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Village Viewpoint

By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director 

Like any good Chicagoan I am absolutely thrilled when summertime rolls around.  I often find myself wondering if those who live in warm climates ever experience the day after day euphoria we feel when we open our front doors on summer days.      

At BAPA, summer comes with some kind of event to produce almost weekly: Home Tour, Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade, weekly Family Fun Nights and Tech Tuesdays. Coming up next is the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic.   

While these events keep the BAPA staff on our toes for a few months, they are not possible without the time, energy and commitment of our neighborhood partners. The process is a lot like leading an orchestra for a performance piece with BAPA as the conductor.  The music happens when everybody comes together with their talent and hard work, sitting alongside friends and neighbors, pursuing the common goal of offering sheer enjoyment to all who come out to join us.   

Our local restaurants come out of their kitchens to offer their best in picnic style foods, beverages and treats.  The Alderman’s staff and the police from our 22nd District help in too many ways to count.  The Ridge Run wouldn’t be possible without Chicago Park District’s Ridge Park and the big-hearted hard-working Park District staff.   

We showcase our neighbors who have talent (and there are so many) to entertain us with music, art or children’s activities.  Our local businesses sponsor the events so we can afford to put them on, and join us onsite to meet residents and talk about what they have to offer.   

This year our 16th Beverly Hills Cycling Classic and Bikes and Brews Festival will be possible thanks to St. Barnabas parish joining us as a new festival partner following the closing last year of Beacon Therapeutic School.  The new St. Barnabas location makes the event more exciting than ever, with a challenging new race course and sprawling festival grounds in the St. Barnabas parking lot. I can practically hear the music now!   

And of course, all of you are important partners. 

Neighbors jump in to volunteer for tasks like selling tickets, pouring drinks, serving as course marshals or helping set up tables or tents.   

Watching everyone coming together takes us all to a new height of connection.  Like individual instruments, we can all make music as a solo, but when we’re all working together the result is an experience that transforms the day.  As a team, we create memories, make new friends and accomplish something wonderful. And it’s all in our own backyard.   

I can tell you, from where BAPA stands as conductor, our community orchestra is nothing short of extraordinary.  

Beverly Hills Cycling Classic #16 – Bikes and Brews

On Fri., July 20, a burst of smoke will explode from a starting gun, signaling the start of day one of the 2018 Intelligentsia Cup cycling series, as well as the return of BAPA’s Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes & Brews Festival.

The Races

The local event for the Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup features six pro/am races on a 1.54 kilometer criterium course that includes hills and thrills that attract professional riders from around the world. This year’s course has been rerouted and will take riders in a loop through the historic Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood from Longwood Drive to Seeley Avenue between 100th and 102nd Streets.

The first competition is a Juniors race for ages 9 through 14, and it begins at 4:15 p.m. Other races are Juniors ages 15 to 18, 4:40 p.m.; Men’s category 2 and 3, 5:10 p.m.; William Blaire Masters 35+ categories 1, 2 and 3, 5:55 p.m.; Pro Women, categories 1, 2 and 3, 6:40 p.m.; and Pro Men, categories 1 and 2, 7:35 p.m. Neighbors are encouraged to cheer on the racers as they whizz by.

The Festival

The Bikes & Brews festival location is also new this year — the St. Barnabas parish parking lot, 10100 S. Longwood Dr. Festival hours are 4 to 10 p.m. Leadfoot will perform following the races, about 8:30 p.m.

Craft beers from Lagunitas and local brewery favorites Open Outcry Brewing, Horse Thief Hollow, Blue Island Brewing Co. and Argus Brewery, and wine from PRP will be for sale for customers age 21 and up.

Plenty of food will be available for purchase, including Original Rainbow Cone, Franconello, Misericordia cupcake truck, Reilly’s Daughter, Calabria, Home Run Inn Pizza and Cilantro Taco Grill.

The Kids Zone will feature a gaming truck, face painting, crafts and more.

Mercy Home/Walsh Campus will provide a bike valet service for people who want to ride their bikes to the event.

The Presenting Sponsor

The presenting sponsor of this year’s festival is Beverly Bike and Ski, 9121 S. Western Ave. The shop has been serving the community since 1921, and a lead partner in sponsoring the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic since the beginning of the event’s history – this year is the 16th annual.

Beverly/Morgan Park resident Paul Weiss has owned Beverly Bike and Ski since 1996 and says it’s an honor to be part of Bikes & Brews because of its history within the community he serves. Weiss is a passionate rider himself, and although he jokes that he is nowhere near the skill level of the Cycling Classic competitors, he likes the idea of encouraging the community to become more interested in riding.

“Racing has its ups and downs,” he said. “But we have to keep it alive.”

For many years, the store even has its own racing team and offers its own racing events in late summer and early fall: The Gravel Bike Race is set for in August and the CycloCross Cup is coming up in October in the Dan Ryan Woods.

Get In on the Action

In professional bike racing, riders make their living by winning prizes. To attract the best riders to the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, BAPA needs to offer top primes – cash prizes awarded to the winner of a lap in a race. The amount of primes available in a pro/am cycling race is a strong incentive for elite riders to participate – only one rider can win the top prize; several riders can win the primes. And the more competitive the event, the more exciting the action for spectators.

Area residents and businesses are invited to sponsor primes in the 16th annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic | Bikes & Brews. Primes are collected in increments of $200, $100 and $50.  Donors have their names announced over the public address system during the race. The more you give, the more often your name is mentioned. 100% of the money donated for primes is awarded to riders competing races.

The final deadline for donating a prime is Mon., July 9.  For information or applications call 773-233-3100 or email reception@bapa.org.

Summer Bike Raffle

Once again, Beverly Bike and Ski has donated a brand new Giant Cypress bike to be raffled off this summer. Tickets are $5 each or three for $10 and available at the bike shop as well as at Bikes and Brews.

Be a Volunteer

People are needed to help out as course marshals and at the festival on race day. Sign up at bapa.org/support-bapa/volunteer/ or call 773-233-3100.

Thanks to the Sponsors

Other sponsors of the event include Mike Haggerty Buick – GMC – Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, CIBC, Smith Village, Marquette Bank, AT&T, The Beverly Review, State Farm/John Harrell agent, Xpress Tax Appeal, Lagunitas, Horse Thief Hollow, Open Outcry Brewing Co., Blue Island Brewing Co. and Argus Brewery.

Runners Beat Heat for a Great Ridge Run

Despite record high temperatures, more than 2000 runners participated in the 10K, 5K run, 5K walk, 10K-5K Challenge and Youth Mile on Memorial Day morning, and everyone received a finisher’s medal, and the top three winners in each age group in the 10K and 5K run received an additional award. The 5K walk and Youth Mile are not timed.

Leaderboard winners and their finish times are:

10K men –  1st, Eric Hofmann, 35:42; 2nd, Anthony Truman, 35:50; and 3rd, Dave Janet, 36:57.

10K women – 1st Erin Heenan, 36:11; 2nd, Emily Gleason, 40:16; and 3rd, Cecilia Light, 42:24.

10K wheelchair – 1st, Mary Kate Callahan, 34:44

5K man – 1st, Matthew Olech, 16:56; 2nd, Jake Christiansen, 17:04; and 3rd, Kyle Hauser, 17:21.

5K women – 1st, Eleanor Odom, 21:55; 2nd, Jessica Dorgan, 22:54; and 3rd, Kaila Konecki, 23:10.

5K wheelchair – 1st,Mary Kate Callahan, 18:48.

Challenge men – 1st, Anthony Truman, 54:11; 2nd, Dave Janet, 56:23; and 3rd, Kevin Malloy, 1:02:42.

Challenge women – 1st, Callista Stefaniak, 1:16:55; 2nd, Marnie Milakovich, 1:17:00; and 3rd, Molly McInerney, 1:17:22.

 

Find complete race results at http://results.active.com/events/ridge-run–20/

Experience Beverly/Morgan Park from Rock Island Line on BAPA Home Tour

There were less than 20 years between 1834 when public domain land sales opened in Chicago and John Blackstone started claiming property in the densely wooded area surrounding the Blue Island Ridge, and 1852 when the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad first started laying a trail of tracks between Chicago and Joliet.

Those two events created the perfect climate for building the community we know today as Beverly/Morgan Park. The kismet between land development and fast access to Chicago via commuter rail service will be explored on Sun., May 20, 12 to 5 p.m. when the Beverly Area Planning Association’s 2018 Home Tour invites people to experience Beverly/Morgan Park from the Rock Island

On the afternoon of the tour, five private homes — all within walking distance of local Rock Island Metra stops and examples of the lifestyle and history of commuter service in our community — will be open to visitors. Like so many of today’s neighborhood residents, the proximity of the Rock Island Metra was a factor in our homeowners’ decisions to choose Beverly/Morgan Park as their community. Visitors to the Home Tour residences will also discover the unique hospitality, community spirit and historic beauty that contribute to the Beverly/Morgan Park lifestyle.

Featured on this year’s tour are:

A stunning Colonial Revival mansion set at the top of the Blue Island Ridge hill, and renovated from foundation to roof. Built in 1906 for a successful businessman who worked for the Wrigley Company and who played a significant role in local society, the gracious home has been restored to its original splendor with marble tile, hardwood floors, beamed ceilings and exquisite decorative moldings. More than 100 windows in the house were replaced. Ellie’s Café and Wild Blossom Meadery will be providing meal-and-mead samples in the club style backyard.

A deluxe Chicago bungalow carefully preserved for its distinctive detailing and livability, and beautifully updated for an active family. This welcoming home was built as a “high end” bungalow, complete with slate roof tiles, decorative outdoor elements, and a matching detached garage. Filled with natural light that enhances the simply and lovely decorating, representatives from the Chicago Bungalow Association will be on hand to offer tips on tending vintage homes and share history about what has made Chicago bungalows so uniquely desirable for more than a century.

An gracious Tudor Revival set on a quiet corner lot just a half block from the Dan Ryan Woods has been beautifully restored with close attention to retaining the homes most elegant features including a spacious sunken living room with a cathedral ceiling and wall of beautifully crafted leaded glass windows. Bringing the home up to date is the breakfast room/kitchen area created by reconfiguring the floor plan and adding lovely new cabinets, counters and light fixtures. Southtown Health Foods will be serving samples of fresh, healthy juice.

A charming Foursquare home set atop the hill is influenced by the simple beauty of Prairie and Craftsman styling. Rich woodwork, handsomely crafted furnishings, exceptional art and collections, and personal touches tipped with whimsy all add to a welcoming home. Master Gardeners will meet with tour visitors and pass along timely tips to bring to their home landscapes.

 

 

 

A handsome stucco cottage with a garden hideaway is the cherished home of a couple who has spent 20 years making it the perfect place to welcome guests. The house, believed to be the first built in the block, is one of several cottages with almost identical floor plans that were built in the 1910s. Many of these modest homes were owned – including the one featured on the Tour – were owned by people working for the Rock Island Railroad. One of the owners of this house spent his career working downtown and riding the Rock Island five days a week. Now retired, the friends his he made on his daily commute often stop by the house to visit. Open Outcry Brewing Company will be offering samples of their craft-brewed beers in this home’s yard.

The Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour begins at the RMH Design Showroom, 1802-1806 W. 103rd St., where people can pick up the guide books that serve as entry into the featured homes as well as complimentary goody bags.  The RMH showroom is a visual delight of merchandise and samples for mall projects through total remodeling jobs, including fabrics, tile, flooring, counters, wallpaper, rugs, cabinets and more.

Calumet Paint and Wallpaper, paint showcase sponsor for the Home Tour, will have representatives at RMH to share information and expert advice on painting, wallpaper and more.

Homes are selected for the Tour because of their outstanding decorating, amenities and architecture which offer a range of great ideas for updating kitchens, baths, basements and even yards. The homes also show the inextricable impact the opening of the Rock Island Railroad’s service to this area made on the creation and expansion of the community we now know as Beverly/Morgan Park. The convenience of the Metra Rock Island service to Chicago’s Loop is still an important factor in why new residents choose to purchase homes here.

A True Commuter Community

Beverly/Morgan Park would not exist today had it not been for the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad (now the Metra Rock Island). When the Rock began daily commuter service downtown in the later 1800s, the sparsely settled areas along the Blue Island Ridge that became Beverly/Morgan Park began attracting people who desired homes in a “suburban” setting but accessible to jobs and shopping, as well as railroad workers and service providers in need of lodging close to station stops.

Home construction on the Ridge boomed following the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. From mansions that housed some of Chicago’s most prominent families, to cottages and bungalows for families of more modest means, quick transportation downtown was a key influencer for home buyers more than a century ago, just as it is for buyers today. Many of the stations, now located at four-block intervals from 91st to 115th Streets, served as village centers for shopping, and the surviving stations built in the late 1800s and early 1900s form the Rock Island Train Station historic district because of their historic and architectural significance. All of the stations are part of daily life for the estimated 8.3 million riders currently commuting between Joliet and LaSalle Street each year.

At Home in Beverly/Morgan Park Today

For more than four decades, BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour has been opening the doors to some of the neighborhood’s most remarkable private residences. Tickets to this year’s tour are $30 in advance at www.bapa.org or $35 on the day of the tour, Sun., May 20. Advance tickets are also available at RMH Design, 1806 W. 103rd St., County Fair Foods, `0800 S. Western, and Steuber Florist, 2654 W. 111th St. Homes are open from 12 to 5 p.m. on the day of the tour; all tours are self-guided and must begin by 3 p.m.

Thank You Home Tour Sponsors

Mike Haggerty Buick-GMC-Volkswagen in Oak Lawn, Beverly Bank & Trust, Pacor Mortgage, Marquette Bank,  Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Biros Real Estate, Calumet Paint and Wallpaper, Benjamin Moore Paint, CIBC, PRS Real Estate Services, Beverly Hills Animal Hospital, Steuber Florist & Greenhouses, Southtown Health Foods, Coldwell Banker Residential Oak Lawn,  19th Ward Youth Foundation, County Fair, The Beverly Review, RMH Design, Smith Village, Bridget Gainer, Road Home Program, Beverly Cabinets and Construction, State Sen. Bill Cunningham, State Rep. Fran Hurley, Open Outcry Brewing Company.

Information about the Home Tour contact BAPA, 773-233-3100 or www.bapa.org.

 

Gold Star Mothers Are Grand Marshals of Memorial Day Parade

When BAPA’s Beverly/Morgan Park/Mount Greenwood Memorial Day Parade steps off following the Ridge Run on May 28, everyone in the line of march and gathering along Longwood Drive to watch the parade should reflect on the true meaning of the day: Honoring the men and woman who have given their lives in active service with the U.S. Armed Forces.

With members of the American Gold Star Mothers leading the parade as Grand Marshals, the solemnity of the day will be particularly poignant. Gold Star Mothers have lost a son or daughter in military service.  Neighborhood resident Modie Lavin, whose son Marine Cpl. Conner T. Lowry was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2012, will be among the Gold Star Mothers in the parade. Lavin is the Family Outreach Coordinator for the Road Home Program for veterans at Rush University Medical Center, presenting sponsor of the parade.

Area Gold Star Mothers are encouraged to join the group of parade Grand Marshals.

About Gold Star Mothers

The American Gold Star Mothers was officially organized on June 4, 1928 in Washington DC, but it was the death of a young man from Chicago during military service in World War I that inspired the creation of this national organization. The young man – Lieut. George Vaughn Seibold – volunteered to be an aviator in 1917. In Dec. 1918, after not hearing from him for many months, his family was notified that Lieut. Seibold had been killed in action in France.

During the period when George was serving in the Great War, his mother, Grace Darling Seibold, visited wounded troops in Washington DC, comforting many young men whose mothers could not be there themselves. Following news of her son’s death, Seibold realized that devoting time to other mothers who shared her pain of loss gave her a sense of peace and purpose.

At about the same time, Lillian A. White, whose son Frank A. White also died in WWI, was among the women organizing the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers.  Similar groups had been organizing throughout the country, identifying as Gold Star Mothers because of the service flags displayed in the homes of families who had members serving in the war:  Blue stars designated a son or daughter actively serving, and gold stars signified that a son or daughter had died in service.  Wanting to be part of a larger initiative the groups affiliated into the national group which was chartered as a nondenominational, not-for-profit, nonpolitical organization.

Parade Party Raises Funds for Gold Star Mothers Memorial

Some time before they became a part of the national group, the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers erected a stone memorial in honor of the men and women who gave their lives in World War I at the then peaceful southeast corner of what is now the busy intersection of 87th and Western. Over the decades that monumentl was forgotten and fell into extreme disrepair. A few years ago, it was rediscovered by volunteers in the Dan Ryan Woods. A group of neighborhood residents organized by Tim Noonan is working to have the memorial restored. Last fall, the memorial was decommissioned in a formal ceremony and placed in storage while the group raises funds for the restoration and placement in a permanent and more visible location in the woods.

In honor of the American Gold Star Mothers, BAPA is hosting a Memorial Day Parade kick-off event Thurs., Apr. 19, 7 to 9 p.m. at Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western. Admission is $25 and proceeds will be donated to the restoration of the Gold Star Mothers Memorial. The event includes beverages and food, as well as music. The community is invited to attend. People unable to attend the event but who would like to support the endeavor to restore the memorial can contact Tim Noonan,  info.ccgsm@gmail.com or 773-852-3080.

The continuing focus of the American Gold Star Mothers is to support one another and to assist U.S. Armed Forces veterans from all wars and conflicts in getting the help they need. Gold Star Mothers also participate in in patriotic work and foster a sense of individual obligation to the community, state and nation. Membership in the American Gold Star Mothers is open to any woman who is a U.S. citizen or legal resident who has lost a son or daughter in active military service.

Participate in the Parade

Area groups, families, organizations and businesses are invited to march behind the Gold Star Mothers in the Memorial Day Parade. The oldest community Memorial Day parade in Chicago features military vehicles, a color guard, scout troops, historical figures, floats, vehicles, flags, music and the Jesse White Tumblers.

For information about participating in the Memorial Day Parade or to purchase tickets to the fund raising event, visit www.bapa.org or call 773-233-3100. For information about the Chicago Council of Gold Star Mothers Memorial, visit www.ccgsm.org or call Tim Noonan.

 

BAPA Names New Executive Director, Expands Programming

The Board of the Beverly Area Planning Association is delighted to announce that Susan Flood has joined the staff as the new BAPA Executive Director.

A longtime Beverly/Morgan Park resident and active volunteer and supporter of BAPA for many years, Flood brings expertise in business development, non-profit management and strategic planning to the organization.

Margot Burke Holland, who recently completed her three-year commitment as BAPA Executive Director, has moved into the newly created position of BAPA Program Director. In that role, she will focus on developing and enhancing programs that fulfill BAPA’s mission in the areas of supporting local schools, small businesses, community safety, beautification and quality of life.

The addition of Flood at BAPA’s helm and transition of Holland into an important new role fulfills BAPA’s recent efforts to reorganize the staff and reenergize the programs and services that benefit the Beverly/Morgan Park community.

“I could not be more thrilled to welcome Susan Flood to BAPA as the new Executive Director,” said BAPA Board President Maureen Gainer Reilly. “BAPA will benefit from her years of experience and strong non-profit, event and fundraising background. The neighborhood is so fortunate to have yet another talented, dynamic executive director to ensure BAPA’s success. With Margot Holland transitioning to a newly created program director role, the staff is poised to continue their ‘back to basics’ approach which has strengthened the organization.”

Flood began her career doing business development in the tech industry, then took a break to raise three children and pursue some personal development. She dabbled in Chicago’s improv scene at Second City and Improv Olympic and on weekends embarked on training new runners for their first races and marathons. Her first experience with BAPA was through the Ridge Running 101 training program where she trained to run then signed on to train others. “I trained more than 200 women for the Ridge Run and another 200-plus to run marathons to raise funds for the American Diabetes Association,” she said. Flood was also on the committee that organized the first Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, setting a course for this popular annual summer event.

When she reentered the work force, Flood joined the staff at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, taking a leadership role in fundraising. Among the many successful programs Flood spearheaded during her ten years at Mercy Home were the “Mercy Home Heroes” Chicago Marathon team program and Legacy of Learning, an endowment campaign that raised money for the education of Mercy Home’s youth in perpetuity. Susan remains committed to the kids at Mercy Home through service on their Leader Council, a women’s board that funds the home through their Graduates Luncheon, held in the spring.

Flood has shared her expertise for many years as a member of BAPA’s Development Committee. She has served on Christ the King’s Family and School Association and began the parish Moms and Tots group.

“I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to lead BAPA into the future, building on the dynamic and extremely successful formula of solid programs and talented staff,” Flood said.

In the past three years, BAPA’s mission-based programs have been expanded and special events have grown to attract bigger audiences and more engaged participants. These trends are expected to continue and realize even better growth with the addition of Susan to the team.  .

In her tenure as executive director, Holland introduced successful programs including the recent Author in the Schools at local public elementary schools, the community safety survey, and the popular Meet Me at the Metra Family Fun Nights.

Village Viewpoint – January 2018

Dear Neighbors,

Happy New Year from all of us at BAPA! We hope you and your family enjoyed a wonderful holiday. This is a time of year when we can reflect on all that has taken place over the last year and make goals for the upcoming year ahead. We had a great year 2017 at the Beverly Area Planning Association and that is because of you — our neighbors and members are more engaged than ever. Your support provides the gift of community, and that is something money can’t buy.  Thank you to all those who attended BAPA events, sent in membership and volunteered in 2017!

During 2017 we were able to expand our programming in schools and safety and our support of local businesses. In 2018 BAPA will continue to build in these areas. The BAPA board has been hard at work organizing committees to support the staff and expanding programming. Coming up in 2018, in addition to our existing services, BAPA will launch Author in the Schools, Tech Tuesdays for seniors and shared office space in the new and improved community room space in our building. We are proud of all that has been accomplished and all that is to come in 2018.

As part of our growth, early in the year I will be completing my three year term as Executive Director and will move into the new position of Director of Programming to launch these new initiatives. I am proud of all the change and positive momentum that our staff and board have been able to accomplish and look forward to a new chapter of climbing even higher.

BAPA is in a very strong position both organizationally and financially, and poised to continue all the good work for many years to come.

All the best,

Margot

Holiday Giving Guide

The holidays are an especially difficult time for people who are in need of food, shelter, friendship and a helping hand. Neighborhood organizations are reaching out with a variety of collections and programs. Read more to see how you can help. 

Holiday Food Drive. Donations of canned goods and non-perishable food items for the Maple Morgan Park Community Food Pantry can be dropped off weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 1 through 15 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western. The Food Pantry is also seeking monetary donations, which can be mailed to Maple Morgan Park Food Pantry, 11030 S. Longwood Dr., Chicago IL 60643.  Donations of $15 or more will provide a turkey dinner for local families. Each month, the Food Pantry serves about 1,200 families from the 60643 and 60655 zip codes. When you’re out stocking up for the holidays, consider buying something extra for a neighborhood family in need or writing a check to provide a holiday dinner with all the fixings.

Hops for the Homeless. Horse Thief Hollow, 10426 S. Western, will host Hops for the Homeless raising funds Franciscan Outreach services for Chicago’s homeless, Wed., Dec. 6, 7 to 10 p.m. Admission, $40 (advance) or $45 (door), includes beverages, food, music by These Old Men They Play Records, a silent auction and raffle. Bring in new hats or gloves in exchange for raffle ticket. Order tickets/make a donation www.franoutreach.org/hops.

Children’s Book Drive. Donate used children’s books in good condition through Fri., Dec. 8 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western. The book drive is co-sponsored by Ald. Matt O’Shea and Open Books, a non-profit organization that funds literacy programs by selling donated books. Info about Open Books: www.open-books.org. Info about the collection: mattoshea@the19thward.com.

Share the Harvest. Grace Seeds Ministry is a “greenhouse” for the seeds of God’s love, justice and peace that are germinating in us, in our communities and in the world God loves. Morgan Park Presbyterian Church is a partner in Share the Harvest, Grace Seeds Ministry’s food pantry program, which inspires congregations to grow fresh produce in their gardens then donate the harvest to food pantries across Chicago. To participate in growing produce next season, call the church office, 773-779-3355.  To make a tax deductible donation to Grace Seeds Ministry, send cash or check to Grace Seeds Ministry, PO Box 1378, Bedford Park, IL  60499-1378. Info: graceseedsministry.org.

Snowball Party and Collection. 22nd District Police CAPS beat facilitators are collecting funds, gift cards, school materials and personal grooming items for its 2nd annual holiday party to benefit the families of 10 homeless kids who attend elementary schools in our district, Sat., Dec. 9, 1:30 p.m., at the Station, 1900 W. Monterey Ave.  Officers work with local school principals to select families and invite them to the luncheon with police, pastors, principals and community volunteers. On the night before the luncheon, local students transform the room to a winter wonderland at a holiday tree decorating party. Individuals and businesses are welcome to contribute gifts and necessities such as toiletries, household cleaning items, coats, bath items and more. For info on how you can help, call the 22nd District CAPS office, 312-745-0620.

Cheers for Charity. The 9th Annual Cheers for Charity Christmas Party will be held Thurs., Dec. 21. 7 to 10 p.m., Cork and Kerry, 10614 S. Western, raising funds to help local families in need. $40 minimum donation. The needy families are suggested by local charitable organizations, and their identities are kept private. The party raises funds to give the families a chance to enjoy the holiday season.

Help for the Homeless.  Carly Carney of Beverly Yoga Center, 1917 W. 103rd St., 2nd floor, is collecting men’s warm winter coats and blankets for the Lower Wacker Mission for the Homeless. Donations may be dropped off anytime in front of the studio on the second floor. Info: beverlyyogacenter@gmail.com or 773-239-9642.

Angel Babies. Marlene’s Angel Babies Foundation accepts donations of wedding dresses that are deconstructed to become burial attire for babies who are stillborn or have died in infancy.  The foundation operates citywide; the local representative Mikki Carping, 708-906-0327.

The Blue House. The Catholic Youth Ministry Center at Morgan Park High School, 1825 W. Monterey Ave., more commonly known as The Blue House, is the only program of its kind associated with a Chicago Public High School, providing a “home away from home” where there is always someone for students to talk to. Volunteers can help by presenting Career Exploration Workshops, or facilitating interactive educational workshops on topics such as college essays and applications, money management and social media safety. Plumbers, electricians and handymen are always needed to help maintain the old house. Info: Peggy Goddard, 773-881-0193

I Am Who I Am Foundation. Teens and adults with special abilities who package, label and create artwork, and sell I am . . . bath and body products for the I Am Who I Am Foundation, receive a percentage of the sales.  The non-profit organization advocates for people with special needs. I Am . . . products are available at Murray’s Browse and Brew, 3545 W. 99th St., and www.iam-whoiam.com.

Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club. Women who care deeply about being of service are invited to learn more about joining the Morgan Park Junior Woman’s Club. The Juniors provide a variety of service and fund raising project throughout the year. On Dec. 8, Club members will provide a luncheon for Department of Veterans’ Affairs Vet Center at 87th and Kedzie.   On Dec. 16, the club is participating in Wreaths Across America, a nationwide initiative to, on the same day at the same time, lay wreaths on at the graves of fallen soldiers in military cemeteries.  They will lay wreaths at Abraham Lincoln Cemetery.  This month the club will visit the Family Rescue Woman’s Shelter on the East side to present Holiday Gift Bags; collecting treats and paperbacks to send overseas to military troops; and organizing the Work Out to Wipe Out Domestic Violence event that will be held ton Mar. 24 to benefit A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park. Info: Cynthia Heywood, cahg927@yahoo.com.

Friends of the Forest Preserves. Friends of the Forest Preserves is the only independent non-profit organization solely focused on the Forest Preserves of Cook County. They are the voice of a diverse community inspiring and organizing people to protect, restore, and expand the forest preserves in Cook County. Through political advocacy, ecological stewardship, and community engagement, they ensure the forest preserves will always be a source of education, enjoyment, and recreation. Locally they are stewards of Dan Ryan Woods, working on invasive species removal and improving the trails. Donations will help fund conservation and outreach programs. Info: fotfp.org/donate or contact Ilana Federman, ilana@fotfp.org or 312-356-9990.

Business Attire Clothing Drive. Donate new and gently used men’s and women’s business clothing through Dec. 15 at the 19th Ward Office, 10400 S. Western, weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Info: 773-445-8128 or repfranhurley@gmail.com. All items benefit The Find Your Future program which helps young men and women dress for success and land that first job

Restock the Food Pantry Drive. The Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association will host a non-perishable food drive in January to help re-stock the shelves of the Maple/Morgan Park Food Pantry after the holiday season. Collection boxes will be located at various Beverly/Morgan Park businesses and monetary donations will also be accepted. Info: Caroline Connors, 773-779-2530

RPAC Campaigns to Save Ridge Park

 
By Mary Jo Viero, President, Ridge Park Advisory Committee

Local organizations and residents have been voicing concern about the condition of the Ridge Park fieldhouse for many years. As the leadership of the Chicago Park District determines its budget for FY18 the rehabilitation of Ridge Park should be the top priority. The fieldhouse is an important part of our community, keeping the building in good repair should be expected. However, severe issues plague the facility including a leaky roof and rotting windows; the building is not ADA accessible; lighting is outdated and inefficient; and the kitchen, gymnasium and auditorium all need significant improvements.

Ridge Park draws over 6000 people annually for programming alone and consistently ranks 3rd among all 580 city parks for program participation. That does not include the 30,000+ people each year who gather at the park for community events like the Beverly Breast Cancer Walk, Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade.  Additionally, Ridge Park is home to the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association Gallery, a multi-million dollar art collection. Unfortunately, this collection is suffering damage from the leaking roof.

After being pushed back several times, the RPAC was told that work on the roof is supposed to begin in mid-October – if true this is great news for our park and community!  We hope that the park gets the new roof it needs – The RPAC was formed to focus on the restoration and continued maintenance of the field house and the grounds, and we are determined to fight for what Ridge Park deserves.  Sadly, as we all know a new roof is only the beginning and we ask that the community join the RPAC in standing up for Ridge Park.

On Sept. 19, 2017 members of the RPAC and the community (both young and old) gathered together at the Chicago Park District budget hearing to advocate for a complete facility restoration to save Ridge Park!  While we recognize and respect the fact that managing a budget for hundreds of public parks in a large and diverse city is no easy task, and we’re grateful for recent improvements to the Ridge Park baseball fields and tennis courts, we believe major improvements are past due at this community treasure.

Please join us, there is strength in numbers! Demand that the Ridge Park Fieldhouse is treated like the treasure it is.

For information on how you can help, email Mary Jo Viero, mjviero@bapa.org.

‘Elevation’ Explores The Rise of Beverly/Morgan Park

Beverly Arts Center is anchor site for Chicago Architecture Biennial

By Grace Kuikman

Long, long before the architects designed the hilltop mansions that help to define the built form of what is now Beverly/Morgan Park, glaciers carved out the topography of the area, inch by inch, leaving behind the highest hill in Chicago.

“Elevation,” a major exhibition that opens on Sept. 17 at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., captures the impressive rise of Beverly/Morgan Park and how its elevation continues to inspire the beauty and culture of the community. The exhibit is the central focus of the BAC’s contribution to the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial, a city-wide exploration of how the past, present and future converge to create Chicago’s neighborhoods. The Biennial runs mid-September through early January, with the Chicago Cultural Center as the central location, and several anchor sites – including the BAC – that will offer a variety of artistic and inventive programming around the theme “Make New History.”

The inaugural Biennial was held in 2015, the manifestation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s vision for an international architecture event. The successful Biennial was developed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. This year’s event brings the focus out into Chicago’s neighborhoods. It is the largest architecture and design exhibition in North America, and features presentations by more than 140 participants from 20+ countries.

The Beverly Arts Center’s selection as one of a half dozen anchor sites is quite prestigious, and provides a spectacular opportunity to showcase the neighborhood.

“Beverly/Morgan Park is arguably the most architecturally significant residential neighborhood in the city,” said architect James Gorski, founding principal of Bureau of Architecture and Design and Beverly/Morgan Park resident. Gorski is the visionary talent behind the “Elevation” exhibit at the BAC.  “[The community’s] extraordinary glacial beginnings and resulting topography combined with the mid-19th century introduction of the Rock Island commuter rail spurred a steady development of well-designed and crafted residences from the late 19th century through the building boom of post-World War II.”

Using architectural installations, maps and photographs, “Elevation” will be located the BAC’s Simmerling Gallery and offer a compelling encounter that illustrates how the massive glaciers literally shaped our community and, millions of years later, provided an inspiring palate for renowned architects like Frank Lloyd Wright, H.H. Waterman, Walter Burley Griffin, G. W. Maher, Edward Dart and many others.

“The exhibition celebrates Beverly/Morgan Park’s exceptional history and architectural pedigree while seeking to engage the local and visiting community in a dialog for the future vision of the neighborhood,” Gorski said.

Gorski designed the exhibition and has worked closely with other local talents whose efforts are bringing “Elevation” to reality. Photographer Rebecca Healy has photographed more than 60 local buildings, capturing the artistry and unique design elements of their craftmanship. Her photos will reflect how today’s community has evolved from its historical roots.

“I approached shooting each piece of architecture from an artistic prospective, making sure to include the defining aspects of each building,” Healy said. She considered not just the building but the context of surrounding environment that, in a neighborhood like this, contributes so much to the overall artistry and impact.

Edris Hoover of Ridge Historical Society assisted Gorski with research into the earliest days of the area, helping to uncover information about the path of the glacier that created the Blue Island Ridge and the shores of Lake Chicago which once reached way beyond Longwood Drive then receded to what we know as Lake Michigan; the history of the area’s early native American residents and the influx of the pioneers who first built log cabins in the heavily wooded surroundings once known as Horse Thief Hollow; and the profound influence of the architects and home builders who, following the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, were so attracted to the hilly, rustic area just 30 minutes from the the city on the new commuter train.

Mauricio Caslan, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who works with Gorski at his architecture firm, helped to design the exhibit installations. Andy Horin of Plateau Properties helped Gorski build them.  Main Street Beverly blogger Jeff Danna provided ideas based on his quest to foster urban walkability and connectedness in residential and commercial areas.

Exhibition visitors will be pivotal in the Make New History component of the Biennial at the BAC. In the gallery, through programs, in poster-making and in other arenas, they will be asked to share their ideas for how Beverly/Morgan Park may look and function in the future.

Chicago Architecture Biennial Schedule at BAC

The official unveiling of the elevation themed mural by Elaine Miller, will be Sept. 10, 10 a.m., in the city parking lot at 95th and Longwood Drive. The mural was commissioned by the Beverly Arts Center as a gift to the community, and funded by a grant from the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

The “Elevation” exhibition will open to the general public on Sept, 17, 2 to 4 p.m., in the Simmerling Gallery at the BAC. In addition to the expansive installation and art in the gallery, the Biennial exhibits in other BAC gallery spaces will feature watercolors of neighborhood institutions by artist Judie Anderson and architectural photographs by Mati Maldre from his comprehensive documentation of Beverly/Morgan Park architecture for exhibit at the Chicago Architecture Foundation in1986. Photos from Maldre’s exhibit are used in BAPA’s Historic Homes brochure which will be available at the BAC to encourage people to continue their “Elevation” experience by exploring the neighborhood.

During the Beverly Art Walk on Oct, 7, BAC Biennial visitors will enjoy hands-on activities for kids that include building a Lego city and creating posters of what Beverly/Morgan Park will look like in the future.

On Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., the BAC will host a panel discussion with the Chicago Architecture Biennial south side anchor sites on how the arts affect neighborhoods. Participating are BAC, Hyde Park Art Center, DuSable Museum and National Museum of Mexican Art.

Planned programs also include a teen studio workshop on Nov. 18, and ongoing activities.

For more information on local Biennial events and programs, contact the Beverly Arts Center, 773-445-3838 or www.beverlyartcenter.org. For information on citywide activities for the Biennial, visit chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.