JPAC home. January 2011 Newsletter

JPAC revitalization press release December 2010

Jackson Park Advisory Council has been revitalized

The following is a release by and about Jackson Park Advisory Council. The section starting with the second paragraph was sent to the Hyde Park Herald as a Letter to the Editor. GMO

December, 2010

Chicago's Park Advisory Councils are a unique and successful partnership between communities and the governing body for Chicago’s parks. For the past 27 years, Jackson Park Advisory Council has safeguarded the park and introduced or rallied behind improvements under strong leaders including Eric Hatchett, Nancy Hays, and Ross Petersen and participation of members and local and citywide partners. JPAC has been adept and inventive over the years, this year forming a working partnership with Care of Trees and arranging a fiscal agency with Friends of the Parks. As happens from time to time, JPAC this year also experienced internal and external stresses and some officers resigned. The following tells how this Chicago park advisory council recruited involvement from its communities and reinvented itself.

The Jackson Park Advisory Council (JPAC) has been revitalized! As a large cadre from the park’s surrounding neighborhoods, JPAC invites you join our action committees and participate in our monthly meetings, working both to sustain what is strong and to support or introduce new creative uses and projects throughout the park. We ask you to keep in mind that it takes financial support to carry out the responsibilities and pursue the opportunities of the advisory council for this large park in our backyard.

May we introduce our new President—Louise McCurry, known to many of you as the “soccer lady,” and our new Vice President—Toshia Booker-Blakeley, a real estate agent from South Shore. Gary Ossewaarde remains Secretary and Dwight Powell Treasurer. Our committees are brimming with new ideas for Safety, Natural Areas, Outreach, and Youth and other Programs. Their projects will increase membership, communication and input from communities, volunteerism and participation.

We took three important actions December 13 that show our commitment for the long term:

1) Following up on a large community meeting, JPAC enthusiastically endorsed a Chicago Park District grant request for a privately-funded artificial surface football/soccer field inside the present running track along Stony Island that will be scheduled and maintained by the park district. The field and track are already undergoing preparation for new lighting, drainage and other amenities. The new surface and improvements will serve much better the park district, school and other teams that use them.

2) Following up on a November JPAC convened walk through of Wooded Island with the park district and stakeholders, at which many careful questions were asked and answered, JPAC at its December meeting endorsed an updated plan and schedule for habitat reconstruction on the Island and recommitted to participation in a broad oversight group, the Wooded Island Working Group.

3) A progressive set of bylaws was adopted, concluding several months of work by the committee composed of Fran Vandervoort, Gary Ossewaarde, and attorney Roger M. Huff.

JPAC is evaluating its and the park’s existing programs and operations, recommending new projects, and pursuing new partnerships and ways of involving neighbors and stakeholders in creating an amazing and enjoyable park that remains true to its historic heritage. We welcome and need your input and ideas and want you to be pleased and excited about this park, this neighborhood asset in your backyard. Our watchword is “We can do more…and we will!” We meet 2nd Mondays 7:30 at the fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island, next being January 10. Please contact about working with and supporting JPAC.

Louise McCurry, Toshia Booker-Blakeley, Gary Ossewaarde, Dwight Powell—Jackson Park Advisory Council