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Village Viewpoint
By Matt Walsh, BAPA Executive Director
Village Viewpoint
By Matt Walsh, BAPA Executive Director
Three times a year I work with the City Department of Tourism on their Neighborhood Tours. I guide a bus full of visitors through the neighborhood, pointing out historic buildings, beautiful architecture and the unusual topography of our community. Most of the tourists are Chicagoans, but I have met people from other cities and even other countries on these excursions.
 
By the time we finish, everyone agrees that Beverly/Morgan Park is an outstanding place. But these visits can only scratch the surface of what makes this Chicago’s best neighborhood. Those of us fortunate enough to live here know that our area is exceptional for more than just our buildings, our history or our hills. We know that Beverly/Morgan Park is a great community because we work hard to keep it that way. And BAPA has been in the forefront of that effort for decades.
 
This issue of The Villager is dedicated to housing, one of BAPA’s strategic initiatives. Again this year our Housing Coordinator, Marcia Walsh, has done a great job compiling data on the number of houses sold, their prices and new owner demographics. Most of us, I am sure, review the charts to see the median house prices before reading the article to get a more detailed understanding of current trends. But the level of our housing values, and the long term strength of our neighborhood are not based solely on prices and the number of houses sold. They are based on years of dedication and work, on programs committed to improving the community and on assistance offered to neighbors in trouble.
 
BAPA programs cover the spectrum from fun things to do with the kids to lectures designed to improve local businesses. We promote Beverly/Morgan Park to developers and lobby elected officials for more local funding. We help maintain our historic districts and improve the look of our train stations. We recruit local school council candidates and attend CAPS meetings. We keep a list of qualified trades people and bring Chicago’s civic leaders into the neighborhood. The list goes on and on.
 
BAPA tracks foreclosures in our area and in surrounding communities. When we find that a foreclosure has begun we contact the homeowner and offer resources that can help keep them in their home. Last year we sent more than 300 letters containing this information (thanks to Alice Collins). There is no other organization in our community that works so tirelessly to keep people in their homes.
 
All these efforts increase the value of our homes, the livability of our neighborhood and the quality of our lives. People move here to stay and younger generations return here to raise their children. When we decide how much our houses are worth these factors should be included in the equation. Thanks go to all BAPA staff members, volunteers and sponsors over the years for making our efforts possible. 
 
I also want to thank our preferred realtors for their help keeping our neighborhood a great place to live. For years these professionals have worked with BAPA to address housing concerns, advise us on market fluctuations and sponsor our events. Nobody knows the local housing market better than these agents and anyone looking to buy or sell will get the best service possible by choosing from among them. You can find advertisements for our preferred realtors throughout this publication.