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

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

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

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

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

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

Researcher Studies Chicagoans’ Unique Language Patterns

By Grace Kuikman

Until I lived away from the city for three years, I didn’t hear my distinctive Chicago accent or realize the impact that my South Side upbringing had on the way I think as well as talk.

This summer, a team of researchers in the Linguistics Department at Northwestern University led by Assistant Professor Annette D’Onofrio, is conducting a research study, The Chicagoland Language Project. Through that study, D’Onofrio is listening closely as life-long residents of Chicago and Beverly/Morgan Park tell their stories, using what she hears to discern more about the way language influences social behavior.

According to D’Onofrio, the study is designed to document language and life in Chicago by capturing people’s experiences in their own words, focusing on the language and culture of Chicago residents in different neighborhoods and suburbs.

According to information provided by the study, the dialects of English spoken in Chicago have been relatively understudied compared to other large urban areas of the United States. Rather than assuming that there is just one way to “talk like a Chicagoan,” researchers are visiting specific neighborhoods and talking with a variety of people.

“There are so many different neighborhoods, lifestyles and perspectives within the city of Chicago.” D’Onofrio said.  “Researchers know quite a bit about social dynamics and divisions in the city, but we know much less about how language fits into that picture. Our project aims to look at the many different ways a person can be a Chicagoan, and how this corresponds to language.”

D’Onofrio and her students have begun conducting interviews with residents of Beverly and Morgan Park, and will continue throughout the summer. “We decided to start with Beverly and Morgan Park because of these neighborhoods’ rich histories, diversity, and strong sense of community,” D’Onofrio says. “We’re interested in learning what it means to people to be part of these communities, and we hope to interview as many residents of these neighborhoods as we can, from all walks of life.”

Interviews, which are taped, center on what it’s like to grown up and live in your community and Chicago, and whether you think people in different areas use language differently. Study participants are also asked to read a short list of words and offer opinions in a short listening experiment. The entire session takes about an hour to complete.

D’Onofrio, whose father was a New Yorker and spoke like one, grew up in Minnesota, where the accent is influenced by the proximity to Canada. She became interested in linguistics when she enrolled in a class in college. “I had a facility for it,” she said. That may be an understatement.

D’Onofrio, who was awarded a Mellon Dissertation Year Fellowship, earned her PhD from Stanford University in 2016, and accepted a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at Northwestern University.

“I’m broadly interested in how phonetic features play into the ways that we understand and create the social world around us,” D’Onofrio said in a statement on her Northwestern University faculty profile. “I am particularly interested in how we use social information to understand spoken language, and how we use linguistic styles to form ideas about who other people are, both consciously and automatically.”

D’Onofrio and her team will be conducting interviews with Beverly/Morgan Park residents locally, including at the BAPA office, through September. Participants of all ages are needed. To learn more about participating in the Chicago Language Project study can contact D’Onofrio at donofrio@northwestern.edu.

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!”

Smart Home Improvements Can Yield Big Returns

By Chanelle Rogers

Everyone loves a fancy outdoor living room but even the Property Brothers know that small investments in your home can pay off big in the long run.

Major projects like new windows, kitchen and bath remodels, master suite additions and basement renovations are costly but add good value. I’ve got some improvement ideas that won’t break the bank and will make you look like the smartest kid on the block!

According to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost v. Value report, there are some pretty inexpensive upgrades that can actually give more bang for your buck. The chart toppers include energy-saving improvements like new insulation, curb appeal pizzazz like new landscaping and an attractive garage door, and improved safety measures like steel security doors.

Another trending category for improvements is Universal Design — ways to accommodate the elderly and disabled, ensuring that existing or newly installed features can be used by them just as easily as anyone else. Think shower grip bars and lever-style door handles; these upgrades offer a 68.4% return.

You can expect a 64% average return on home improvement projects, but here are some minor improvements you can finish before the summer ends and see big returns down the road when you’re ready to sell your home.

Project: Attic Insulation

Cost: $1,410

Resale Value: $1,248

Return: 88.5%

 

Project: Steel Entry Door

Cost: $1,522

Resale Value: $1,589

Return: 101.4%

 

Project: New Garage Door

Cost: $2,094

Resale Value: $1,791

Return: 85.5%

 

Project: New Landscaping

Cost: $2,000

Resale: $2,100

Return: 105%

 

 

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.

Business News

Open Outcry Welcomes Customers

Open Outcry Brewing Company, 10934 S. Western, officially opened for business at the end of July, serving a variety of craft beers, a menu of pizzas and more. Joining owner John Brand at the ribbon cutting were BAPA Executive Director Margot Holland, Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association Executive Director Caroline Connors and 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea. Learn more about this family-friendly, locally owned brewery at openoutcrybrewing.com

 

Dance Gallery Fall Session Registration Open

Dance into a new school year at Dance Gallery, 10628 S. Western. The 14-week fall session begins Mon., Sept. 11 and includes classes for children, teens and adults in the state-of-the-art studio located in the heart of Beverly/Morgan Park.

Running through Sat., Dec. 16, fall session classes are offered in ballet, hip hop, tap, jazz, creative movement, modern, pointe, senior tap, lyrical/contemporary, ballroom classes as well as Forrest Yoga/Flow.

”We invite everyone to step out of their comfort zone, stretching both mind and body as they experience the art of dance,” said owner and artistic director Marylee Sinopoli. “This fall we offer classes for everyone in the family so from your toddler to your grandma can learn something new at our studio.”

Dance Gallery features a beautiful facility complete with two dance studios with full view mirrors and a viewing window for parents. Sinopoli leads a team of professional dance instructors who are dedicated to the mission of fostering an appreciation of the art of movement and dance.

To register and view a complete list of classes, visit dancegallerychicago.com. For more information, call 773-445-8910.  In person registration will be held Wed., Aug. 30 and Thurs., Aug. 31, 6 to 8 p.m. Payment must be received before the first week of classes.

Dan Ryan Woods Turns 100; Ribbon Cut for Improvements, Visitor Center

By Kristin Boza

As the Dan Ryan Woods turns 100 this month, numerous family-friendly activities are set to honor the anniversary and showcase the forest preserve to those who may not have had the opportunity to visit before.

On Sun., Aug. 27, 2 to 7 p.m., a 100th anniversary event will be held at the Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion which includes guided hikes, archery and information about the preserve, including its namesake. Forest Jam begins at 5:30 p.m. and offers group jam sessions, education on making instruments from natural and recycled materials and a concert by local musicians. All events are free and open to the public.

Additionally, Archery 101 is offered on Thurs., Aug. 24, 3:30 to 6 p.m. Participants must be at least 10 years old and everyone will learn about the history of archery, bow parts and proper technique. This class is also free and all equipment is provided.

According to Stacina Stagner, communications manager for the forest preserve district, the Dan Ryan Woods was a working farm before the Forest Preserves of Cook County purchased its 112 acres and created the Beverly Hills Preserve. In 1924, it was renamed Dan Ryan Woods in honor of Dan Ryan, Sr., a president of the Cook County Board.

“Dan Ryan Woods is among the most popular sites in the Forest Preserves. It is often one of the top-visited picnic locations year after year,” Stagner said. “Within this 257-acre preserve, visitors can explore historic limestone aqueducts, hop on the beginning of the Major Taylor Trail for a bike ride, and walk the paved loop trail. It’s also home to one of the highest points in Chicago, where visitors can look out and see the beautiful landscape. During winter, Dan Ryan Woods is a popular sledding destination.”

The Forest Preserves of Cook County offers a variety of ways for residents to get involved in preservation and improvement of Dan Ryan Woods, including the Adopt-A-Site and Trail Watch programs. “Through Adopt-A-Site, people of all ages make a commitment to their favorite Forest Preserves location and clean up litter,” Stagner said. “The Trail Watch program means volunteers help make the Forest Preserves safer simply by doing what they’re already doing — visiting the Forest Preserves.” For more information on volunteer opportunities, visit FPDCC.com/Volunteer.

Keep an eye out for some updates to Dan Ryan Woods in the future; Stagner says that a new nature play area and installation of a kiosk featuring panels showcasing Dan Ryan’s new amenities and history are on the horizon.

 

Dan Ryan Woods Enhancements Include New Visitor Center, Loop Trail  

Cook County Board and Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, joined by Sen. Bill Cunningham, Rep. Fran Hurley, and numerous Commissioners and officials from the Forest Preserves of Cook County, celebrated recent improvements made to Dan Ryan Woods as it becomes one of the Forest Preserves’ first signature “Gateway” locations under the Forest Preserves’ Gateway Master Plan.

“Dan Ryan Woods is among the most popular sites in the Forest Preserves, and is actually one of the few within Chicago proper. It is also often one of the top-visited picnic locations year after year, and it’s easy to see why,” said President Preckwinkle. “Without question, Dan Ryan Woods was selected as a Gateway site. For decades, families have come together here to enjoy a respite from the city, gathering for picnics, sporting events, or simply a walk”

The Gateway Master Plan explores gateways as a class of special sites with identifiable entry-ways at various locations throughout the preserves to encourage people to take advantage of the natural open space available in Cook County. According to the plan, Gateway sites will undergo enhancements to help convey a sense of welcome, interest, safety and beauty. Opportunities to create a “sense of place” include increasing natural area restoration, integrating art and sculptures, and developing a policy on interpretation that communicates natural and cultural assets within the Forest Preserves.

Recent investments at Dan Ryan Woods include the Visitors Center which features permit sales and a new outdoor classroom, as well as improvements to the Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion. Further enhancements coming to Dan Ryan Woods include special interpretive signs showcasing the amenities and history of the site, a nature play area with a treehouse and new sledding hill stairs.

“The Dan Ryan Woods are a wonderful place for families to experience the Forest Preserves without leaving the city of Chicago. The latest improvements will continue to enhance the experience of local residents and visitors,” said Commissioner John Daley, 11th District.

“One of the major goals of the Gateway master plan is to encourage the public to take advantage of the natural open space available in Cook County,” said Arnold Randall, General Superintendent of the Forest Preserves. “We feel this is especially important within the City of Chicago, where residents may not have as easy of access to nature. We also recognize that many visitors may need a guide when it comes to the nature.”

The new interpretive kiosk will stand 11 feet high and display six panels of information including key features to enjoy at Dan Ryan and how to access those locations. The history of Dan Ryan Woods will also be displayed, as well as information on the local habitat and how to get involved in volunteer efforts and participate in upcoming events. The tree house will be built with natural elements and introduce the nature play concept in the area.

On Sun., Aug.t 27, the Forest Preserves will be hosting the Dan Ryan Woods 100th Anniversary celebration, which will include guided hikes, archery, information about the preserve and Dan Ryan himself, as well as a free Forest Jams concert. The event is free to attend, and will be hosted from 2. to 7 p.m.

For more information on the Gateway Master Plan, visit fpdcc.com/gateway-masterplan. For more information on the Forest Preserves, visit fpdcc.com.

Ask Roberta

By Roberta Kleinman, BAPA Coordinator of Property Preservation Services

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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.

Investing in Success: Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is

By Kristin Boza

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

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

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

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

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

Bookie’s Moves to Western Avenue

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

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

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

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

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

Open Outcry Brewing Co. on Tap

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

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

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

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

Tranquility Salon Co. Infuses Creativity into Walden Parkway

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

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

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

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

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

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

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