The groups awarded a $2,500 grant Wednesday to the Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative and the Beverly Area Arts Alliance, which will partner to coordinate the unnamed event, organizer Scott Smith said.
Smith, a Morgan Park resident, said the details of the festival haven't been ironed out. But he envisions linking the shopping districts near Metra's 99th and 103rd street stations for the festival.
He thinks Walden Parkway could be closed off to car traffic for the event that might also be held in conjunction with the Beverly Art Walk, which is organized by the alliance and will be held Oct. 7.
"That's a space people would feel comfortable walking and biking in," said Smith of the stretch of Walden Parkway. He's is also considering incorporating the area near Metra's 107th street station as part of the festival.
The idea for the daylong event was born in with an "On the Table" discussion held May 16 at the Blackwelder/Heritage House at 10910 S. Prospect Ave. in Morgan Park. Coordinated by the trust, the community discussion originally focused on the state of diversity within the 19th Ward, Smith said.
From there, the conversation turned to how diversity can strengthen a neighborhood, particularly as it relates to supporting small businesses. And the "car-centric" areas of Beverly, Morgan Park and Mount Greenwood were seen as a challenge for area vendors, he said.
The idea of a walking and biking festival seemed to touch on all issues, and Smith created a two-minute video laying out the idea and submitted it for an Acting Up Award. The community trust agreed to fund 71 such projects in the city and suburbs, said Jean Westrick, its director of civic engagement and partnerships.
"It's really about how do we make our community stronger and build that social inclusion," said Westrick, who added that 25 judges reviewed the 263 videos and awarded a total of $135,000.
Smith also envisions art shows, music and perhaps a story-telling event such as The Frunchroom being held at each station. Along the route, smaller activities such as a kids crafting table and other attractions could also liven the path.
He hopes the festival will spark conversations between neighbors and said it could become an annual event. The gathering might also spark interest in adding bike lanes as well as encourage Divvy to expand here.
"There's a great opportunity with this grant to do something very cool," he said.