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.

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