Saturday, May 19, 2012

Archer Heights Civic Association Continues Aggressive Membership Push

The Archer Heights Civic Association, one of the oldest and most successful community organizations in Chicago, continues to aggressively maintain and build its membership roster, AHCA officials announced at the group's May meeting.

Thomas Baliga provides AHCA membership update.
 According to an update provided by AHCA Executive Director Thomas Baliga, the group:

** is using Cook County property transfer records to contact new owners of residential property in the community.

** utilizes Chicago Board of Elections polling sheets to contact voters who are not yet AHCA members.

** recruits new members at its own monthly meetings and at special events like a recent Easter egg hunt at Archer Park.

** pays personal calls to local business to encourage them to join.

** hand delivers its monthly newsletter to select blocks in the community. Each newsletter has a special invitation stamped on the front page, plus a bright color invite attachment on the front of the folded newsletter. So far in 2012, this year approximately 1,970 newsletters have been hand delivered by the AHCA---above and beyond the 750 newsletters that are mailed out each month to AHCA members.

AHCA officials estimate that they reach about 2,500 people each month, of the estimated 6,000 people living in the neighborhood---a percentage almost unheard of in most city neighborhoods that have civic associations.

"We are very aggressively recruiting members," Baliga added. "But our best ambassadors are our existing members, and we're urging them to recruit their neighbors and friends in the community. Several current members have already done this, and we are grateful to them for this effort."

In other business at the AHCA meeting:

** Members heard a presentation on the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association, a not-for-profit organization that celebrates and promotes preservation of the city's estimated 80,000 bungalows---which comprise nearly one-third of Chicago's single-family housing stock. HCBA members have access to resources that can help them restore their bungalows and make them more energy efficient. Some of those resources include government grants. Many of the single-family homes in Archer Heights are bungalows. For full details, visit

(L-R) Thomas Baliga, John Rapacz, Stan Lihosit
 ** Leaders congratulated AHCA member John Rapacz on winning election to the Local School Council at Curie High School. They noted that Curie's LSC has not had an AHCA member on it in at least several years. (AHCA President Stan Lihosit had served as Curie LSC president for a dozen years, when his sons attended the school.) Rapacz, who grew up in Garfield Ridge and graduated from Kennedy High School, lived in Brighton Park until last summer, when he moved to Archer Heights.

** Members heard about ACHA efforts to stay on top of properties that pose a concern, including a situation near 53rd and Kenneth involving storage of construction vehicles; and a recently-closed business near 48th and Knox.

** AHCA Building and Zoning Committee Chairman George Vescovi expressed frustration over the failure of city officials to investigate AHCA reports of possible zoning violations. "We have three addresses we gave them last June, and they still haven't been inspected," he stated. "I don't know who these (zoning) inspectors are or who's in charge of the zoning department; but we need to get them out here at our meeting to explain themselves." The Southwest Chicago Post has contacted Chicago Buildings Department Commissioner Michael Merchant for a response.

Commander David R. McNaughton
 Also at the meeting, AHCA officials made several pitches for membership enrollment, which is $10 per year. Simple registration forms can be found in the ACHA’s monthly newsletter, a six-page publication packed with updates on the group’s effort to fight crime and blight and promote a safer and more prosperous community.

To learn more about the AHCA, call 773-843-2232 or attend the next meeting, set for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 13 at the UNO Veterans Memorial Campus, 47th & Kildare. Guest speaker is Chicago Police Department Eighth District Commander David R. McNaughton.

AHCA meetings are always the second Wednesday of the month, with the exception of July and August, and always start at 7:30 p.m. All Archer Heights residents are encouraged to attend.

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