Help us Breathe life into the GreenSpace

GreenSpace 2013 Install Days – APR 6APR 20MAY 4:  Round up some neighbors and help breathe life into our new greenspace.  Kids welcome.  Please pick a day to come and be a part of this.  You won’t regret it.


A Wild and Crazy End to 2012  by Maria Gullo

What does B-I-N-G-O, Velicity the Fabulous Drag Queen and a 91-year-old Grandma have in common? HamBINGO of course! Don’t worry, it’s not ham the meat, and it’s not church basement bingo, it’s Hamburger Mary’s Bingo for Bowmanville’s GreenSpace! On December 30, 2012, the BCO GreenSpace Committee hosted its third bingo fundraiser of 2012 to help complete installation of the natural interactive playscape in the community’s new greenspace on Bowmanville Avenue.  It was also an excuse to celebrate my 34th birthday! It was a win-win night for me — celebrating my birthday with friends and family and helping to raise money for green space! So enough about the b day girl…you wanna know the grand total, right? Drum roll please….. $415!!!! Not bad for an easy, fun, two-hour fundraiser!


Fabulous prizes were provided by local businesses and volunteers:

•    $25 gift certificate from Pauline’s Restaurant, Kathy Henning, proprietor
•    $25 gift certificate from Let Them Eat Chocolate, Debra Voss, propietor
•    $25 gift certificate for Green Sky Eco-Boutique, Nadine Kieren, proprietor
•    $30 leaf earrings designed and made by Heidi Kafka of Red Heidi Jewelry, available at Avram Eisen Art Gallery and Women and Children First Bookstore.
•    Homemedic heated neck & shoulder massager ($30 value).
•    $35 gift certificate for Painted Light Photography and Framing Gallery, Barbara Laing, proprietor
•    Children’s garden books and totebag ($45 value) contributed by Betty Redmond and Publishers Group West.
•    Adult garden & nature books & totebag ($72 value) contributed by Betty Redmond and Publishers Group West.
•    From the Museum of Contemporary Art — a Household Membership ($75 value) and Jimmy Robert show catalog ($25 value). This prize was procured for us by garden volunteer, Nora Hennessy.

The berms, trees and bulbs thank you very much! That’s two green thumbs up!


Bowmanville Gets Lucky!
It was a full house on Saturday night, September 29, 2012 as more than 170 Bowmanville neighbors and friends turned out for the first ever BCO Poker Run and Pub Crawl. Organized by longtime Bowmanville advocate Liz Gabbard, the wildly successful event raised $2,120 for our community greenspace.

Participants traveled to five neighborhood bars throughout the evening to pick up cards for their lucky hands — Big Joe’s, K’s Dugout, Leadway, Bobbie’s and the Claddagh Ring.

Dealers were stationed at each of the bars to hand out the cards as merrymakers came and went throughout the evening. Our special thanks to neighborhood volunteers Kelly Chester, Larry Delahanty, Kris Neurauter, Jean Swoboda, Trish Torres and Diane Wagner for their dealing expertise.

The lucky winners were: First Prize — Larry Yatchak; Second Prize — Brittany Connolly; Third Prize — Mitch Hood; and Worst Hand — Karen Peterson,

Our heartfelt thanks to Liz and all of the volunteers who brought this lucky night to Bowmanville!



Turning Gold into Green

Just before the 2012 holidays descended, greenspace supporter Diana Leifer hosted the first annual Turn Your Gold Into Green Party for Bowmanville neighbors and friends. Delighted participants had their unwanted jewelry evaluated by “Gold Buying Girl” Dawn Sachs and walked out with a check in hand. A percentage of the night’s commission was donated to our GreenSpace Initiative, raising $873 for the cause. Thank you, Diana, for your quick work and gracious hospitality!


New Rain Garden Funded by
The Prince Charitable Trusts

Work on our GreenSpace is progressing with a new rain garden installation. On September 29 and October 6, 2012, neighbors and volunteers from GreenCorps installed over 300 plants given to us by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) through a grant funded by The Prince Charitable Trusts.

Rain gardens use a combination of plants with deep root systems and drainage-friendly soil to draw in water, thus keeping it from running off and entering the sewer system. Reducing water can be especially important in a place like Chicago, where we have a combined storm and sanitary sewer. Any water that can be naturally filtered and drained, rather than running off to the sewer, has multiple ecological benefits as it is incredibly energy-intensive to treat water, and planted areas can restore habitat, encourage species diversity and reduce the effects of urban heat islands.Our rain garden intercepts water that flows from the cemetery so that our gathering spaces won’t get soggy.

The installation includes 300 native perennials. One of the exciting things about the new plants is that each of the 10 species evolved right here following the last glacier, but now are very rare. CNT obtained the plants from Pizzo Native Plant Nursery, one of a half dozen nurseries in Illinois that specialize in restoring prairie remnants whenever possible.

RainGarden_chart_webThe table at right describes the plants. By looking up the scientific names, you can get photos of the plants and learn more about them.

In addition to the plants, our grant from CNT included a new picnic table, purchased from the Rebuilding Exchange. This sturdy new table was built from wood reclaimed through the Exchange’s program, which destructs buildings and gives materials new life by constructing new items from them.

Our thanks to Bill Eyring, Ryan Wilson and the crew from the Center for Neighborhood Technology for bringing this eco-friendly development to Bowmanville!



10th Annual Ice Cream Social Serves Up
Summer Fun in Bowmanville’s New Greenspace!


Bringing Our GreenSpace Plan to Life


Hamming It Up For GreenSpace!

On Monday, August 27, 2012, The Bowmanville Community Gardens hosted a rousing bingo fundraiser at Hamburger Mary’s on Clark Street in Andersonville. Thanks to the efforts of organizers Nora Hennessy and Andrea Miller, more than 40 Bowmanville neighbors and friends from across the city enthusiastically joined the event, which netted $436 for the BCO Greenspace and gardens. The new, artistically designed BCO shirts were a hit too, thanks to Anne Boyle who oversaw sales totaling $86. In addition to a wild and wonderful emcee, Velicity, who inspired bingo attendees to laugh and dance, we are grateful to Hamburger Mary’s for partnering with the BCO for the second time this year. They served wonderful drinks and snacks; the sweet potato fries were a big hit, as were $5 margaritas! For their generous donations, we want to express our gratitude to local merchants who contributed a wonderful array of prizes for bingo winners: Koval Distillery, The Haymaker Shop, Painted Light Photography + Framing Gallery, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Coffee Studio, YR&G Sustainability, and Provenance Food and Wine. Additional highlights among the prizes were 10 lbs of worm castings from a Wisconsin worm farmer Brian Carney and an array of garden books donated by Betty Redmond, Garden Committee Chair. Bowmanville’s gardens and new greenspace play a vital role in the neighborhood, creating beautiful areas for the community to gather and to play. All proceeds from bingo support the planning, development, and maintenance of our newly acquired property at 5384 N. Bowmanville. As we know, Bowmanville is one of the most livable communities in the City of Chicago. Thanks everyone who came out for such a successful and fun evening of community building and support!

The frigid temperatures didn’t keep party-goers away from the GreenSpace fundraising extravaganza at Hamburger Mary’s on January 2, 2012! Bowmanville Bingo enthusiasts packed the restaurant’s dining room at 5400 North Clark Street. Cabaret singer and bingo caller, Felicity, supplied winners with a jolly red jello-shot, on the house, and Bowmanville’s very own Kris Neurauter provided fabulous prizes from local vendors: Amy’s Candy Bar, Homemade Pizza, Lickety Split, and Urban Orchard. Many thanks go out to the GreenSpace team, especially organizers Carrie Mitchell and Kris Neurauter! Adding to the festivities, one of the BCO’s key contributors who has worked many volunteer hours on the tunnel mural and in the community gardens, Maria Gullo, celebrated her 33rd birthday at the event. Maria gathered her family and many friends from the neighborhood and beyond. Maria’s mom, Josephine Gullo, made delicious cupcakes for all, while her dad, John Gullo, snapped photos of all the action. Hamburger Mary’s offered a champagne toast in Maria’s honor, again on the house. The sale of bingo cards netted our GreenSpace just over $600 in proceeds at this January 2012 event!


Opening New Vistas in Our Greenspace

The City of Chicago has been hard at work making improvements to our greenspace in 2011. Just before the holidays, crews removed debris left over from the demolition of the site, removing weed trees and replacing the chain-link fence with a new ornamental fence. The City also demolished the remnants of the driveway and replaced the curb along Bowmanville. All of this work will have our greenspace ready for development in the spring when the restoration crews will return to add topsoil and create the berms.

We need your help to realize the vision.  See who is supporting the BCO GreenSpace project.


BCO GreenSpace Conceptual Design Plan 

Neighborhood input has been invaluable in preparing the conceptual design for the green space at 5384 North Bowmanville.  Through neighbor suggestions and discussions at our two charrettes (brainstorming sessions), we have developed an overall concept of a “Neighborhood Yard”.  Much like your own backyard, it serves multiple purposes and moods.  It serves as a natural playscape that is appealing to all ages and abilities.  It expands and preserves green space within the community, in keeping with the pastoral tranquility of the Rosehill Cemetery setting.  Neighbors will find a place for quiet reflection amidst a natural habitat where birds and butterflies will also find a home. In this conceptual design, an arbor welcomes you and starts you on a pathway through the space.  Providing continuity with our existing garden on Bowmanville Avenue, plant and hardscape elements will turn the corner at the end of the Rosehill Cemetery wall, and fill the southeast corner of the new space. Two berms, at the northeast and southwest corners, create an amphitheater-like gathering area.  The design will feature three engage-able areas made of natural materials, such as a stump stomp, a rock walk, and a neighbor-designed birdhouse forest.


BCO Successfully Acquires Site For Greening
by Cindy Burgin

There’s big, green news in the neighborhood! In June 2010, the BCO announced the successful acquisition of the property at 5384 N. Bowmanville Avenue, a purchase that moves us closer to reaching our goal in Phase I of the Greenspace Initiative. The property, currently a single-family home (below), sold by the Rocks family, residents of Bowmanville for generations, has been secured as part of a multi-phase initiative led by the GreenSpace Committee to acquire permanent greenspace for our community.

Over the next few months, thriving plants and shrubs on-site will be preserved and transplanted by community volunteers, as a redevelopment plan for the site is created. The existing house will be demolished, new fencing will be installed, and the site will be re-graded.This acquisition is the result of a community effort to create a community space.

Interested residents have been brainstorming uses for open space since the GreenSpace Committee formed in 2008. A community survey was conducted in Winter 2009 and a charrette, or brainstorming session, was held on March 6, 2010. Both exercises have helped guide the committee’s vision for the space.The location is a strategic one — it abuts our award-winning Bowmanville Garden and is adjacent to the open space that the community currently uses for special events, with the permission of Rosehill Cemetery. We believe that, the purchase of this property will enable the community to positively affect future, potential development along Bowmanville Avenue.

Funding for the purchase of the property is made possible through the generous support of Mayor Daley and the City of Chicago, and Corlands, a division of Openlands, a Chicago-based organization founded in 1963 and dedicated to protecting the natural and open spaces of northeastern Illinois and the surrounding region. Corlands works to ensure cleaner air and water, protect natural habitats and wildlife, and help balance and enrich our lives.

The beginning of a new permanent green space in Bowmanville!
5384 Bowmanville Demolition on Tuesday Aug 31, 2010


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