Village Viewpoint

How is it possible the year is half over already? Time is going so fast.  I’m happy it’s July because that means BAPA has accomplished a lot and our community events are in full swing. Now we can focus on other important community tasks that help us fulfill our mission.  

One of my favorite programs is Weeding Wednesdays. Each Wednesday morning in the summer, we pick a different public space in the neighborhood and clean it up. It feels so good when we finish and the weeds, trash, and debris that have been plaguing the area are gone. Our community looks better and our commitment to beautification is complete.   

People ask, “Why don’t you just hire someone?”  To be honest, it really isn’t BAPA’s responsibility to clean up the train stations or the local parks, it’s the job of those property owners, (and we don’t have the money). However, gathering with our staff and neighbors is a great way to spend the morning. It feels great to give back to the community, no matter who is responsible. Plus, I am too impatient waiting for Metra and the Chicago Park District to schedule clean ups. My motto is, “Why wait for someone else to do something that we can do now?”  

Keeping our neighborhood clean and beautiful is very important to me. I would spend the entire day cleaning up if I had the time. I want our neighborhood to look its best every day.  

If you are like me and you have the time, I would love you to join us on a Wednesday morning and help us keep our community beautiful. 

Speaking of beautiful, our 4th Annual Beverly/Morgan Park Garden Walk is on Sun., July 9. It is another chance to experience the beauty of our community. The day will be filled with gorgeous gardens spread throughout the neighborhood, tastings and samples from our local businesses, and live music to enjoy. 

Following the Garden Walk is our third summer Porch Concert on Fri., July 14.  I couldn’t be more excited about welcoming the Back Country Boys. They have family roots in Beverly/Morgan Park, and they are a young and up and coming band with lots of talent. We will have the chance to see them right here and catch them on their way up! 

Check out the articles and information about both the Garden Walk and the Back Country Boys in this issue of The Villager.  

Now, I am switching gears, to let you know that our very own Grace Kuikman is retiring from BAPA after 40+ years serving BAPA as editor of The Villager.  Grace has been a blessing to me personally since the day I started in 2016. During the past eight years, we have weathered many storms and had a lot of fun together. It will not be the same without her, that is for sure. To the organization and our community, she has and always will be, a gift to us.   

Grace has been introducing us to our new neighbors, new businesses, BAPA’s community events, and everything in between with her unique and humorous storytelling. She has so much historical knowledge of our community that I’m in awe every time I inquire about something. She has dedicated her life to telling our community stories and we are forever grateful.  

Grace has also attended and documented many BAPA events including the old Snowflake Balls, Music Under the Stars, Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, created clues for the History Mystery Bike Tour, worked on the Home Tour, Memorial Day Parade, and Garden Walk committees, and helped with the Ridge Run and Porch Concerts.   

Her passions include housing preservation; she serves on the Ridge Historical Society/BAPA Historic Buildings Committee. Over the past few years, she has spent an incredible amount of time working to save the Eugene S. Pike House in North Beverly. Grace is also dedicated to helping those in need. Since 2020, she has spent countless hours of her volunteering at the toiletries Free Store hosted by Turpin Cares. We can all be grateful for having a neighbor like Grace.   

Grace will be delivering us one last issue of The Villager in August and her last day will be July 31. Please stop in the office or send her an email to say goodbye and wish her well in retirement.   

Best,  

Mary Jo  

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