond.”

The parade was led by Grand Marshal, Les Turner ALS Foundation, Chicago’s leader in research, patient care and education about Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) for 40 years. Marching with the Grand Marshal were Meg Rooney and her family who have worked closely with Les Turner ALS Foundation to increase awareness about ALS and raise money to find a cure. Meg’s husband, John Rooney, succumbed to ALS in June 2016.

Christmas Without Cancer, a non profit organization that identifies Chicagoland families in need and provides gifts and basic necessities to families stricken with cancer, was the Parade’s Special Honoree.

The day began with over 125 runners who participated in the Emerald Isle Mile hosted by Running Excels. The men’s race was won by Joe Lerner with a time of 4:47:2. Rumbi Chidavaenzi was the first female finisher with a time of 6:09:9.

The parade is run by the South Side Irish St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization. More than 60 volunteers work year round to ensure the family-friendly celebration continues for future generations.

The South Side Irish Parade is supported by sponsors including Lakeshore Beverage, CJ Wilson Mazda, AARP, The Beverly Review, South Side Irish Imports, Team Hochberg at PERL Mortgage, IUOE Local 150, AAA Evergreen Park Car Care, Raising Cane’s, County Fair Foods and IUOE Local 399.

No arrests or incidents were reported along the parade route.

“Like” the South Side Irish Parade on Facebook and view photos from the 2017 South Side Irish Parade.

 

Lego Workshop Offers Hands-On Home Design

BAPA will host a Hands-on Home Design Lego Workshop for kids Sun., Mar. 26, 1 to 3 p.m., BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr.

As the excitement builds for BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour in May, area kids can develop an appreciation for local building and landscape architecture from local experts. The kids can use their creative skills to construct their own buildings and enhance them with landscaping.

Legos are being loaned to BAPA by IIT.

The workshop is free to BAPA members and $10 for non-members. Space is limited and registration is required. Info/registration: bapa@bapa.org or Mary Jo Viero, 773-233-3100.

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

Chicago Writers Studio Inspires Local Authors

By Kristin Boza

Writers groups in Beverly/Morgan Park are gaining popularity. Now, local authors have another valuable resource with the opening of the Chicago Writers Studio, 1917 W. 103rd St., #4. Owned by neighborhood resident and author Cole Lavalais, the Chicago Writers Studio aims to educate aspiring authors on technique and structure and help them connect to the writing community.

From a young age, Lavalais knew she wanted to be a writer, but she lacked writing role models. “I didn’t see any working black women writers. I was a big fan of Mike Royko growing up, but I didn’t see anybody who looked like me having a column in the newspaper like he did,” she said. “I wasn’t familiar with black women writers until college, and even then I didn’t know any personally. It wasn’t until I started actually seeing women who look like me doing this that I realized I could be a writer too.”

Lavalais’ career goals shifted as she worked her way through undergrad, a Master’s Degree in Psychology, an MSA in Creative Writing from Chicago State and eventually a PhD in Creative Writing from University of Illinois at Chicago. “I started teaching classes at UIC and other universities. Along the way, I kept running into folks who wanted to write. I decided I wanted to start a community-based writing studio,” she said.

Lavalais chose the location for the Chicago Writers Studio mainly because she and her family live here. “There’s a lot happening lately in Beverly’s literary movement, which I’m happy to see. I think it’s a great opportunity for folks in this community to have another resource so they don’t have to go up to the north side,” she said. “Before I opened the studio, I would have smaller workshops at the Beverly Library. People always said they wanted a local writers studio here to avoid the drive up north and dealing with parking. There’s just not enough resources for folks who want to write in this part of the city.”

The Chicago Writers Studio is a perfect fit for anyone who doesn’t have the time or money to earn a formal degree in writing, Lavalais said. “Not everyone wants to be published, some people just want to get their life story on record. Hopefully the studio will help people do that as well as helping those who want to be published,” she said. Lavalais recommends any aspiring writer starts with a short story. “The short story really teaches you things that you need to write a novel.”

Classes are aimed at anyone who wants to write, from recreational writers to emerging writers. Most writers will start with the Intro to Fiction class, where they will learn the elements of a short story and begin writing one. The Studio also offers workshops on novels, screenwriting and starting a memoir.

For more information or to sign up for a class, visit ChicagoWritersStudio.com.