Welcome to the February 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 January 13 council meeting minutes

Louise McCurry convened the meeting at 7:30 p.m. 14 were present, 3 new. Introductions were made. Two new attendees reflected important interests in the parks including sports, pets, and natural habitat. Two 5th Ward aldermanic candidates were in attendance.

The minutes were accepted as corrected: spelling of Toshia Booker-Blakeley, inclusion of a resolution passed in December that JPAC will seek naming and identification of the North Bridge to Wooded Island for Nancy Hays, who among so much else was president of the advisory council, and to seek a notice in the park of the work of former president Ross Petersen and the other nature volunteers for Wooded Island.

Treasurer Dwight Powell reported that c. $570 in dues and contributions were deposited, with more coming in. The most recent balance was $3,640.20. Powell reported that some responding said that new announced dues levels are too high for them. Members here wanted all to know that all dues and their levels are “suggested” and also are not related to participation in the council-- but that higher levels (those voted in December) need to be suggested to those who can afford it. The secretary noted that the bylaws require that dues increases be proposed at one meeting and then voted on at a subsequent meeting.

Following up on dues increases proposed in December, moved and seconded that the suggested dues levels be now set at $25 for individuals and $35 for organizations. Approved.

Recreational Leader Andrea Frink reported on the park and program in lieu of Supervisor William Tillis. Ms. Frink will be the spokesperson at JPAC meetings. She has a long history on the staff of Jackson Park and is very appreciative of the work and support of the council. She said the greatest concern for the fieldhouse and field programs is weak signup for programs, even for those that are free, despite aggressive recruitment. The park competes with schools’ free afterschool programs and with the Y, which takes Child Care Initiative vouchers that parks do not and includes swimming, and that transportation to the fieldhouse is not provided (CPS formerly did). (Conversations have been had with principals and the Y.) Also Harris and Don Nash have pools and some facilities the fieldhouse does not—but we do have outdoor fields. Many seniors won’t come to the fieldhouse for programs, asking instead that park staff come to their buildings.

Jackson Park programs include senior exercise programs with 2nd Mondays 1 p.m. free jazz performance (starting this spring).
Elementary kids have programs from 2 to 6 p.m.-- homework then sports rotating through the seasons.
Teen and adult programs are for after 6 p.m. Basketball is a key gym program.
Cheerleading and more are taught Mondays, wrestling Tuesdays, Soccer Wednesdays, and Friday is devoted to seasonal sports competition with other parks.

Staff strives to have tailored activities kids will come for and that give memorable experiences, in many cases improvising and getting non CPD funds. The activities rotate through the months. Suggestions that members made- and in some cases offered on the spot to come in and provide included languages, juggling, projects and tours with plants, trees and wildlife or birds, learning social skills, and a Valentine’s project. Volunteers offered to do other things that would make it easier for families to use the fieldhouse or would free up staff. Many in and outside the council already have their qualifications and have had background checks and registration, and the park district has streamlined procedures for volunteers on a single day basis.

The annual essay contest is coming up for youth—one based on Presidents Day and the other Black History Month. In “Who Am I?” Kids both write an essay and dress up and speak as a personage. Trophies are distributed. Moved by Vandervoort, seconded Powell to provide $50 for trophies. Approved.
Mr. Sistrunck described Chicago Metro Baseball-Kirby Puckett which is raising the funds to play in the park. Info- www.eteawiz.com/dickallen. (Separate note: Field rent fees have gone up; insurance required.) 2

A newly formed bulletin board committee reported a monthly schedule of topics for features to serve as teaching tools in JPAC’s bulletin board in the south hallway. Topics ranged from persons (currently Nancy Hays) to nature (such as the oaks and birds on Wooded Island) and sports. More topics were suggested. (The bulletin board also is to include notices of meetings/actions and the Newsletter.)

Discussed was an idea for a self-guided nature tour using trails including in Wooded Island. There might be identification signage, brochures that could be picked up or distributed, and disposable cameras for kids. Fran Vandervoort and others are exploring grants and park district receptiveness to the nature trail idea.
McCurry, Vandervoort and others met with Rosalind Moore of the 5th Ward Office (and Ms. Moore consulted with Park District officers including the region manager) on matters including the process for naming the Wooded Island bridge for Nancy Hays, pursuant to a JPAC resolution passed in December. They are proceeding with paperwork and the gathering of community and stakeholder support. This will include a letter of support from the council with details of the request and why the nominee deserves such recognition. Members were assigned to contact specific groups and stakeholders.

Vandervoort gave a heads up that the Friends of the Japanese Garden is considering one or more festivals or activities for Osaka Garden this year, in which JPAC might participate.

Also per JPAC resolution, potential for a dog-friendly area is being explored, perhaps near the 59th tennis court/inlet harbor sector. The procedure is known and who might have a concern or objection. Those exploring understand the many requirements for approval, the need for caretaking agreements, the costs, and suitability for dogs of different kinds of facilities. Someone would have to start a study and seek grants if interested in such a facility.
Natural areas. Questions were asked about the extent of plant removals in Wooded Island planned this year and beyond, effects of past phased habitat reconstruction, and about relationships between ongoing needs of bird and wildlife the plan’s species for replanting. [Plans can be seen in the JPAC website at http://www.hydepark.org/birds/Woodedsum.htm.] Attention was called to an interesting site called Natural History Chicago (http://www.naturalhistorychicago.com) by Jane Masterson. It has wildlife pictures.

The secretary was asked to inquire of the park district and Care of Trees concerning cost sharing for work this year or next.

Time was directed to be set aside at a later meeting to discuss feasibility and desirability of new facilities in the park, for example a presidential library.

Friends of the Parks will present achievement awards to community and park activist, teacher and historian Timuel D. Black and to JPAC Secretary Gary Ossewaarde February 3 at its annual luncheon at the Chicago Cultural Center. (This event has a cost and deadline – call 312 857-2757 or visit http://www.fotp.org.)

The next issue of the 5th Ward Newsletter will include a feature on Jackson Park and JPAC.

One or more JPAC committees may meet before or after regular meetings in various months.

Being planned – a major community meeting on Jackson Park security. The 5th Ward office will help with invitation to police, stakeholders, and community. All are encouraged to come and bring friends. Date and details will be announced in the next newsletter.

The meeting was adjourned about 8:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Gary M. Ossewaarde, Secretary

JPAC is initiating a request to name the north bridge to Wooded Island for its leader and past JPAC president Nancy Campbell Hays, who passed on May 31, 2007. The following is adapted from her memorial service biography.

Nancy Campbell Hays, 84, passed away on May 31, 2007. Upon learning of her death, former alderman Leon M. Despres commented, "She was Hyde Park's photographer, a champion of the parks, and an extraordinary person." Through her last month, Nancy remained curious about and alert to happenings in Hyde Park and Chicago; friends were reading aloud to her from Despres' book Challenging the Daley Machine: A Chicago Alderman's Memoir.

Nancy was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on May 26, 1923. An uncle taught her photography when she was twelve, and her father helped her build a darkroom in the family home. She began undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Michigan. Her parents hoped she would complete her studies there, but she headed instead to the School of Modern Photography in New York City. In 1948, at the age of 25, she was sent by the American Friends Service Committee on a year-long assignment to postwar Europe and the Middle East as a volunteer photographer.

During the 1950s, Nancy established herself as a professional photographer using Campbell Hays as her professional name. She worked through the Monkmeyer Press Photo Service in New York City until the agency closed in 2001. Many of her photographs were used to illustrate school textbooks and the Weekly Reader, distributed to schools across the country.

Nancy moved to Chicago in 1958 and found her life-long home in the Hyde Park-Kenwood community. She did advertising layout and photography for the Hyde Park Co-op and undertook weekly assignments for the Hyde Park Herald, including extensive coverage of children and post-urban renewal Hyde Park. Every year for almost four decades she supported and photographed the 57th Street Art Fair, the Hyde Park Garden Fair, the July 4th parade and picnic on 53rd Street along with countless school and community events.

Beginning in the 1960s, Nancy became deeply involved in saving trees and safeguarding the lakefront and parks. She joined the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference as a member of the Parks Committee and, in 1965, helped form the Daniel Burnham Committee to protest the city's plans to put a freeway and feeder route through Jackson Park. Every Sunday the group tied strips of sheeting around the many trees that would be sacrificed for the road; for this the group was arrested. Her name is associated with all the subsequent struggles to preserve and protect Jackson Park and Burnham Park: the dismantling of the Nike bases, the protection of Wooded Island, the preservation of the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion, the rehabilitation of the lagoons, and the preservation of the limestone revetment at Promontory Point.

She was instrumental in founding Friends of the Parks in 1975 and served on its board for three decades. She was one of the founders of the Jackson Park Advisory Council in 1983 and served in some capacity with the council ever since its founding, notably as its president from 1999 until her death. Nancy has been recognized for her achievements numerous times including by the Chicago Audubon Society in 1997 and the South East Chicago Commission in 2002.
She bequeathed the entire body of her photographic work--prints, slides, and negatives that span fifty years--and related documentation to the archives of the Hyde Park Historical Society. The collection is stored at the Special Collections Research Center of the University of Chicago's Regenstein Library. "Nancy was one of Hyde Park's great and caring human beings and a superb photographer. Her work will have meaning to generations of people to come." (Stephen A. Treffman, HPHS Board Member and Archivist Emeritus)

Jackson Park excavations reveal much about Columbian Exposition, other big temporary spaces

Rebecca Graff, graduate doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago, described to a packed hall January 22 at the Hyde Park Historical Society headquarters the 2007 excavation the class she led conducted on Wooded Island and southwest of the Museum of Science and Industry. Test sampling led to thorough excavation of square trenches at the site of the former Japanese pavilion on Wooded Island and the vicinity of the Ohio pavilion near the Columbia Basin and Cornell Drive. The research, and the talk and its stunning visuals revealed much about the infrastructure of as well as what gets left where, and how at such intentionally-temporary huge construction and removal projects as world fairs. Other such sites worldwide hold promise for significant finds—what’s supposedly “gone” may not be!