Welcome to the April 2011 J.P.A.C. Newsletter online

JPAC/Jackson Park home. hydepark.org home. hydepark.org parks home.

Published by Jackson Park Advisory Council, a recognized advisory body to the Chicago Park District, Chicago Illinois

Editor Gary Ossewaarde. Hosted by hydepark.org, website of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (owner) by OnShore Communications.



Jackson Park Advisory Council meeting minutes March 14, 2011

Louise McCurry opened the meeting at 7:30 pm. Welcomed were Sgt. Jeffrey Chapman, 3rd District Police CAPS, Joe Kelly of Harold Washington Park, and several members of Chicago Audubon, who were saluted. Continuing success of the Purple Martin houses south of Columbia Basin was noted.

Minutes of the February meeting were accepted as corrected: The recommended book is “Last Child in the Woods,” by Richard Louv.

McCurry and others commended those including site stewards Jerome Levy and Gail Parry and Norman Bell who cleaned up much trash around the lagoons and natural area- planned to continue with two clean up days, March 26 morning on the Island and April 9 in Bobolink Meadow. Noted was the birthday today of Minnesota Twins baseball star Kirby Puckett, who grew up in Chicago and for whom is named the boys and girls club that has organized teams under Chicago Metro Baseball. The teams led by Ziff Sistrunk will start playing in Jackson Park April 15. (Visit http://www.eteamz.com.)

Park Safety and Security. Sgt. Jeffrey Chapman, director of District 003 CAPS (Community Alternative Policing Strategy). The discussion was positive. He, Rosalind Moore of 5th Ward Office, and the audience discussed strategies, achievements and challenges in the park and specific problem areas. At work: cameras (some new), cars, lakefront teams, night patrol, police on bikes, plainclothes, and helicopters (summer). Cameras unless with blue lights are park district. Police were commended for improvement in specific areas. Sometimes prioritization prevents the quickest possible response. The various parties will work on coordination. Closing the park timely remains a priority.

Among problem locations for which the council asked increased attention: Wooded Island including by the old rose garden (numerous arrests were made), 63rd St. Beach house (where gang damage has been severe to the pavilion and the new playground), the Driving Range, Promontory Circle near La Rabida, and the lagoon west edge. Recurrence of homeless under the Darrow Bridge and the damage wrought was noted—this is also an important roosting spot for swallows. 3rd District can increase patrols with plain clothes and regular patrols, night shift and will pay close attention to these areas,

Whom to call: 911 or 311 (depending on the circumstances i.e. for graffiti), Sgt. Chapman/3rd District at 312 747-8201 or 312 747-7004, Supervisor William Tillis 773 256-0903, 5th Ward Office at 773 324-5555. Call promptly, use redundancy.

Park and Program. Park Supervisor Tillis discussed the variety of sports opportunities- gymnastics, tumbling, lifting and fitness, basketball, medley, cheerleading, soccer, volleyball, track, baseball and softball, piano, and seniors aerobics/dancing. The latter will include jazz by Ken Chaney 2nd Mondays early afternoon April-June.

Soccer fields will be shut down in rotation to give the grass a chance to re-grow. Exact dates, fields will be announced.
A sports and fields committee has been formed to make decisions on the upgrades and artificial surface at the 62nd track to avoid having competing donated projects cancel each other and waste money and to bring in all concerns including that lights might shine into residential buildings. Anyone who wants to contribute should contact Mr. Tillis. Coach Ram Nair will chair. An ongoing problem is that players will not take off their cleat shoes before crossing the track. See more on the committee near end of these minutes.

Financial. An additional $2,210 ($1,610 net) came in bringing the balance to $5,410.63. Total 2011 gifts c. $2,800. Donations included a $250 restricted gift from Hyde Park Bank for the Trail project. The University of Chicago Civic Engagement gave $1,500 and $100. La Rabida Children’s Hospital gave $100. JPAC thanks all!

Wooded Island, Nature. A walk through was held in response to an opportunity and concerns regarding the fence around the tallgrass prairie (former Rose Garden) and to have a look around and answer other questions. Present were reps. of the Park District, JPAC (including site stewards), and some of the birding groups. The main recommendation of the body reported to JPAC was to do only necessary repairs to the fence. Moved, seconded and approved that JPAC accept the recommendation and the offer of Michael Taqee, should the Park District agree, to make the repairs including removal of a leaning tree.* Pat Durkin of Chicago Audubon’s committee thanked JPAC for leaving the fence. JPAC accepted into the record a fine paper by Paul Clyne on how fences serve birds. Jerry Levy reported on plantings on and near the Island including large caliper trees, the need for a beautiful welcoming sign for the Douglas Nature Sanctuary, and a work day for Saturday 3/26. There was general desire that we start calling the “Rose Garden” by a new and more descriptive name. It is one of the most productive parts of the Paul Douglas Nature Sanctuary on Wooded Island .Noted also with appreciation: other generously sized new trees in JP.
[* Fence repairs were made by CPD in-house.]

Gail Perry and Norman Bell reported on the TreeKeepers program and need to work with the park district to ensure good tree management, and a Work Day for April 9th at 9 am with TreeKeeper volunteers invited.

Fran Vandervoort reported on planning and grant application for the interactive Nature Trail. A part of this includes a dynamic-type website being prepared by Eric Annafi and Robert McCurry.

A new baseball league is coming to Jackson Park starting April 15, under Chicago Metro Baseball and sponsored by Kirby Puckett Boys and Girls Club. Ages are 8-12 and 16 and up, girls as well as boys. Games are Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. They are raising funds on CAN TV, a 12 week program which would highlight the baseball program for kids in the park, and would include JPAC and the need for volunteers to help in the park. Leader Ziff Sistrunk asked that JPAC sponsor. Moved-seconded-approved $100 appropriation including membership in the Club.

It was noted that there are no lighted baseball fields in South Side parks. The council wants a comprehensive look at all the diamonds and fields in the park. Partly to do that and to look into the artificial surface and track questions,
The Sports and Fields Committee will meet on Sunday March 20 at 2 pm at the field house Members are Sreeram Nair (chair), Louise McCurry, Ziff Sistrunk, Ernest Radcliff, Billy Bean, Tommy Lockett, Jamal Ashley, and Jenny Strable (representing residents who live near the fields.) Think you need to be on this committee? Call Mr. Tillis 773 256-0930.

Fran Vandervoort reported on the upcoming March 19 Friends of the Parks PAC conference at the South Shore Cultural Center. Fran was to present a workshop. Other members would go and attend the varied breakout sessions.
Fran will add a copy of Last Child into The Woods to Our JPAC Library and Mr. Tillis agreed to give us space in the basement for our Library and files.
March 19 would also see the start of Washington Park’s 3rd Saturday workdays to be followed on following weeks by a naturalist and gardening lecture series. Their workdays are third Saturday mornings.

Arrangements were made for the new microwave for the fieldhouse. Additional quick needs are being tallied.

A Woodlawn Summit was announced for March 26 9-11:30 at Social Service Administration, 969 E. 60th.

Seniors fitness program Mondays at 1 pm includes on 2nd Mondays Ken Chaney jazz April-June [Willie White blues in June?].

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. Next meetings April 11, May 9.
Respectfully submitted- Gary M. Ossewaarde

_____________________________________JACKSON NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
WE APOLOGIZE TO THOSE WHO SHOWED UP FOR A WORKDAY THAT WAS CANCELLED. The fence repair that was the main purpose was on short notice scheduled to be done in house by the park district for the next week. We are most grateful to the District for doing this work. JPAC will make sure that someone comes in case of cancelled workdays. We and CPD ask that volunteers check in with the site steward a day or so ahead.

Those who provide email will be notified of extra days or cancellations.

4/9. BOBOLINK MEADOW work is on 2ND SATURDAY MORNINGS, 9-12 a.m.
The next is on APRIL 9. Please be sure to check in ahead of time with site stewards Norman Bell and Gail Perry at parrybell@comcast.net or 773 288-1260. Meet in the south meadow near the Golf Driving Range, accessed off Hayes Drive.

4/23. WOODED ISLAND work is on 4TH SATURDAY AFTERNOONS, 2-5 p.m. The next is on APRIL 23. Please be sure to check in ahead of time with site steward Jerry Levy at sjlevy@jeromelevylaw.com or 312 832-1616 12-5 pm weekdays or 773 955-6384 evenings and weekends. Meet at Darrow Bridge south of the Museum of Science and Industry pond. Parking is available in the lot east of Darrow Bridge ($1 per hour) accessed from Lake Shore Drive at 5800- veer left at the Museum lot.

April 16 Earth Day. Visit http://www.earthdaychicago.com. Reg. by April 11. Clean and Green call 311 or ward off.
April 30, May 8 (and April 16?) Adopt-a-Beach™ for 63rd Beach. Info http://www.greatlakes.org All. for the Gt. Lkes.

April 30, Saturday, 12-2 pm. ARBOR DAY on Wooded Island. Learn to ID the variety of trees, get a sapling. REG. REQ. and details 312 747-4914.
Gather with the birders Saturdays at 8, for a walk around Wooded Island. Gather at Darrow Bridge.
Save the date May 7 9 am. TreeKeeper master class, mulching at Nichols Park with CPD. All skills. JPACers invited.

Trail. JPAC was not awarded the two grants for which it applied for the Interactive Nature Trail. We are grateful for consideration of our requests by the funding agencies. We will forge ahead thanks to planned generous habitat work by the Park District, other funds including from The University of Chicago and Hyde Park Bank, and sweat equity.
Any are welcome to make an earmarked contribution for the Trail or a general contribution. You can get a form from garyossewaarde@yahoo.com and or send your check to JPAC c/o Dwight Powell, 7206 S. Luella, Chicago, IL 60649. For information about the Trail (plans being updated) contact Frances S. Vandervoort, 773 752-8374.

A new mosaic by Montgomery Place residents under artist Mirtes Zwyerzynski and derived from displays at the Museum of Science and Industry is being readied for the underpass of 57th Drive. Thanks to Chicago Public Art Group and Harper Court Arts Council. Visit the mural by school children, previously installed under the Lake Shore Dr. viaduct.
Member Charlotte Newfeld of the Lakeview Citizens’ Council commends our effort to have the north bridge to Wooded Island named on behalf of Nancy Hays. Letters of support are being collected. Contact Gary Ossewaarde.

The March 9, 2011 Wooded Island walkthrough

By Gary M. Ossewaarde, Jackson Park Advisory Council Secretary

A walk through was held March 9, 2011 10 a.m. on Wooded Island (Paul Douglas Nature Sanctuary) that included Zhanna Yermakov and Jason Steger of CPD, reps. of Jackson Park Advisory Council and its committees, members from Wooded Island Working Group, and several representing birding groups that/who may or may not be part of WIWG. Zhanna designated this is not a WIWG walk through but a special walk through about the Rose Garden fence, called by JPAC.

Most agreed that the primary use of most of Wooded Island is as one of the most significant bird sanctuaries in the Midwest, although some insisted this is not an exclusive purpose. Studies were cited showing that the most ecologically significant and productive part of Wooded Island is the former Rose Garden- surrounded by the fence at issue.

Although some continued to express questions about policy or the effects of past and planned habitat work--all of which will be visited and addressed on an ongoing basis, the issue addressed today was the fence around the former Rose Garden.

Points of either consensus or continued review appeared to be the following:

• The fence serves the primary purpose of Wooded Island, as a bird and wildlife sanctuary, by
1) providing birds with protection and a preferred perching and congregating space and
2) discouraging or limiting uses by and presence of people and dogs.
3) No one said that this particular fence is of other paramount value such as historic or aesthetic.

• Little purpose was seen served by discontinuing the fence. Its removal would be expensive, or if gratis would involve much labor and time, disruption of habitat, and concerns about contracting process. The same for removal with replacement.
• The Park District has already identified parts of the fence as severely damaged and posing safety and appearance problems, seen by CPD as its duty to rectify. These sections are already on Park District Work Order lists, although likely quite far down in priority. There was widespread agreement that highly damaged parts of the fence, including by the east gate, should or can be addressed, preferably by repair and replacement. There was disagreement or no decision on the immediate need for such attention and whether the gate should be fixed, replaced, or removed.
• Funds are not presently identified for the up to $20,000 in money or kind needed for repairs. An offer by a skilled member of the Advisory Council to do work gratis or for cost of material only (with no material to be removed and resold) was discussed, but many preferred there be open bidding. There was not agreement or commitment (including by JPAC or birder groups) regarding any plan for immediate fundraising.
• Suggested consensus was that the fence should remain as serving the primary purpose of Wooded Island but that repairs may be undertaken, possibly supplemented with vegetation or other means of serving bird needs and discouraging frequent entry to the Rose Garden.