Strengthening West Beverly

By Kristin Boza

The West Beverly Civic Association (WBCA) covers the area between 99th and 107th streets, from Western to California, including Beverly Park, Munroe Park, Bilecki Field, St. John Fisher Parish and Ridge Country Club. It has been active for several years in a grassroots way, and they hope to strengthen in the coming years to provide even more opportunities for beautification and neighborhood camaraderie.

Joe Murphy is the current president, taking the helm from Kathleen Daly who provided many years of volunteer service to the group.

“I grew up in West Beverly and decided to move back to the neighborhood in 2011,” Murphy said. “Being a landscape architect, I was looking to give back to the neighborhood with my background and improve on beautification efforts for the area as well as get more involved with community activities linked to BAPA.”

Popular events the WBCA organizes includes the Easter Egg Hunt at Beverly Park and Movies in the Park at Munroe Park, in conjunction with the 19th Ward Office. Another amenity of the WBCA is the “Welcome to West Beverly” sign at 103rd and Western.

Murphy has been instrumental in the push for new trees in West Beverly to replace those that had to be cut down due to Dutch elm disease and emerald ash borer infestations. WBCA members reached out to homeowners with fliers to see if anyone wanted to be a part of the Openlands grant, which provides free trees to be planted on the parkways. One set of trees was planted in October, with another set the in early November. “The goal is to continually work with Openlands in applying for parkway tree grants and get as many trees planted as possible,” Murphy said.

WBCA is looking to other local civic associations for inspiration, particularly the Beverly Improvement Association in North Beverly. “The goal of the organization is to follow existing models of other stronger civic associations and establish set meetings and include official membership,” Murphy said. “We want to promote more activities and accomplishments for the association.”

Homeowner-driven associations are incredibly helpful for addressing the issues that are specific to each area of the neighborhood or a block. “We feel that civic associations are so important since they allow a platform for residents to get involved and give back,” Murphy said. “The smaller civic associations under the larger ‘BAPA-umbrella’ are also able to focus on closer-to-home issues that BAPA may not have the time or resources to focus on.”

Murphy has a lot on his to-do list for this winter. “We would like to focus on building the association by promoting more volunteers and involvement, look into establishing an official website, and organize the official membership to the association,” he said. “We also hope to work on more beautification plans for different spaces in the neighborhood in order to improve these existing spaces in the spring of 2017.”

To get involved in any capacity, contact Joe Murphy at Murphy.joe72@gmail.com.

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