November 5, 2011

"Take the Field" Initiative Opens Three Public Athletic Fields in Underserved Areas Funded by Public-Private Resources

Chicago Park District to Waive Field Fees for Community Youth Groups

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined Chicago Park District Interim Superintendent Mike Kelly, Bryan Traubert from the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and representatives of various non-profit and philanthropic organizations to open three athletic fields in communities across the city.

"This creative public-private partnership provides a valuable investment in what matters to Chicago: three new fields that will provide a community anchor, where families can gather and children can play and grow," said Mayor Emanuel. “I’d like to thank the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, the Sacks family, Chicago Bears, Parkways Foundation and the McCormick Foundation for their longtime support of the city’s park programs and neighborhoods and for helping us create these outstanding facilities."

These three fields are part of the “Take the Field” initiative, which joins public and private resources to build 10 artificial turf athletic fields throughout the City of Chicago. 

“We’re excited to be here today in celebration of the Take the Field initiative, which is a project that brought together foundations and private funders.  Together, these partners made it possible to build new artificial turf fields for underserved communities,” said Michael Kelly, Interim Superintendent for the Chicago Park District.

Chicago Fire Soccer Club Field

Partners for the new Chicago Fire Club Soccer Field at Pasteur Park are the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the Chicago Fire Soccer Club.

“The Take the Field initiative is a tremendous gift to the entire City of Chicago and we are proud to join Bryan Traubert and Penny Pritzker in supporting such a groundbreaking community endeavor,” said Chicago Fire Soccer Club owner Andrew Hauptman. “Our sport and our community intersect on so many levels and we hope the approximately 650,000 youth and adults who currently play soccer in the Chicagoland area will have a chance to experience this new field and come out to meet the Chicago Fire players on the pitch throughout the year.”

Hauptman was joined by Chicago Fire President Julian Posada and Chicago Fire captain Logan Pause.

Sacks Field at Garfield Park

Partners for the new Sacks Field at Garfield Park are the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and the Sacks Family.

“I loved playing in Garfield Park as a kid," said Lee Sacks.  "It is a real privilege to be able to help the kids who play there today.  I want to thank the Park District, the Mayor and the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation for making this possible.”

Lee Sacks was joined by his son, Michael Sacks of Grosvenor Capital Management L.P. who dedicated the field in  honor of his father.

La Follette Park and Track

Partners for the new La Follette Park Field and Track in the Austin community are the Chicago Bears and Bears Care Foundation, Parkways Foundation and the McCormick Foundation.

“The Chicago Bears and Bears Care have a long history of supporting youth football programming and are excited to be able to expand our investment in the game and our children with the opening of La Follette Park Field,” said George McCaskey, chairman of the Chicago Bears.  “We hope the field will serve as a great home for spirited athletic competition, community events and family activities in the years ahead.”

“Parkways is honored to continue our work of investing in Chicago’s parks to enrich communities,” said Stacey Reineking Sather, chairman of Parkways Foundation.  “We believe a park should be a hub of positive activity for every neighborhood and are thrilled to play a collaborative role in the refurbishing of the track at La Follette Park to engage more Chicagoans to increase their fitness and create healthier lifestyles.”

Each athletic field will feature an all-weather surface and lighting that will allow the field to be used nine months out of the year.  At least three of the fields will be lined for both soccer and football.  

The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has committed to donate up to $5 million on a 1:1 matching basis. To date, $7.9 million has been dedicated to the program thanks to its partners.

In addition to those fields opening Saturday, fields at Humboldt Park (Allstate), Cornell Square Park (Teach for America) and Jackson Park (Chicago Bears) were opened on October 15.  Planning for phase two sites will begin in 2012.



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