Local Educator Brings Nature Play Expertise to Velma Thomas

Jessica Fong engages with students in 2017 at the Jardincito play garden, which informed her research project on nature-based play.
Jessica Fong engages with students in 2017 at the Jardincito play garden, which informed her research project on nature-based play.
Published September 18, 2018

Local educator and McKinley Park neighborhood resident Jessica Fong has started her teaching engagement at the Velma Thomas Early Childhood Center, bringing her expertise in nature-based play to the highly regarded preschool. Fong, whose original research quantifies the benefits of nature play, said she is eager to bring what she has learned to the school and take advantage of nearby McKinley Park and the McKinley Community Play Garden.

"Having the 65 acre park just a half block away will add another dimension to my nature-based play research," she said. "I am also curious to see what effects nature play has, if any, on the dual language development of the students."

Read more: Local Educator Brings Nature Play Expertise to Velma Thomas

Fishing Derby, Business Conclave and More Slated for This Week in McKinley Park

Published September 17, 2018

Hard-fighting game fish are coming to McKinley Park's lagoon for the Fishing Derby, 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 22. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will stock the lagoon for the contest, which is open to kids 7 to 13 years of age, and includes prizes from local retailers. Be sure to bring your rod and tackle, and register in advance by calling (773) 869-9050.

The McKinley Park Development Council has a busy week ahead, with the McKinley Park Neighborhood Plan Business Focus Group meeting the morning of Wednesday, September 19, at the 36Squared Business Incubator to provide feedback to the neighborhood plan with help from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). On Wednesday evening at the McKinley Park field house, the McKinley Park Development Council Meeting features architectural preservationist Erica Ruggiero discussing the Central Manufacturing District. 

Read more: Fishing Derby, Business Conclave and More Slated for This Week in McKinley Park

McKinley Park Businesses to Convene Toward Neighborhood Planning

Ricardo Lopez of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning explains the neighborhood plan at the September 5, 2018, meeting of the McKinley Park Civic Association.
Ricardo Lopez of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning explains the neighborhood plan at the September 5, 2018, meeting of the McKinley Park Civic Association.
Published September 11, 2018

A first-of-its-kind gathering of McKinley Park neighborhood businesses looks to inform community planning at the Business Focus Group breakfast on Sept. 19 at the 36Squared Business Incubator. Part of the McKinley Park Development Council’s project to create a comprehensive neighborhood plan, the event welcomes the participation of all enterprises in the McKinley Park Community Area and the Central Manufacturing District.

The focus group’s business outreach is an important component of the neighborhood plan, which is administered as a project of the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), said council President John Belcik. “This plan will help guide McKinley Park into its future,” he said.

Read more: McKinley Park Businesses to Convene Toward Neighborhood Planning

Dog Park Fund-raiser, Civic Meetings, Fests and Performances Stand Out This Week in McKinley Park

Published September 10, 2018

The first dog park on the Southwest Side is on its way to McKinley Park, and residents and dog lovers can show their support at the Beers & Barks Fund-raiser on Friday night, September 14, at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport. The night promises food, drinks and entertainment, plus raffles, dog park gear and more. All proceeds are used to benefit the dog park project.

Chicago Senior Fest is a full, fun day of activities and info for seniors, and our own Illinois 2nd District State Representative Theresa Mah is sponsoring a Chicago Senior Fest Bus on Thursday, September 13, to provide free transport to and from Millennium Park for the festival. RSVPs are required, so act fast to reserve your spot.

Read more: Dog Park Fund-raiser, Civic Meetings, Fests and Performances Stand Out This Week in McKinley Park

Civic Association Meeting, Folkloric Music Concert Herald Summer's End in McKinley Park

Published September 4, 2018

The neighborhood's longest-serving community group returns from its summer break for the McKinley Park Civic Association Meeting on Wednesday evening, September 5. Join association members, neighbors and friends for community updates and a presentation from the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning's Ricardo Lopez. Lopez will discuss the under-construction neighborhood development plan, which is currently soliciting community feedback.

The weekend concerts continue in McKinley Park with the McKinley Park Farmers Market Concert: Ida y Vuelta at noon on Sunday, September 9. The musical group will perform a fusion of African, Spanish and indigenous folk music called Son Jarocho that is native to the Veracruz region of Mexico. The concert runs adjacent to the McKinley Park Farmers Market, which offers fresh produce and goods from local purveyors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Sunday through October.

Read more: Civic Association Meeting, Folkloric Music Concert Herald Summer's End in McKinley Park