BAPA News: Mike Morrissey Award

Former BAPA Board Member Earns Lifetime Achievement Award 

Anyone who knows Beverly/Morgan Park resident Mike Morrissey understands his dedication to the community he grew up in and still calls home, as well as his fierce commitment as a criminal defense attorney for the last 40 years. Last month, Morrissey was honored with the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (IACDL). 

Morrissey is the current Deputy Public Defender supervising the Felony Trial Division, the Murder Task Force at 26th Street, and the Misdemeanor and Preliminary Hearing Courts. IACDL stated he received the award not only for his dedication to his profession, but also for the hours he has spent mentoring colleagues and his devotion to his family and community.  

Aside from his extensive professional accomplishments, those closer to home know him as a St. Ignatius grad who went on to study at Marquette University and DePaul Law School. At home, he spent time with his family, including wife Nancy, a former Chicago Public Schools teacher, and his five children. He coached baseball for his sons and their friends in the Ridge-Beverly Little League, and served on the BAPA board of directors. 

In 2004, Morrissey received the Chicago Bar Foundation Richard J. Phelan Public Service Award, and in 2016 he received the St. Ignatius Alumni Award for excellence in the law profession. He taught trial advocacy at DePaul for 25 years, and served on the faculty of numerous criminal defense programs and as a member of the Illinois Supreme Court Committee on pattern instructions in criminal cases. 

BAPA thanks Mike Morrissey for his commitment to his career, his family, and his community. His personal, professional, and civic impact is felt far and wide. 

Millerick Named Property Preservation and Safety Coordinator

By Abby Johnson

Twenty-two-year-old Liam Millerick has joined BAPA’s staff as the new Property Preservation and Safety Coordinator. His onboarding comes after Roberta Kleinman, Coordinator of Property Preservation Services, retired earlier this year. 

Millerick is a life-long resident of Beverly/Morgan Park, a graduate of St. Barnabas Elementary School and Brother Rice High School, and he is currently pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy with minors in Urban Studies and Geographic Information Systems from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His work with BAPA officially began in the summer of 2017, but he grew up surrounded by the BAPA name, he said. 

“I heard people talking a lot about the organization, especially my parents,” he said. “I knew it was a pretty integral part of the community.” 

Once he decided to study Public Policy and Urban Studies, he realized involvement with BAPA would provide worthwhile exposure to the type of work he intended to pursue, he said. 

“I figured that if I’m going to work in urban planning, then it’s probably a good idea to understand how my own community works,” he said. “I think it’s great experience for what I might eventually deal with on a much larger scale.” 

Millerick is certainly acquiring this experience. As a Property Preservation and Safety Coordinator, he responds to property complaints, informs residents of zoning restrictions and renovation regulations and directs neighbors to the proper city service departments. It’s a responsibility that he finds challenging, but interesting. 

“It’s difficult at times,” he said. “Sometimes I’m asked a question, and I don’t even know where to begin researching for the answer. But I’m getting the hang of it. Plus, it’s something I enjoy doing.” 

When asked what he has learned within his role so far, Millerick said his job has reminded him of the importance of beautification and preservation initiatives throughout the community.  

“I never really realized how beautiful this neighborhood is until I started working for BAPA,” he said. “Now that I actually work to keep it this way, it’s become a lot more apparent to me.” 

That’s the most important part of his new job, Millerick said. To make sure the Beverly/Morgan Park neighborhood retains its beauty.  

“It’s something that should be around for future generations,” he said. “Just like it was here for me.” 

For property complaints or inquiries, email lmillerick@bapa.org. 

 

BAPA News

Decipher Your Devices at Free Tech Tuesdays  

Are you flummoxed by your phone? Perplexed about your apps? Help is coming soon! 

Responding to the extremely popular series of hands-on technology classes offered by the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) in June, Claire Richards of Amplify7 will return to Smith Village, 2320 W. 110th Pl., with two Tech Tuesday classes this month.  

On Tues., Oct. 9, Richards will cover the Basics of Your Smart Phone including how to change the volume and font size and how to send a text, as well as providing details people need to understand their smart phone. 

On Tues., Oct. 23, Richards will reveal How to take Advantage of Your Phone. In this class, she will cover how to read your notifications, set up your calendar, check your email, and more tasks designed to make your life easier. 

Students are asked to arrive at 9 a.m. and the one-hour, hands-on classes begin at 9:30 a.m.    

Classes are geared to people age 55 and over, and they are free. Students are asked to bring their phone, computer or iPad so they can learn about the devices they will be using.
Advance registration is required; class size is limited.  

Register online at http://bit.ly/TTS2018P2 or by phone at BAPA, 773-233-3100.  

 

So Many Bars. So Little Guilt. 

Tap Into BAPA, the Beverly Area Planning Association’s pub crawl fund raiser is a great way to do what you can (or bottle) to support our community. On Sat., Nov. 10, neighbors who love Beverly/Morgan Park can raise a glass at their favorite Western Avenue watering hole and know that they are imbibing for a good cause. Funds raised at the pub crawl will be invested in BAPA’s work in our community.  

Neighbors and friends age 21 and up are invited to join the fun. Among the pubs that will be serving drink specials during one-hour stops are Barney Callaghan’s, Dingers, Open Outcry and O’Rourke’s Office. More taps are being added! People can join the crawl at any time by starting at that hour’s location. Admission is by donation: $25 in advance or $30 at the door. For more information or advance tickets, visit www.bapa.org.   

 

Holiday Event Yields Sweet Surprises 

Easy steps for holiday fun: 1. Open tin. 2. Insert cookies.  

Beverly Area Planning Association is making collecting cookies especially fun at the 3rd annual Holiday Cookie Crawl, Sat., Dec. 8. Families are invited to purchase a tin then visit participating businesses to do some shopping and pick up a cookie at each stop. Tins must be purchased in advance online for $20 each. The quantity is limited. Look for the release date in the November issue of The Villager and BAPA’s Villager Weekly Report Enews.

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 peoplesgasrebates.com.  

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 www.bapa.org.  

AND Hosts 2017 Benefit

A New Direction Beverly Morgan Park (AND), the local domestic violence agency, will host its 2017 fundraiser on Sat., Oct.  21, 7 to 10 p.m. at Ridge Country Club, 10522 S. California Ave.  Live entertainment provided by the Megan Curran Combo, open bar and hors d’oeuvres highlight this annual event, along with a grand raffle and silent auctions.

A highlight of the evening will be the presentation of the ANDi award to The Quilter’s Trunk, 10352 S. Western.  The ANDi award is an annual partnership award given to an individual, business or agency that helps AND fulfill its mission “to provide counseling, education, support and advocacy to individuals and families affected by domestic violence.”

Since opening The Quilter’s Trunk in 2015, owner, Katie Nathwani, and store manager, Lisa Wilberding recognized that giving back to the community is an important facet of their business. They became active participants in Quilting Magazine’s One Million Pillowcases program, which encourages quilt shops around the country to collect handmade pillowcases for donation to charities.

The Quilter’s Trunk expanded the scope of the program by hosting sewing events to create pillowcases, as well as to collect quilts for donation.

The quilts and pillowcases donated to AND are given to women and children served by the agency. Through daily contact with The Quilter’s Trunk customers, word spread about Nathwani and Wilberding’s program and the response has been remarkable. In its first 18 months with the program, The Quilter’s Trunk donated more than 200 pillowcases and 50 quilts.

“Quilters quilt out of love and are very generous with their time,” said Wilberding.

Kristy Arditti of A New Direction, views the program as a way for men and women in the community to connect with and support the agency’s survivors. “Making things by hand is a lost art and we have been witness to the tremendous comfort these quilts and pillowcases have brought our clients.” Arditti said. “The feeling that they are worthy of such beautiful and painstaking creations is not to be undervalued. They also serve as a physical reminder that our clients are not alone and that they deserve safety and comfort.”

Jessica McCarihan, AND Board president agrees. “Our agency depends on community involvement like this to be successful. We are so grateful to The Quilter’s Trunk for supporting our agency in this way.”

The Quilter’s Trunk is the sixth recipient of the ANDi award. Others are The Women of the Castle; Amy Moran, Alphagraphics; Julie Partacz, Standard Bank; Katie and Patrick Murphy, Sweet Freaks; and Jean Catania and the Morgan Park Juniors.

This AND benefit grand raffle first prize is a week vacation at the Playa Grande Resort in Los Cabos, Mexico and an $800 voucher for airfare.  Second prize is two Southwest Airlines round trip tickets anywhere Southwest flies in the continental United States.  Third prize is an Amazon Echo and three Amazon Dots. Featured silent auction items are: jewelry including a beautiful diamond bracelet; sports tickets; tech items, wine and other gourmet items.

AND provides confidential counseling and advocacy services at no charge to clients as they navigate their journey to safety.  AND’s vision is to have every home be safe and free of domestic violence and abuse.  The goal for the 2017 fundraiser is to increase the amount of funds generated through last year’s event in order to continue to grow and provide services to those affected by domestic violence.

AND invites businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring the event or donating items for the silent auctions to contact Monica Carey, monica@anewdirectionbmp.org.  For more information about A New Direction or to purchase tickets visit www.anewdirectionbmp.org.

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.

Beverly Improvement Association Celebrates 100 Years

By Kristin Boza

It’s always interesting to think about who lived in our neighborhood as it was established so many years ago. The Beverly Improvement Association, a civic association serving North Beverly residents, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, a milestone that goes to show the unique commitment that residents have to the community.

According to a 100th anniversary pamphlet compiled by the BIA, North Beverly has come a long way since 1917. Back then, traffic on 95th Street moved a lot slower on the two-lane gravel country road. Sidewalks were made of five-foot square slabs of smooth stone — some of which still exists on the southwest corner of 94th and Vanderpoel. Street lamps were lit each night with a blow torch by a man on a bicycle. And snow was removed by a man with a team of horses and a v-shaped plow.

Nearly half of the lots between Damen (known then as Robey Street) and Charles were vacant, which caused some concern among the neighbors of 100 years ago. The BIA was organized by people who realized that they needed to come together to take action to improve their community, according to the BIA brochure.

These days, roads are paved, electricity is plentiful and horses are a hobby — but the feeling of community and the desire to continually improve it has remained the same.

“BIA has been a leader amongst local community service organizations in the Beverly/Morgan Park area,” said Joe Kratzer, current BIA president. “BIA will continue its long history of promoting and hosting family-friendly events, which offer neighbors the chance to meet new faces and enjoy the many great community assets in North Beverly. We live in a community where people care about their neighbors, and BIA will be here to ensure that spirit of community is maintained.”

BIA celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 29, the date when the secretary of state issued the charter officially recognizing the organization. While no official 100th anniversary celebration is planned, the BIA is busy with their much-anticipated events, including the Bicycle Treasure Hunt, BIA Fall Fest, BIA Family Bike Ride, cross-country ski outings in the Dan Ryan Woods, and Santa’s Workshop.

BIA members also actively participate in the City of Chicago’s Clean and Green days and other beautification efforts, and help on projects that support North Beverly and the rest of the neighborhood.

To find out more about the BIA, visit their Facebook page: Beverly Improvement Association (BIA).

Neighborhood Notes

Superhero Series at Beverly Library.  Don’t miss the action at Beverly Library, 1962 W. 95th St.! Superhero Ballet for preschoolers, Tues., Aug. 1, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; Masked Heroes of Reading for ages 7 to 16, Thurs., Aug. 3, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.; and Superhero Character Program featuring research, discussion and more for ages 6 and up, Sat., Aug. 5, 2 to 3:30 p.m. Registration required for these programs: 312-747-9673.

Food Truck Fridays. Food Truck Fridays continue this month in the beer garden at Cork & Kerry, 10614 S. Western. Enjoy food in a family-friendly atmosphere on Fridays, 5 to 8 p.m. Aug. 4, Joey’s Red Hots; Aug. 11, The Fat Shallot; Aug. 18, Cheesie’s Truck & Doughs Guys Bakery; and Aug. 25, Calabria On Wheels Beer special available. Info: www.corkandkerry.com.

Top Programs at Little Company of Mary Hospital in August. Little Company of Mary Hospital and Health Care Centers, 2800 W. 95th St., offers a variety of programs that help area residents lead healthier lives. The 30th Annual Men’s Wellness Event, Sat., Aug. 5, 7:30 to 10 a.m., offers breakfast, a presentation on symptoms and treatment for erectile dysfunction, and comprehensive lab work, blood pressure, and PSA and exam with urologist for men at risk for prostate cancer, $85 to $100; Health Academy – “Don’t Get Shingled Out,” what you need to know about shingles presented by infectious disease specialist Dr. Godfredo Carandang, Mon., Aug. 14, 11:15 a.m., free; and, new this summer, Reflexology, a healing modality that stimulates sensitive sensory cells to specific points in areas on the feet, hands, or ears that impact the muscles and internal organs, $50 per session. Info and registration (required), 708-423-5774.

BAC Outreach Offers New Page to Stage Program. Among the new theatre performance outreach programs offered by the Beverly Arts Center (BAC) at area schools is the new Page to Stage program through which students will read and interpret books, then develop an original show based on the story. The Page to Stage program was developed with the assistance of a donation from Michaels. As part of the Outreach curriculum that provides teaching artists for a variety of performance programs, Page to Stage has a goal of helping schools raise test scores, according to information from BAC Outreach Manager Carly Bishop. Teaching artists in participating schools will work with students to read and interpret a book, concentrating on literacy concepts such as plot, character, sequence, dramatic irony, conflict, etc. In the process of creating a show based on the book, students will learn dramatic playwriting terminology not always covered in the classroom, but present on standardized testing, according to Bishop. Students would also help create costumes, set and props, and participate in rehearsals. The show would be presented to the entire school, parents, guardians and friends. The BAC Outreach Department provides arts enrichment programming in theater, dance, music, film and visual arts in before school, in-school, and after school drop-in workshop and residency programs. More than 6000 students in 32 Chicago and suburban public and private schools and community organizations participated in BAC Outreach programs during the 2016-17 school year. Schools interested in learning more about Page to Stage and other theater performance programs, including staging original musicals, can contact Bishop, 773-445-2828 ext. 208 or carly@beverlyartcenter.org.

Live Music Sundays. Enjoy live music on Sundays, 3 to 5 p.m. at Cork & Kerry, 10614 S. Western.

Live Music Mondays. Live Music Mondays features the BAC Cabaret and Open Mic, Mon., Aug. 7, 7 p.m. in the courtyard at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. $5 donation appreciated. Cash bar available. No outside beverages or pets. Bring lawn chairs.

Registration Open for BAC Summer Camps. Area kids who love to perform can still enroll in the last two sessions of summer camps at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. In Original Musical!, campers will work with a professional playwright and composer to write an original musical, which they will perform for a live audience on the final day of camp. The camp runs Mon. through Fri., Aug. 7 to 18. Other performance camps are also available. In The Rhythm is Gonna Get Ya!, campers will take workshops in drumming, body percussion, rhythm and movement, dance, singing, improvisation and more, Mon. through Fri., Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. The session in a showcase in the Baffes Theatre, Camp hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and before and after care are available. Info and registration: 773-445-3838, www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Shakespeare in the Park. The Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks presents a free 75-minute abridged production of Romeo and Juliet on Fri., Aug. 18 and Sat., Aug. 19, 6:30 p.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The Saturday performance includes an American Sign Language interpretation. A specially equipped truck will roll into the park, a stage unfolds, and a company of professional actors shares Shakespeare’s story of star-crossed lovers caught in the feud between the Capulets and Montagues that divides the city of Verona. The performances are made possible by a partnership between Chicago Shakespeare Theater, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Boeing and BMO Harris Bank.

Free Activities at Dan Ryan Woods. Plan to have some fun at the Dan Ryan Woods! Archery 101 covers the history of archery, bow parts and proper technique for participants age 10 and over, Thurs., Aug. 24, 3:30 to 6 p.m., Dan Ryan Woods Central, 8395 S. Western; celebrate the 100th anniversary of the woods with guided hikes, archery, history of the woods and a free Forest Jam concert and instrument-making workshop Sun., Aug. 27, 2 to 7 p.m., Dan Ryan Woods Pavilion. Info: 312-415-2970 or experience.nature@cookcountyil.gov.

Back to School Fest. Barnard School, 10354 S. Charles, will hold Back to School Fest, Thurs., Aug. 24, 4 to 7 p.m. The school will partner with IMPACT Family Services to present the event, which is also supported by BAPA and the 19th Ward and features food, activities and giveaways.

Free Home Buyer Seminar. Ernest Jones, Mortgage Loan Specialist with Marquette Bank, will present a free home buyer seminar Sat., Aug. 26, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the BAPA Community Room, 11109 S. Longwood Dr. Topics include whether to rent or own, understanding the home-buying process, the benefits of working with a real estate agent, kinds of mortgages and how to make an offer. First time buyers can also learn about whether they are eligible to apply for grants that can be applied toward down payments or closing costs. Seating is limited; registration by Aug. 24 at ejones@emarquettebank.com.

BAC Hosts 4th Annual Beverly Brews Fest. The Beverly Arts Center of Chicago will host the 4th annual Beverly Brews Fest Sat., Aug. 26 at the Center, 2407 W. 111th St. The event opens at 7 p.m. for participants purchasing $35 general admission, which includes a sampling glass and unlimited tastings from more than 20 craft breweries, including Open Outcry, Horse Thief Hollow, Blue Island Beer Company, Flossmoor Station and Argus Brewery. Food trucks will be on site to complement the evening’s festivities. People purchasing the $50 VIP ticket gain entry at 6 p.m. and enjoy special food pairings from Horse Thief Hollow, Chef Alvin Green and others, as well as a free t-shirt and beer sampling glass. Only 100 VIP tickets will be available. Live music at the Beverly Brews Fest will be performed by the winners of the BAC’s Battle of the Bands on Fri., Aug. 25. Up to ten bands will compete for prize money and the chance to perform. Battle of the Bands admission is $15 and the audience will have the chance to vote for their favorite band. Tickets to the Beverly Brews Fest and Battle of the Bands are available at the BAC, by calling 773-445-3838 or online at www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Painted Lady Competition. The Chicago Paint and Coatings Association is accepting submissions to the 31st Annual Chicago Finest Painted Ladies and Her Court Competition, open to owners who have completed their exterior painting projects between Labor Day 2016 and Labor Day 2017. Buildings do not have to be Victorian architecture, and can be painted professionally or by the building owner. Entrants will be required to submit photos and paint chips. Applications, photos and competition details are available at 847-240-0102, director@chicagopaint.org or www.chicagopaint.org.

Sip and Shop. Save the date for BAPA’s back-to-school Sip and Shop supporting local businesses, Thurs., Sept. 14 in the train station districts on 99th and 103rd Streets. Included in admission are a Love Where You Live wine tote, beverage and food tastings, trunks shows and demonstrations, and an after party. Look for details in the September issue of The Villager.

Reservations Open for Anti-Bullying Conference. Area resident Dorothy J. Thompson, head of Bullying Prevention and Awareness 365, and  National Louis University, Chicago will hold a one-day conference, “The Collective Roles of Adults in Bullying Prevention and Students’ Well-Being,” at the University, Fri., Oct. 13, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Approximately 250 educators, paraprofessionals, authors, parents and anti-bullying activists are expected to attend. Reservations: www.bullyingprevention365.com.   Questions: bullyingpreventionawareness365@gmail.com.

 

 

Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association Seeks to Plan Greenspace

By Kristin Boza

The Southwest Morgan Park Civic Association (SWMPCA) serves the neighborhood between 111th and 119th Streets, and Western Avenue east to the Metra tracks. The group is working toward building their community, according to SWMPCA secretary David Lauryn.

“At this point, we need members and leaders,” Lauryn said. “We do not charge membership dues and there are no other costs to join. The membership benefits include the benefits of accruing good neighbors and living in a good neighborhood. We want to collaborate to promote safety, healthy property values, peaceful coexistence and fellowship.”

The group tries to meet quarterly, and the next general meeting is Thurs., May 18, 7 p.m., Peterson Hall, St. Walter Church, Parish, 11722 S. Oakley Ave.

Mark Cornell, a resident within SWMPCA boundaries, attended a meeting recently to bring up his concerns surrounding the greenspace behind St. Walter Church and school. “I was interested in finding out what was going on with the greenspace, and I ended up also attending a Chicago Park District meeting to find out how to start a Park Advisory Board,” he said. Cornell took his findings on how to start a board to SWMPCA and now the association and the park district will work together to address the potential future use of the greenspace.

Cornell and the new Park Advisory Board will be the liaison between the community and the park district. “We can express our views but not necessarily tell them what we want,” Cornell said. “Right now, the Park Advisory Board is working with SWMPCA to gather ideas about what the neighbors would like to see in the space.”

Another pressing issue for SWMPCA is traffic, particularly around the greenspace and the Morgan Park Sports Center at 115th and Western. The group plans to start a petition to request speed bumps in the area around the greenspace, and they’re considering also asking for two 20 mph speed limit signs to be placed on Bell and Oakley Avenues.

SWMPCA is truly focused on creating a safe, friendly area that will benefit all neighbors. Anyone interested in helping should plan on attending the meeting on May 18.

Kennedy Park Advisory Council Raising Money for Pool Chairs

By Kristin Boza

With pool season only a few short months away, the Kennedy Park Advisory Council (KPAC) is looking toward summer and working hard to improve the Kennedy Park pool experience for everyone in the neighborhood. The KPAC, formed in Sept. 2016 and led by president Carly Carney, is engaged in a fundraising effort to purchase new deck and lounge chairs and a sun sail for shade to create a more relaxing environment for pool patrons.

“Since the new heating system was installed several years ago, Kennedy Park has really become this summer oasis for neighborhood families, seniors and adults,” Carney said. “Often, there aren’t enough chairs and the ones that have been supplied by the park district have deteriorated over the years. It always weighed on my heart to see a mom with a little one that didn’t have a place to sit, or a senior citizen in an unstable chair.”

The KPAC aims to raise enough money to purchase 20 deck chairs and 20 lounge chairs. To combat the issue of no shade on the pool deck, they hope to also purchase a sun sail to give swimmers the opportunity to rest in the shade when they’re not enjoying the water.

Carney praises the Chicago Park District for their efforts in listening to residents and making much-needed changes. They extended the pool hours for lap swimmers and family swim times, and they chose Kennedy Park to be part of an initiative to extend the pool season into September.

“If the Chicago Park District is willing to work with us, then it is the right thing to do to work within their constraints,” Carney said. “It feels like a joint partnership with Eric Fischer, head of aquatics, and Ed Affolter, regional manager.”

While budget limitations prohibit the park district from purchasing the chairs themselves, Carney and the rest of the KPAC are motivated to solve the problem. “By solving this problem, it actually enhances this neighborhood resource and will make it even more friendly and comfortable to those who use the pool,” she said.

95th Street Business Association president Erin Ross helped the KPAC set up the fundraiser so that those who donate are eligible for a tax deduction. To donate, visit Kennedy Park Pool and Advisory Council on Facebook for a link to their GoFundMe page.

“The fundraising initiative is really an extended effort of how small changes can be made if we support one another,” Carney said. “The more neighborhood families use the pool, the more of a gathering place it becomes for our community.”