HPKCC to back Bixler Park Advisory Council

Zahara Granger(in polka dot dress) and friends Ashton Hardaway (with ponytail) and Tsage Roberts(in striped shirt) get basic drumming instructions from adult instructor Saida during Granger’s birthday party in Bixler Playlot Park, 1312 E. 57th St., Saturday, Aug.5. – Owen M. Lawson III

Staff Writer

Members of the Hyde Park- Kenwood Community Conference (HPKCC), on Thursday, Aug. 3, agreed to be the fiscal sponsor for the Bixler Playlot Park Advisory Council (Bixler PAC).

Bixler PAC, which was formed last year, was previously under Friends of the Park said Bixler PAC Chairwoman Mila Jameson. The group moved on from FOP and sought out a sponsorship with local nonprofit organizations similar to HPKCC.

Jameson said at the suggestion of another PAC member she considered the HPKCC, who also sponsors the Nichols Park Advisory Council and has done so for decades.

“We wanted to go with a local organization that’s been around and has a good reputation,” Jameson said. “Now we can do more than just make phone calls. We’re able to have fundraisers and apply for grants.”

To make improvements at Bixler Playlot Park, 1372 E. 57th St., the PAC needed to have a non-profit fiscal status to raise donations or have funds, which the HPKCC will provide for the Bixler PAC per their agreement.

Now that the PAC has the support of the HPKCC it can move forward with raising funds for park improvements.

George Rumsey president of the HPKCC said the PAC is serious about improving Bixler.

The PAC is planning to install two permanent chess tables in a vacant space south of the Bixler Playlot Park near 56th Street and South Kenwood Avenue.

The PAC was one of eight organizations that were recently awarded a Neighborhood Enhancement Grant from the South East Chicago Commission (SECC). Bixler PAC will use the funds for a beautification project.

The chess tables will be concrete, sustainable and similar to the chess tables that were once in Harper Court.

Jameson said the grant from the SECC provided a portion of the funds for the project.

“We’re working with the local businesses on 57th Street to raise the remainder of the funds,” Jameson said. She noted that the PAC would also have a public fundraiser in the future to help close the gap.
The chess tables will be installed this fall.

Rumsey sees the new partnership with the PAC as a way for HPKCC to connect with the 57th Street.

“One of the holes that the conference [HPKCC] has right now is we don’t have a connection to 57th Street,” Rumsey said. “We’re big on 53rd, 55th [streets] and Lake Park [Avenue]. I was interested in working with them to form a bridge into that part of Hyde Park so that we learn more about it and what needs to be done.”

HPKCC bylaws also require that any program operating through the HPKCC must have at least one representative from the board who will serve a three-year term as a member of the HPKCC board.

As chairwoman of the Bixler PAC, Jameson has secured a space on the ballot for upcoming board member elections for the HPKCC where she would need to be elected by HPKCC members.