The Conference Reporter FLASH Special May 2010-
Online Text version

The actual was mailed to our members and friends. Ask about being on our e-list or membership at

This page is brought to you by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and its website Contact HPKCC.

Home. HPKCC home. Membership and About HPKCC.

Conference Reporter FLASH, An Experiment
by Jay N. Ammerman, HPKCC President

HPKCC Board and Committee members have been very busy this year and are trying to keep our members and the community informed about Conference programs and events. We use postcard mailings, ads in the Hyde Park Herald, flyers, word-of-mouth, the Conference website (, and the Conference Reporter. But we still hear comments like, "Why didn't you tell us about the Spring and Fall Garden Fair, or the Hyde Park Used Book Sale, or the HPKCC Annual Meeting?"

So, we are experimenting with this Conference Reporter Flash. Please note the announcements in this issue and tell your friends and neighbors about them. We invite you to note them on your calendar and join us at our 2010 programs and forums.

[and.....] Virtual HPKCC
The HPKCC Membership Committee is working on ways to reach our members and friends by e-mail. If you'd like to receive e-mail alerts from the Conference about upcoming events, let us know by sending a message to and we'll add you to our developing e-mail list. And be sure to "fan" us on Facebook!

g Ahead- Hyde Park Used Book Sale
by Jane Ciacci

The Hyde Park Used Book Sale has been a neighborhood event over Columbus Day weekend for many years. Originally operated by the Hyde Park Co-op, since 2007 the sale has been an HPKCC project, with the deeply appreciated sponsorship of Treasure Island Foods. Space is already booked for the 2010 sale in the Hyde Park Shopping Center plaza. Many fans of the book sale donate their books during August and September, and then attend the sale to close the gaps on their shelves!

The sale will offer books in an array of over 60 subject areas, which reflect the interests of our neighbors, and have an academic slant. Every year is different, depending on the nature of the donations; in 2008, the standout category was religion, whereas in 2009, our offerings were especially strong in literary classics and fiction. We always offer a very large selection of Hyde Parkers' favorite leisure reading- mysteries!

The proceeds of the sale support the work of HPKCC, including the rent for our office in the Hyde Park Bank Building, and the costs for events that we present to the community throughout the year.

Mark your calendars and watch for our advertising about donations (beginning in mid-August), and for the sale October 9-11. Whether you're a seasoned customer or it's your first visit to the sale, we look forward to seeing you. For more information, email

51st Annual Garden Fair
by Trish Morse

The 51st Annual Hyde Park Garden Fair will fill the Hyde Park Shopping Center courtyard with over 50,000 plants on Friday may 14 (9am to 6 pm) and Saturday May 15 (9am to 4 pm).

As usual, each of the departments of the Garden Fair has searched throughout northern Illinois and Indiana for new varieties, heritage plants, and old favorites. It's a major fundraiser for the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, but it's also a goal of the Garden Fair to bring the joy of flowers to every yard and parkway in the neighborhood. After all, the motto of Chicago is "Urbs in horto."

The floor of the courtyard is always a mosaic of color on Friday morning because that's where the Annuals Department spreads their 800 flats of 86 varieties. They range from African blue-eyed daisy to zinnia--the department is organized alphabetically. Also festive are the tables for the Containers Department, which specializes in the dramatic and the exotic, including plants fro water gardens.

The Groundcover Department is the place to look when you have a space to fill--either with plants that send out creepers like ajuga, pachysandra, and vinca, or with plants that spread out and fill that shady nook with their girth, like hostas and lady's mantle. Hanging Baskets add spectacular color on their racks by the entrance to the Fair where the fuschias, passion flowers, and rose-flowered impatiens dazzle the eye and nose.

The Herb Department offers a wide range of herbs, many from organic growers, in addition to the culinary staples. There are 11 cultivars of basil alone. The Houseplants show off unusual shapes, colors, and textures suitable from the dim dorm room window to the glorious sunporch with dramatic plants.

The Perennials Department prides itself on understanding the growing needs of Hyde Park/Kenwood for its plants need to survive from year to year. They search out the new and unusual but also teh tested and reliable--from Achilleas and Acounitums to Verbenas and Veronicastrums, they are chosen to survive int eh Chicago climate and neighborhood shade. The Shrubs, Vines, and Roses Department also seeks out the beautiful, unique, and reliable woody plants suited for Hyde Park conditions.

The Vegetable Department offers expertise, advice, and a wide range of organic, heirloom, and unusual varieties of 31 types of vegetables. There are nearly two dozen varieties of organic heirloom tomatoes that have done well under Hyde Park conditions.

Last alphabetically, but not last in my heart, is the Wildflower Department, where flowers, grasses, and ferns that evolved to do well in Chicagoland flourish. They need less attention (and often less water) and attract more butterflies and hummingbirds. Some are showy, some are delicate and ephemeral, some thrive in shade, and some recall the sun-drenched prairie, but all bring a touch of the wild to the city.

This year, the Resource Center will offer mulch and compost for sale during the Fair- the best thing to give your new plants a great start in the garden. And remember that the profits from the sale go to support the garden at the corner of Lake Park and 534d, teh Wildflower Meadow and formal garden in Nichol Park, Norah's Garden at Spruce Park, some of the hanging baskets on 53rd, the lecture series every winter held in Augustana Church, as well as all the other activities of HPKCC.

Friends of Blackstone Library 4904 S. Lake Park Avenue (312) 747-0511. Call for details or to sign up. [website]
by Brenda Sawyer

[Programs listed are time dependent. For present visit the Friends of Blackstone page and scroll to May 2010 listings.]

Condos-Coops + Forum
[by Gary Ossewaarde. More detail on forum]

Attorney John Bickley III of Kovitz Shifrin Nesbit shared critical information for condominium boards at a seminar sponsored April 19 by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and co-sponsored by the offices of Aldermen Toni Preckwinkle (4th) and Leslie Hairston (5th) at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.

Mr. Bickley explained new rules for filing registration with the Federal Housing Authority; without such filing, it may not be possible to sell units or for prospective buyers to obtain financing in your condo building. Associations should, Mr. Bickley stressed, start the process and get in line right now, using an experienced law firm. He walked attendees through the process and criteria and described some of the obstacles to qualifying—most of which, he explained, should be on the radar for correction in any case. Some of these obstacles include delinquency rate (the biggest problem), adequate reserve, unit owners having owner liability insurance, and rate of owner occupancy.

Mr. Bickley also described in great detail effective practices for collection of assessments and resolving delinquencies and why speed and consistency matter.

Find further information and contacts for Mr. Bickley on our website at

Condos/Co-ops Plus Committee co-chairs are Gary Ossewaarde and Lenora Austin.