From representing the community’s best interests with city government to planting trees on neighborhood parkways, the Beverly Area Planning Association (BAPA) is at work making Beverly/Morgan Park the place where we love to live.
BAPA’s staff are changemakers, connectors and cheerleaders, and everything they do has one goal: improving the community.
Building on the organization’s core programs, BAPA has been expanding and updating services, starting with staff.
In November, Anna Fratto became BAPA director of economic development, connecting businesses with opportunities that can gain them exposure with target customers.
“Anna has brought terrific energy to BAPA’s business relationships,” said BAPA Executive Director Susan Flood. “Business owners are embracing BAPA membership and event sponsorship, and they’re taking advantage of the opportunities BAPA provides for getting their messages in front of their customers.”
Fratto’s program area includes the BAPA Card, event and program sponsorship, business membership and communications, and reenergizing business referrals. She brings to BAPA experience as the public affairs and community relations coordinator for Citgo Petroleum Co. and the executive director of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
In spring, Gary Jenkins took on the role of BAPA director of school and safety programs.
“Gary brings to BAPA outstanding insights gained from a long career with Chicago Public Schools and an active role in CAPS initiatives with the 22nd District police,” Flood said.
Jenkins works on school initiatives that recognize achievement through the BAPA Student Community Service Awards for outstanding public school seventh- and eighth-graders, strengthens relationships with local schools and identifies school needs as liaison to the BAPA Education Committee. Jenkins works with CAPS officers to support safety and crime prevention programs, and he is expanding BAPA’s safety committee.
Partnering with the Barbara Vick Early Childhood Center, BAPA will present “No Small Matter,” a feature-length documentary that brings attention to the vital importance of early-childhood education, on Friday, Aug. 23, at 1 p.m., at the Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St.
Open to early-childhood educators and preschool professionals, the free screening will be followed by a discussion on the film’s powerful stories and facts about early intelligence and the potential for quality early care and education to benefit America’s social and economic future.
Registration is required by Aug. 21 at bapa.org.
In her role as BAPA executive director, Flood has been working with the staff to build on the organization’s core programs and refresh projects to ensure BAPA’s work responds to current community needs.
Flood now attends Chicago City Council meetings, representing Beverly/Morgan Park and staying informed about the work of city government. She is building strong relationships with community partners, working together on shared goals, and challenging staff and supporters to make BAPA’s services and successes even better.
BAPA is known for working hard, but most people may not realize that the staff actually uses a lot of muscle. Beautification activities are designed to keep this fabulous community looking its best, and they include the neighborhood-wide Clean and Green in April, Openlands tree planting days in spring and fall and, occasionally, jumping out of a car to pull some weeds or pick up litter.
Also serving on the BAPA staff are Associate Director/Communications Director Grace Kuikman, Community Organizer Mary Jo Viero, Office Manager Talie Leeb and Accountant Eileen Kenah.
All of BAPA’s programs and events unify neighbors, build community pride and align with the association’s missions.
BAPA’s reorganized Housing Committee features members who represent the Ridge Historical Society, the Beverly Givins Castle and the Chicago Historic Bungalow Association as well as architects, real estate professionals and planners.
Events like the Beverly/Morgan Park Home Tour and Open House Chicago support the goals of the committee. The Home Tour showcases the neighborhood’s beautiful homes to potential home buyers, and this year launched the BAPA Home Expo to connect homeowners with tradespeople who work on vintage homes.
Beverly/Morgan Park’s first year on the Chicago Architecture Center’s citywide Open House Chicago architecture tour was a huge hit last fall, bringing several thousand people to visit the Village in the City.
The event will return to the neighborhood on Oct. 19 and 20 and will feature several new locations. BAPA is the Open House Chicago community partner, assisting in local site selection, event promotion and volunteer recruitment and training.
The Ridge Run and Memorial Day Parade bring thousands of athletes and spectators to the Ridge Historic District to enjoy its rich architecture and the community’s spirited lifestyle. The Bikes and Brews festival this year was expanded to include Restaurant Row and more brews, and it brought people together to celebrate with neighbors and enjoy a professional-level cycling event.
Other BAPA events support commercial areas.
The third annual Sip and Shop will be held Thursday, Sept. 26, and feature shopping and sampling from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by an after-party from 9 to 11 p.m.
Co-sponsored by BAPA, the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association and 19th Ward Office, the event will take place in the 99th Street and 103rd Street businesses located nearby the Metra stations.
In December, BAPA will host the fourth annual Holiday Cookie Crawl, inviting people into local businesses to claim cookies and share holiday cheer.
On Friday, Nov. 8, BAPA will co-sponsor the 19th Ward Veterans Breakfast to recognize local men and women who have served or currently serve in U.S. armed forces.
Get the Message
“BAPA has the biggest megaphone in the community,” Flood. “Our communications cover all platforms, and The Villager newspaper is delivered to 16,000 mailboxes every month, covering the people, institutions and businesses that make us all ‘Love Where We Live.’”
BAPA’s weekly e-newsletters go to more than 8,000 inboxes and on alternate weeks provide updates on local news through the Neighborhood Notes and events through the new Nightlife & Entertainment. BAPA’s online Community Calendar is the go-to place for events information, and robust postings on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram keep people connected.
In partnership with the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Business Association, BAPA is engaged in a digital radio campaign to promote the Village in the City as a great place to live, shop, dine and visit. Ads direct listeners who want visitor information to the website at villageinthecity.org.
A 501 (c) 3 not for profit organization, BAPA relies on the support of neighborhood residents and businesses to fund its work in the community. BAPA is not politically affiliated and represents the best interests of everyone in Beverly/Morgan Park. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.
BAPA is located at 1987 W. 111th St. For more information on programs, events, memberships and donations, call (773) 233-3100 or visit the website at bapa.org.