This month, Michele Pettiford steps into her new role as president of the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) Board of Directors. She plans to “hit the ground running,” looking back at the lessons of 2020 to evaluate BAPA’s goals for 2021.
“We are still navigating an international pandemic that has impacted every aspect of our daily lives,” Pettiford said. “Last year, BAPA’s staff devoted countless hours to managing a new normal, creating innovative programs like the Porch Concert Series and Garden Walk; devoting time and energy to assist local businesses and pour economic resources into commercial districts through the 12 Weeks of Christmas Raffle; helping to feed the hungry; and being a liaison and resource for local schools.”
All of these aspects will transition into BAPA’s platform for 2021.
“BAPA will continue to be adaptive and responsive to the needs of our community with an increased emphasis on safety, Board engagement with organizations, and, most importantly, staying relevant and ensuring the vitality of our Beverly/Morgan Park community” she said.
Although Pettiford has been a neighborhood resident for 14 years, she retains a deep appreciation for the connection, caring and commitment that makes the community so special. “There has been a light in all of this darkness and that is you — our neighbors, business owners, school administrators, and essential workers. Without you and your continued support both in person and financially, this wouldn’t be the Village in the City,” she said.
Pettiford was raised in central Illinois and her husband, Jeff, is from South Holland. While living in Logan Square, the couple would pass through Beverly/Morgan Park en route to visit Jeff’s grandmother at what is now Smith Village.
“We would drive down Longwood and see the houses,” Pettiford recalled. “It looked like a good place to raise kids and be a family.”
Pettiford has never lost that feeling for the core values, kindness among neighbors, and support for community institutions that she found here. As a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, she doesn’t just show houses to prospective buyers, she gives them a sense of what it’s like to be part of our community, introducing them to local businesses, restaurants and organizations. “I want people coming into the community to see what I’ve been able to see and to experience what I’ve experienced,” she said.
It is a philosophy she also brings to her roles as a member of Christ the King Parish and A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park Board of Directors, Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association and 95th Street Business Association, and in her support of Mercy Home for Boys and Girls and Blue Cap. Michele and Jeff Pettiford have two children, Burk, 12 and Francesca, 9, both students at CK.
Also joining the BAPA Board in 2021 are Mike Martin, Abby Mazza, Maggie O’Reilly and Kellianne McDonough. They will be profiled in the February issue of The Villager.
Special thanks to retiring BAPA Board members, Maureen Gainer Reilly (president) and Heather Wills (BAPA Education Committee chair). Both plan to remain active with the organization.