By Tim Moran
North Beverly neighbors and longtime BAPA supporters Collins and Mary Fitzpatrick have lived in the same house two blocks from Christ the King church for nearly 50 years now.
In that half century, the couple have been part of countless projects improving the quality of life in the neighborhood as involved members of BAPA and the Beverly Improvement Association (BIA).
“It’s a great community,” Collins Fitzpatrick said.
“We couldn’t even imagine moving anywhere else,” Mary Fitzpatrick added.
Much of what makes North Beverly the great area it is are the amenities the Fitzpatricks, as members of BIA, have worked to bring there. Cross country skiing in the Dan Ryan Woods, a softball backdrop at Cosme Park, the gym at Christ the King School, and the playground outside Kellogg Elementary School are just some of the neighborhood staples the group has been part of since Collins Fitzpatrick joined some 40 years ago.
North Beverly “has become a place in which there’s quite a bit to do right out the door,” Mary said.
Included along the neighborhood’s northeastern edges are major points on the Major Taylor Trail. Both avid bikers, Collins and Mary have long frequented the paved bikeway.
Collins, however, remembers a time when the trail was in jeopardy.
“When the freight tracks on Beverly Avenue were condemned, there was a big effort to convert that to a bike path, and that became the Major Taylor Trail,” Collins said. “There was a guy from the suburbs who wanted to buy the land and turn it into row houses. But the Forest Preserves was able to acquire the land. It was pretty neat to save that.”
Mary Fitzpatrick’s involvement in the Garden Club of Morgan Park Beverly Hills led to the beautification of Cosme Park, a gateway to the neighborhood overlooking the 91st Street Metra station; the club’s efforts extend throughout the community. Mary has been with the gardening group throughout its decades of existence and at one point served as its president.
“I love the cultural trips and the home garden tours” organized by the group, she said.
The Fitzpatricks have been longtime supporters of the Beverly Area Planning Association as donors, event participants and volunteers. They encourage more neighborhood residents to do like them and give where they live.
“BAPA brings everybody together,” Collins Fitzpatrick said. “I’d prefer to see 90 percent or more of the people contribute regularly, even if it’s just 10 bucks a month.”