Weeding Wednesdays Keep Public Spaces Tidy

 By Abby Johnson 

Mary Jo Viero didn’t like the weeds she saw piling up alongside the train tracks at the 103rd Street Station. It was a jarring sight, she said. Hideous greenery had burst from the ground and settled into the cracks and crevices of the pavement, much like unwelcome house guests.  

“It was a terrible representation of our neighborhood,” said Viero, who is the Community Organizer for BAPA. “We had to do something about it.” 

So they did. BAPA workers Grace Kuikman, Jennifer Alving and Margot Holland tossed a few brooms and rakes into the back of Viero’s SUV and drove to the disheveled lot. There they spent the morning removing weeds and picking up trash and leaves. Three hours later, the area looked transformed. The unwanted greens had been removed, and the seed for BAPA’s Weeding Wednesdays had been planted.  

This summer marks the third year of what began as Viero’s drive to remove an eyesore. Starting this month, a different clean-up location will be selected every Wednesday. BAPA staff and volunteers will meet from 8:30 to about 10 a.m. to pull weeds, remove litter and trim overgrown plantings.  

Volunteers are welcome to join. Viero said she understands that time constraints can make it hard for people to give back to their community, but hopes that people who love gardening and love our beautiful community can find some time to help out on a Wednesday morning this summer and early fall.  

“People are always so busy that going out and doing some good for the community can fall to the wayside,” she said. “We want to present them with some opportunities so they see how easy it is to get involved.” 

And Weeding Wednesdays are good for the neighborhood, too. Areas around the Rock Island Metra and the Forest Preserves rarely see primping and are always in need of rejuvenation.  Viero wants Weeding Wednesdays to serve as inspiration. Even if you can’t participate in the weekly cleanups, Viero said, try to do something similar on your own time.  

“Find your own infuriating outdoor mess and spend some time cleaning it up. Where ever it may be.” 

Village Viewpoint: 100 Amazing Days

By Susan Flood, BAPA Executive Director

I have just completed my first 100 days as Executive Director of BAPA, and, I have to tell you, I am amazed by what this organization and its community of volunteers accomplishes.  

I can’t begin to count the number of times that people ask me, “What does BAPA do?” BAPA does so much, it’s hard to answer that question when I’m asked. I’m glad to get the question in these early days, even when I’m shopping at County Fair or having dinner at Open Outcry or rushing to make it to a hair appointment at Everything’s Relative, but my preferred response is “how much time do you have?”  

Now that I have 100 days in on the job (or should I call it a mission?), I think the focus of BAPA is the amazing effect our events have on our community – like the recent Home Tour and Ridge Run; our meetings – like our recent On The Table discussion of proactive housing preservation; and the community Clean and Green where groups worked at locations all over the neighborhood to clear away the grubby winter debris and let the promise if spring plantings shine through.  

BAPA’s brings people together for community-buildings, gather groups of experts and “idea” people to take a hard look at small problems that could become big problems and mobilize the people and resources to implement those solutions.  We put important tools into people’s hands, and put them to work on a task that will makes our community stronger today, and maintains the often forgotten priority of how this will affect our future.  

I didn’t have to look hard to see how this community is transformed when BAPA rallies people around an event or a cause. This was another amazing – and heartwarming – 100 days of discovery. You see, BAPA is operated by a very small staff of four dynamic people who understand that BAPA cannot accomplish what it does without the commitment of hundreds of volunteers and even more donors.  

This was my first time as a “BAPA insider” for the Home Tour and Ridge Run. I know “amazing” is the theme of this column, but “amazing” doesn’t come close to capturing the extent of how well planned, managed and presented these events are. Nearly 150 volunteers make the Home Tour happen. Nearly 200 are needed for the Ridge Run. When you see those Love Where You Love t-shirts all over the neighborhood, those people are BAPA volunteers – please say “Thanks.” 

BAPA’s Education Committee has liaisons in every public school to stay aware of school needs and issues, recognize students and staff for their achievement and provide resources.  

BAPA’s Safety Committee is working with important information gathered in our recent safety survey and from the police who supported the community-wide safety meeting held last fall.  

BAPA staff works every day on issues that range from beautification through Openlands grants and Weeding Wednesdays to keeping neighbors informed through The Villager and weekly enews, to partnering with area organizations, officials and City departments to make sure Beverly/Morgan Park gets its fair share of resources and opportunities.  

What does BAPA do? 

BAPA forges the connections that make us neighbors and friends, fights to preserve the uniquely outstanding architecture that defines the character of our community, provides one-on-one assistance when neighbors are having problems as well as “muscle” when bigger problems need to be tackled. 

What Does BAPA do? BAPA brings about the change we want to see..  

The Way I See It

By Maureen Gainer Reilly, BAPA Board President   

On Sun., May 20, we saw yet another successful BAPA Home Tour where over 800 visitors, both local and Citywide, were treated to a look inside five unique, fabulous homes in our beautiful neighborhood.   

I am overwhelmed at the amount of people in Beverly Morgan Park who share their time, talent and treasure to support BAPA.   

For over a decade local rock star volunteers Kathy Sanders and Katie Durkin have run the event along with BAPA staff member Grace Kuikman. This small but mighty team coordinated over 130 (yes, 130!) volunteers who worked the tour. A special thanks to those who return year after year to support the event like the Morgan Park Juniors, the Beverly Juniors, the Beverly Hills Garden Club and a couple groups of friends who have been working houses together for ages. These fabulous groups are in addition to the five generous (and brave) homeowners who open their doors for hundreds of people to stream through their properties.   

In addition to raising funds to support BAPA’s programming there are other benefits of the tour that are harder to quantify; a young couple who decides to buy here, new patrons for the businesses on the tour, renovations for local contractors after people are inspired by creative ideas, and, most importantly,  the opportunities for connection and community.   

This event was manned by volunteers of all ages, races, religious affiliations and neighborhood areas and this is a testament to the team that has built this into an iconic event for all of Beverly/Morgan Park.  Our beautiful houses and area architecture define the tour but the real stars are the people who make the Home Tour so welcoming and who bring it alive.  The nurse who yelled out, “You all passed your stress test!” to the guests when they made it up the steep hill on Longwood Drive, the docent who told us about a family of raccoons that ate through the walls of one house, and the lively stories of an owner’s aunt in the state department who was kidnapped twice but still managed to bring back the artifacts on display we all got to enjoy.   

Thank you Kathy, Katie, Grace; the talented Home Tour committee that includes Robin Harmon, Molly Sullivan, Michele Pettiford, Anne O’Shea, Chanelle Rogers and Gael Mennecke; and the 130 volunteers and homeowners who make me Love Where I Live!  

Tech Tuesdays Empower Seniors to Use Technology 

AT&T, Smith Village and BAPA have teamed up to help seniors take full advantage of using their iPhones, iPads and other devices at Tech Tuesdays, June 5, 12, 19 and 26, 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl. Tech Tuesdays are supported by a generous grant from AT&T. 

“At AT&T, our employees are helping seniors to better connect to their world,” said Paul La Schiazza, AT&T Illinois President.  “Seniors are using new technologies more than ever before, empowering them to be more active, independent and engaged. We’re thrilled to support these Tech Tuesdays to help our seniors learn more and improve their lives.” 

The hands-on classes will be taught by Claire Richards, founder of Amplify 7, and will cover the basics of how to use tech devices, and detailed instruction on the most popular applications and information and communication services available at one’s fingertips. 

“The classes are designed to educate seniors on tacking everyday tech issues from texting to saving photos to posting on Facebook,” Richards said. “Our goal is to help people get the most out of using their devices.” 

Richards graduated with her MBA in marketing and social media from Saint Xavier University in 2013. She is the founder of Amplify7, a marketing boutique that optimizes online presence for businesses. They develop websites, graphics, logos, marketing campaigns, and manage social media accounts to build brand awareness and boost sales.   

Tech Tuesday students are asked to bring the devices they want to learn more about using to classes, and be prepared to use those devices. Students who attend all four classes will be placed into a raffle to win an iPad. The raffle is sponsored by Smith Village.  

Classes are: 

Learn Your Phone, June 5. This class will cover all the basics of using your device, from setting volume and font sizes to how to manage storage and download apps, and more.  

All About Photos, June 12. Learn how to take, edit, share, save to other devices and post photos.  

Texting, Email and Storage, June 19. Master texting, group texting, how to add contacts, how to use video chat apps like Skype and Facetime, and more.   

Use Your Apps, June 26. Learn how to use apps that provide helpful information, entertainment and social connection, such as Facebook, Twitter, weather, photo editing and more.  

Tech Tuesday classes are free but space is limited. Smith Village residents can sign up at the front desk. Sign up is also available at or by calling BAPA, 773-233-3100. For more info about Amplify 7, visit .  

Art and Culture at the Ridge Park Art Fair

 By Krsistin Boza 

The inaugural Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival is slated for Sat., June 23 at the Ridge Park Cultural Center, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. As a joint effort between the Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC), the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association and the Chicago Park District, the art fair promises to bring art, culture and fun to the community. 

Irene Testa, president of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, came up with the idea of the summertime art festival to enhance the rise of the vibrant arts community in Beverly/Morgan Park.  

“Artists need our support and their contributions to society are not adequately acknowledged and rewarded,” Testa said. “The Art Fair fits perfectly with the mission of the John H. Vanderpoel Art Association, which is to aid children and adults in acquiring a knowledge of and an appreciation for art.” 

The Art Fair is supported by Ridge Park supervisor Dan Ryan, and RPAC, led by Mary Jo Viero. Testa says that the assistance and support from the park district and RPAC has been invaluable to gaining momentum for the Art Fair. 

Forty-one artists will open booths at the Art Fair, selling their art and chatting with attendees. Participating artists will be selling paintings, photos, jewelry, ceramics, and even dolls.  

“I invite the public to support the artists by purchasing their art. It takes a lot of work to set up a booth and dedicate a day to selling their creations,” Testa said. “Let’s make it a rewarding day for the artists, and the community will benefit from having an Art Fair right here in Beverly.”  

The Ridge Park Art Fair will also offer visitors many opportunities to experience community fun. The ceramics studio at Ridge Park and the Vanderpoel Gallery will be open for tours, and local artist Judie Anderson will create a watercolor rendition of Ridge Park during the event. 

Families with young children are welcomed as well, and a bounce house will be set up for the kids to enjoy. Three food trucks will be selling food onsite, including Calabria’s, Pollo Locuas and Smokin’ BBQ Kitchen. Attendees can also dance and enjoy live music. 

For more information, visit the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival website at 

Zeshan B and the Transistors at Beverly Art Center June 22 

Zeshan Bagewadi, one of the Rolling Stone’s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, will be performing Fri., June 22, 8 p.m., at the Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St.  Zeshan B and the Transistors will play a concert that mixes Memphis R&B, Chicago Blues and the sounds of Bagewadi’s roots in India and Pakistan.  

Zeshan B and the Transistors is composed of some of Chicago’s brightest musical talent. Now on tour, they performed at the Lincoln Center in New York last month and will be at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee in June before heading to Chicago for their concert at the BAC.   

Born in Chicago, Zeshan B’s distinctive musical style was formed by the influences of the local music scene as well as the music played in his home. Bagewadi’s parents are from India, and exposed their son to traditional Indo-Pakistani music in addition to an extensive collection of music from the 1960s and 1970s, including blues, soul and R&B.  

Music lovers and the media took notice when Zeshan B released “Vetted” in 2017. The album charted at 8 on Billboard’s Top Ten Albums (World Music), and received excellent reviews from Rolling Stone, NPR, ABC, and the Times of India. Zeshan B’s hit single, a cover of George Perkins’ 1970 civil rights-inspired “Cryin’ in the Streets” that resonates with today’s social justice and political issues, earned high praise from American Songwriter (which called it “an anthem for modern protesters”), New York Times, Chicago Tribune and other media.  

Tickets for Zeshan B and the Transistors are $27 ($24 for Beverly Arts Center members) and available at, the BAC, 111th and Western, Chicago, or by phone 773-445-3838.  

Guide to Staycations in Beverly/Morgan Park 

By Kristin Boza 

Why go on vacation when there’s so much to do here in the neighborhood? There’s lots to experience throughout the summer; check out this guide to the perfect Beverly/Morgan Park Staycation. 

Explore the Parks 

Dan Ryan Woods (enter parking lots from Western Avenue between 83rd and 87th Streets). Explore all 257 acres of the Dan Ryan Woods. Aside from the well-known paved trails and sledding hill (which is also great for rolling down in the summer), take a step further into the natural areas to see native plants and migratory birds. Take a bike ride along the Major Taylor Trail, and enjoy a picnic in one of the many sheltered areas dotted throughout the preserve. Check the Cook County Forest Preserves District website for activities at the woods and other preserves. 

Beverly Park, 2460 W. 102nd St. While the playground is receiving a much-anticipated renovation to be completed by Sept.ember, families can still enjoy the fields surrounding the playground and paved trail. On Tues., July 17 at 8:15 p.m., grab a blanket and snacks and enjoy a screening of the Disney movie ‘Monsters, Inc.’  

Kennedy Park, 11320 S. Western Ave. Numerous baseball/softball fields, a paved trail, and an enclosed playground make Kennedy Park a destination for every family member. Strap on some rollerblades and engage in a friendly roller hockey game at the Blackhawks Roller Hockey Rink located on the south side of the park building. The pool opens on Fri., June 15; visit the park district building to obtain a pool pass for Chicago residents. 

Shakespeare in the Park at Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Enjoy this free outdoor performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,”, performed by the Chicago Shakespeare Theater actors on Tues., Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. Ridge Park has an indoor pool, walking path, ball fields, a playground, a work-out room, and “artsy” options like the woodshop and ceramics studio.  

Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd St., offers fun activities inside and out. The fieldhouse has an auditorium, science lab and woodshop. Outdoors, there’s a water park, tennis courts, a playground and baseball and soccer fields.  

Munroe Park, 2617 W. 105th St., offers sand volleyball and tennis courts, as well as baseball diamonds and a soft-surface running track. There is a theater program for adults and kids, including Theater and Arts and Crafts summer camps.  

Experience Art, Music and History 

“Quantum Me,” 99th and Walden Pkwy. Take a mind-bending photo in the reflective surface of this unique sculpture that people are already calling the Beverly Bean, then head over to Pizzeria Deepo, 1742 W. 99th St., for a deep dish pizza. Don’t forget to BYOB and request to sit in the outdoor garden. 

Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival, 1817 W. 96th St. Plan to spend Sat., June 23 at the Ridge Park Art Fair & Festival — measure your walls before you come so you know what size painting to look for from the talented array of artists selling their creations. Stay to enjoy a tour of the Vanderpoel Gallery (located on the 2nd floor of the Ridge Park fieldhouse), food trucks, live music, and community camaraderie. 

Live Music Mondays at BAC, 2407 W. 111th St. Beginning Mon., June 4 and ending on Mon., Aug. 6, head to the courtyard at the BAC from 7 to 9 p.m. to enjoy live music. A $5 donation is requested, and beverages are available for purchase. 

Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley Ave. Learn how our neighborhood came to be what it is today by learning about the past at Ridge Historical Society. The Ridge Historical Society is open Mon., Weds. and Fri. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Family Fun Nights (various locations). Geared toward the stroller set, enjoy kid-friendly music, food and more at BAPA’s Family Fun Nights, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Thursdays, June 14, 21 and 28. (look for an article with details elsewhere in this issue of The Villager.) 

Sporting Events 

Beverly Hills Tennis Club, 9121 S. Hamilton, is a private club that opened in 1919 with one court, and now has 8 courts (4 of which are lighted for night play). The club also has platform tennis, a clubhouse and more. People interested in learning more can attend the open house, Sun., June 10, 1 to 7 p.m. There will be free mini-lessons, refreshments, a chance to play on the courts and information on the membership financing special. 

Morgan Park Sports Center, 11505 S. Western Ave. There’s something for everyone at MPSC. From yoga and fitness classes for adults, to gymnastics and hockey, sign up for summer sessions or drop-in classes. Afterwards, head across the street for a Chicago-style hot dog at the new Joey’s Red Hots to complete a perfect summer afternoon. 

Beverly Hills Cycling Classic. Watch road racers tear through the streets of Beverly/Morgan Park at the annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic on Fri., July 20. Enjoy food trucks, craft beers, and activities for the kids to keep everyone entertained on a hot summer night. New location and race route at 101st and Longwood Drive!  

Beyond Our Borders 

One of the cool parts of living in Beverly/Morgan Park is how easy it is to jump on the Metra and head downtown. Metra offers $10 weekend passes for Saturdays and Sundays that can be used in conjunction with Metra family fares.  

Your Attention Please! Family Fun Nights Now Arriving at Your Station

By Abby Johnson

Spice up your daily home commute with live music, fun activities and good food at BAPA’s 3rd annual Family Fun Nights. The celebratory summer kick-off is coming to a station near you on Thursdays, June 14, 21 and 28 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. 

“It’s a great opportunity for people to spend time with their families and mingle with their neighbors,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “You’re on the same train with the same people every day, but how many times do you actually talk to each other?” 

Family Fun Nights was started in 2015 for this exact reason: To encourage neighbors to get to know each other. To make friends of what may be only friendly faces. Now the festivities are in their third year, and their popularity, their symbolizing of Beverly as a familial neighborhood, are what make Flood proud of continuing this tradition.  

“One of our goal’s at BAPA is to make our community more than a place where people live,” Flood said. “We want the Beverly Hills/Morgan Park neighborhood to feel like home. We want residents to love where they live.” 

Of course, these events must be planned with the children in mind. That’s why the “Meet Mom ‘N’ Dad at the Metra” is the theme for the third year in a row. With a bouncy house, face painting and sidewalk chalk available at every station, there are plenty of activities to keep the kids busy. Food and beverages will be available for purchase from the Calabria Imports food truck and Sweet Freaks Chocolates will be selling desserts. 

While the event hasn’t wavered from its original purpose, its location has changed. For the first time, Family Fun Nights are “on the move”, advancing from one Metra station to another, much like the trains that run alongside them. This year, the festivities will take place at three locations, as opposed to the previous years’ steady 103rd St. spot. Flood said the move is an attempt to bring attention to other gathering places throughout the neighborhood. The fun nights have been so popular, they begged for expansion, she said. 

“We want people from all across the neighborhood to have the chance to join in the fun,” Flood said. 

The festivities will take place at a different Metra station every Thursday, beginning Jun. 14 at 91st St Station/Maggie Cosme Park, 9201 S. Longwood Dr., where guests can participate in soccer drills with Kics United, listen to a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir and practice tennis drills with the Beverly Hills Tennis Club. Kids can also learn about animals and nature with Erin Yanz of Nature’s Creatures. 

Commuters of the 99th St Station can enjoy the festivities Jun. 21, which will feature Live Music with Bridget and Garrett at Tranquility Stage, an arts/crafts table and Nature’s Creatures. The caboose arrives at 111th St. Station for the final gathering on Jun. 28, where children can enjoy a petting zoo from Miss Jamie’s Farm. 

Sponsors of this year’s event are Little Company of Mary Hospital, Mike Haggerty Buick GMC, Beverly Bank & Trust, Office of the 19th Ward, Beverly Improvement Association, AT&T, Shops of Walden, and Beverly Ridge Homeowners Association. 


Check Out What’s New at the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic 

New location! 

New course! 

More races! 

The Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) presents the 16th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic: Bikes and Brews Fri., July 20. The start/finish and festival grounds are moving to the St. Barnabas parish parking lot, 101st and Longwood Drive, and the new 1.54KM criterium course takes riders down Longwood Drive to 100th Street to Winchester to 101st Street to Seeley to 102nd Street and back to Longwood Drive.  

The first day of racing in the Prairie States Cycling Series Intelligentsia Cup, the local event features six exciting pro/am races sure to provide plenty of action for spectators all around the race course.  

The Bikes and Brews festival opens at 4 p.m. and features craft beers from Lagunitas and other favorite breweries including Open Outcry Brewing and Horse Thief Hollow. There will be plenty of food, a kids’ zone, live music following the races, and lots more.  

The Racing 

Founded in 2012 as the Prairie State Cycling Series, the Intelligentsia Cup features top-level professional and elite amateur athletes. The Beverly Hills Cycling Classic will host two juniors races, a Masters’ race, women’s race and two men’s races. Racing starts at 4:15 p.m. 

Be a Volunteer 

Many volunteer opportunities are open for the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, including assistance at the festival site and course marshals around the race course. For information on volunteering, call 773-233-3100 or visit 

The Sponsors 

Beverly Bike Racing Team is the local presenting sponsor of the race. Also sponsoring the event are Mike Haggerty Buick – GMC – Volkswagen, Beverly Bank & Trust, the 19th Ward Youth Foundation, Smith Village, AT&T,  

The Beverly Review, Lagunitas, Horse Thief Hollow, Open Outcry 

For information on becoming a Bikes and Brews sponsor or donating primes for rider prizes, call 773-233-3100.  

BAPA hosts the Beverly Hills Cycling Classic as a community-building summer event. The suggested donation for admission to the Bikes & Brews festival area is $5 and supports BAPA’s community-based programs. 

BAPA, Businesses Win in Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency Competition 

Even though the staff at Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) got its picture taken for winning the Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency March Madness competition, it’s the 11 small businesses who received free energy assessments who are the real winners.  

In early spring, BAPA was among four Chicago organizations selected to participate in a March Madness themed pilot competition.  The goal was to get the most small businesses in the selected communities to schedule free energy assessments provided by the Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency Program.  During March, BAPA shared the information with local businesses through social media and the Villager Weekly Report enews to build participation. 

Businesses that scheduled the assessments benefited from free energy saving products such as programmable thermostats, pipe insulation and faucet aerators. They also were eligible for rebates for energy-efficient upgrades for furnaces and boilers, HVAC optimization, demand-controlled ventilation, and more. These businesses can expect to see a reduction in their energy bills.  

Business owners and homeowners interested in learning more about free energy efficiency products or services can contact the Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency Program at 855-849-8928 or  

BAPA won a $500 prize from Peoples Gas by beating out the other participating organizations. The award was presented by the Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency team in May.   

“We are excited about BAPA’s continued commitment to helping us provide energy-saving opportunities to residents and businesses,” Yvette Pittman, Government and Community Relations, Peoples Gas. “Through our work with the organization, we have continued to boost participation for the Peoples Gas Energy Efficiency Program offerings. We look forward to continuing along this pathway to community savings.” 

Founded in 1947, BAPA is a not-for-profit community based civic organization that serves the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood with programs in business advocacy, housing and housing preservation, safety, school support, events and communications. BAPA is located at 1987 W. 111th St., Chicago. Learn more at