Welcome to the April 2012 J.P.A.C. Newsletter online

Jackson Park/JPAC homepage (http://www.hydepark.org/parks/jpac.html).
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TAKE OUR SURVEY! You can find here and print (and return as therein), or take a slightly different version online in our new website, or ask us for earlier paper versions, as was mailed with the July 2011 Newsletter.

Visit JPAC's new official website: http://www.jacksonparkadvisorycouncil.org. Find Facebook link there.

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

Editor Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC Secretary. Hosted by hydepark.org, website of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference (owner, hpkcc@aol.com) by Dot Easy and OnShore Communications.

Jackson Park Advisory Council Minutes of March 12, 2012

Louise McCurry opened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the fieldhouse. A quorum was present; attendance 12.

Jerry Levy moved approval of the February minutes, Norm Bell seconded; approved.

Treasurer Dwight Powell was absent due to illness. By written communication, February 29 bank balance was $5,305.60 including $155 in additions (dues) and $111.23 in subtractions including $11.23 in bank fees.

President’s report. Serious damage was done by a cross-country bike group in bird habitat, lawns, and sports areas. The Park District is holding them to account. (See more in News and Announcements.)

Louise asked for volunteers to staff a park and JPAC promotional table at Black Star's community fair at St. Sabina’s.

AYSO soccer opens April 7 and includes participation that day in a cleanup on Wooded Island at 9 a.m. All welcome.

Cleaning continues near LaRabida. Graffiti was removed. The shore is open and most dead trees and invasive vegetation are gone, thanks in large part to CPD and contractor Pizzo, But considerable accumulated garbage and some vines remain—volunteer help is asked—Louise will be there most Sunday afternoons in April- May Saturdays. Recovered sandy beach sections are being used by families. Possible need for bike racks will be considered by JPAC.

Questions have been asked about a couple of dead trees at 56th and the Drive and in the ‘Iowa’ building, but there seem to be people who like the trees, so we shall see.

The workshop on small tools March 18 was amazing—people brought in a variety of tools and learned (hands on!) how to use them and keep them in year-round repair. The speaker gave lots of tips and may be asked to return next year. We hope to have a composting and gardening class in late April.

Fran Vandervoort reported on the February 25 PAC convention on best practices and advocacy. Fran handled the poster session. She distributed some of the sample materials from the Park District’s Nature Oasis program that PACs can use . These included a Passport to Nature that kids and adults can stamp by doing activities or visiting stations. Fran has plenty of our bookmarks. There are the flyers in a box at the entrance to Wooded Island. A brochure to the natural areas is in design-- that can also be online.

Jerry Levy described the Wooded Island tree survey underway in March and 2 April Saturdays--14 and 21--in Wooded Island (that for Bobolink is finished). Many persons new to us are involved, including a group recruited by Alderman Hairston’s 5th Ward organization. More of course are welcome! Since the survey is in GSI and will be digitalized, it will be useful to regional databases as well as to the Park District for planning.
One of the next activities for the Island is 22,000 plugs for the tallgrass meadow (former Rose Garden). The management plan continues to evolve—under consideration is designation of the Island as a wooded oak natural area.
Possible activity options for the Earth Day and the last weekend of April were discussed.
The natural areas are being monitored to see if all the beavers have been removed. A severely damaged poplar will be removed.

Norm Bell reported that Bobolink has been surveyed and mapped; the map will be on the JPAC website and promoted. The woods section has been seeded with diverse grasses and sedges. Sedges grow long roots that work up the soil providing aeration and water retention. The Driving range fence is being cleared on the Bobolink side-- repair to the fence is needed. Members suggested an informational sign about the Nike base. More volunteers are needed for Bobolink upkeep and that we need fundraising for nature/info signs.

Park and Program. Supervisor William Tillis has two additional groups who want to help with park cleaning.
A partner and soccer foundation will offer soccer clinics at the new Take the Field.
Spring classes are in session.

Louise inquired about some of the bike trails that have not yet been refurbished, including main west from the Drive and that by the Inner Harbor boat dock (Richards Drive west side)- falling into the harbor.
A sign thanking Chicago Bears at the Take the Field is dangling and destroyed-- kids could get hurt.

There is a new park district partnership to refurbish a large number of basketball courts in parks. Mr. Tillis will let us know when he knows whether and which may be here. One was refurbished last year.

Concern was expressed that comfort stations are opened quite late—a general inconvenience in this warm year, but especially for that by Take the Field—could this be opened when field use is heavy?

Louise asked targeting this spring and summer (starting with JPAC) cleaning up forgotten “back” parts of the park. Scouts, teens, groups could be recruited for this. Also, one or two persons could do light pickup at visible places a couple times a week, for example at the ‘Iowa’ building and along Richards Drive.

Playground survey. JPAC offered to provide sweat equity and materials to fix/perk up that by the fieldhouse. This would include removal of ground cover plants in the soft surface that could trip. One problem here is teen use of the playground (it’s an easy place for them to use, being next to the fieldhouse and across the street from a high school, compounded by teens’ size, natural rambunctiousness, need to hang out etc.) Alternatives?- including other things for teens to do.

Outreach. A recommendation of the parks task force of a multi-organization collaboration, convened by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, is starting in media an ongoing feature or box on parks activities and needs. The Hyde Park Herald has agreed to cooperate. Fran and Elm PAC are coordinating implementation. JPAC will need to see its information gets in. Another concern of the parks task force is the complex issue of dog parks. JPAC has some cost estimates and potential locations, but a preferred one presents difficulties. General improvements to candidate areas was considered to come first.
Suggested also was having seasonal activities for families, first being a drawing contest. This could involve the birding groups—who were suggested to be invited to the next meeting to participate, report on how birds are doing, and help brainstorm on family activities.

Announcements, then motion to adjourn. Next meeting Monday, April 9, 7:30 p.m. at the fieldhouse.

Respectfully yours, Gary M. Ossewaarde, Secretary

News, Activities and Announcements

Bobolink meadow had a prescribed burn to prepare the ground for spring growth. (An event below already past? Give us your email an learn sooner via e-mail newsletter what's happening.)

TREE SURVEY WOODED ISLAND (April 14 and 21 10 am-2 pm meet at Darrow Bridge so. of MSI’s basin)
Contact steward Jerry Levy re survey or other Wooded Island workdays at sjlevy@jeromelevylaw.com.

BOBOLINK April 14- 2nd Sat 9-12 meet in no. meadow. Info and let-us-know: parrybell@comcast.net.
April 28 special- plant oaks with OpenLands.

NEW WEBSITE: http://bluestem.info/bobolink/.

WOODED ISLAND REGULAR: 4th Saturday 9-12+ meet for Wooded Island at Darrow bridge. Check with Jerry about April 28 (tree survey, other projects) and give him your email to receive announcements- sjlevy@jeromelevy law.com.

LA RABIDA HOSP/PROMONTORY CIRCLE: early afternoons Sundays in April, Saturdays in May. Check with Louise, 773 844-2225, commissioner751@comcast.net.

MORE! April 7 9-10?
AYSO youth and parents before soccer signup.

April 21 2-4 pm. EARTH DAY CLEANUP—63rd St. beach, animal bridge, inner and outer harbor shores. Meet at 63rd St. beach house- bring gloves and water.

Youth groups are coming to work in the park—contact Louise as to how you can become a vol. team leader or otherwise help: 773 844-2225, commissioner751@comcast.net--
April 2 9-12 Black Star Project/Hyde Park High students- La Rabida area.
April 14 9-12. Apostolic Church volunteers- east lagoon, harbor edges, 57th-63rd beach.

Coming tent. May 5, Saturday, 1:30-3:30 p.m. in the IOWA building 56th St./South Shore Drive across from Montgomery Place.
Confirm if necessary with Fran Vandervoort- vandersand@sbcglobal.net, 773 752-8374.

WALKS: Wooded Island Bird Walks with well-experienced birders. Weds 7 a.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. Meet at Darrow Bridge south of Museum basin. Parking east of Darrow bridge off the Drive at 5800. Focuses on Wooded Island and Osaka Garden—a great way to learn your park, and if a regular to see trends, changes, and seasons.

Monthly or quarterly Sunrise and Sunset walks from the lot near 58th and the Drive. Visit http://www.passitonchicago.org.

Park District Board meetings- 2nd Wednesdays 4 pm (April 11) 541 N. Fairbanks 8th Fl. (Register to speak at PD website http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com from Friday-Tuesday 5 pm preceding or in person by 3:30 day of.) May 9th is at Haas Park, 2401 N. Washtenaw.

April 9 online signup begins for Summer Camp and programs —
TIP- go into the site and view/print the programs you want—there are several ways to search. If you haven’t already, set up an “account” copying your password to have at the ready to register April 9. You may experience delays—don’t leave the page; once you are inside registration should proceed quickly. You can register in person at the fieldhouse following Saturday.

April 18- Lakefront Bike Trail Visioning Workshop -better? safer? easier to access?. Wednesday, April 18, 6:30 p.m. Jackson Park Fieldhouse, 6401 S. Stony Island. By Friends of the Lakefront/Active Transportation Alliance.

The golf course is open, Osaka Japanese Garden in bloom, soon boats will be coming back into the harbors, the sports fields will be full of teams, and in late May croquet and lawn bowling will be starting up. For contacts to outside-registration/participation programs, call the fieldhouse, 773 256-0903.
Contact for Croquet: tolaughlin@hotmail.com, Lawn Bowling bigguylor@comcast.net.

CX BIKE RACERS has agreed to repair damage, petition to move their courses in the park, and remind/police riders about behaviors.

met with Alderman Hairston (5th) and JPAC, other community stakeholders to plan where to put 20-30 art sculptures this year. Liability will be theirs. Locations recommended to the Sculpture Committee are Promontory Point, Museum east lawn, so-called Iowa building east lawn, Osaka Japanese Garden, Darrow Bridge area, 57th and 63rd beach lawns, 64th St. Coast Guard Station, La Rabida entry, and South Shore Cultural Center. Lincoln Park will also have sculptures. Tours, anyone?

As implemented over coming months in four phases, this electronic and web-based system will allow repairs to be ordered and departments to be accountable for work done; progress tracked on “emergency,” “urgent,” and “ordinary” work orders, and completion documented or followed up. Eventually, PACs and others will be able report repairs or work needed directly to departments via “contact us” in the park district website and track progress. Even in the short term we will be able to see what work orders have been entered (or not), and, compare work and progress among parks and regions and trades and see whether some need more attention or personnel.

The park program registration system (see above) was also explained and PAC representatives weighed in on ways to make it work smoothly. A big gain is ability to see, compare and track actual paid registrations. This should allow the district, supervisors, and PACs to evaluate and enrich programs and direct personnel to where most wanted and effective.
Last but not least- JPAC is making things happen in our park. We would love to engage more with you and with more neighbors. Visit our websites, follow us in the new Parks feature in the Hyde Park Herald, attend meetings, send ideas(!), send contributions, or volunteer!