By Maureen Gainer Reilly
BAPA Board President
It’s easy to love Beverly/Morgan Park at this time of year when spring works it’s magic and reminds us why we don’t pack up and move to California. The neighborhood is incredibly beautiful when all the trees, flowering bushes and gardens highlight our historic homes.
But what really gets me this time of year is the sheer number of residents who share their time, talent and treasure with the neighborhood.
Each spring BAPA brings us the Clean & Green, the Home Tour and the Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade (thankfully we have new, hip coffeeshops to caffeinate the small but mighty BAPA staff). The number of people needed to pull of these events is staggering. I don’t know of another Chicago neighborhood that can boast hundreds and hundreds of volunteers pulling together to beautify, build community and hang with their neighbors on the scale of Beverly/Morgan Park.
We can measure the actual number of volunteers who help out, but want can’t be quantified is the effect these events have on the strength of our community.
Anyone who did the Clean and Green can tell you the weather was horrible with a cruel Chicago mix of rain, wind and snow. But that didn’t stop over 100 volunteers and civic associations from working on our parks, train stations and schools. I met a woman who worked with a large crew at the 103rd street Metra station who told me she feels great each morning on the platform headed downtown knowing she helped make it a beautiful space.
How do you measure that feeling?
While standing in a living room volunteering for the Home Tour, I asked a woman from the North Side why she came down to the tour with her daughter. Her response, “I’ve never been here but people from Beverly are so into Beverly I had to see it for myself!”
How do you measure that our “love where you live” sentiment is known all over the city?
And we’ll never know the exact number of runners who have bought a house here after weaving through our packed, cheering streets on Ridge Run day.
We are lucky. No other neighborhood in Chicago has a similar, 70-year-old, grass roots neighborhood organization like BAPA. I am so grateful BAPA is here providing a framework for residents, civic groups, businesses and institutions to connect, celebrate and strengthen our neighborhood. I hope you’ll join me and the countless BAPA volunteers and BAPA members who make Beverly/Morgan Park so strong. See you at the next event!