January 6, 2013

Mayor Emanuel Announces $2 Million in Neighborhood Park Investments with NATO Legacy Funds

Funds will Build New and Improve Existing Neighborhood Parks and Playgrounds, Significantly Expand Circus in the Parks Program as Part of “Night Out in the Parks”

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that an additional $2 million in NATO Summit legacy funds will be invested in neighborhood parks and cultural programs.

“The legacy of NATO will live on in Chicago through these direct investments into the communities and programs that need them most, “said Mayor Emanuel. “What better way to use these remaining funds than to put them into bettering our communities, schools and parks. These projects and improvements serve as an acknowledgement and celebration of how Chicago came together and welcomed the world to our city.”

From the outset, Mayor Emanuel committed that Chicago taxpayers would not be responsible for any of the costs associated with hosting the NATO Summit. Federal funds and private funds raised by the NATO host committee were used to pay for the costs associated with hosting the summit, and those costs came in under budget. The remaining private funds are being used where they are needed most – directly in Chicago’s communities, to the direct benefit of Chicago’s residents.

The $2-plus million in funding announced today will benefit neighborhood park projects and community programs, including $1.7 million to build a new park playground in North Lawndale at the Frazier schools, $120,000 of improvements to Indian Boundary Park, as well as improve existing parks in several communities with upgrades to include new lights, turf, and other amenities. Additionally, $300,000 will boost  neighborhood cultural programming at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, and the popular Circus in the Parks program. 

As part of the City's Cultural Plan, the Park District's new "Night Out in the Parks" series -- coming summer 2013 -- will feature a major expansion of the popular Circus in the Parks program.  These funds will double the number of performances of Circus in the Parks and extend the program to new parks and new audiences, reaching more than 20,000 people.  This expansion will include Friday night performances and extend the overall season of the Circus. 

In addition to today’s $2 million in investments, the Mayor has already announced that $9 million in NATO Summit legacy funds will go toward a number of community programs and park investments. In October 2012, he announced that nearly $7 million would help fund five parks that will be substantially rehabilitated, and toward building the Park District’s four new neighborhood boathouses and the new Bloomingdale Trail that will connect several Chicago neighborhoods. In December 2012, the Mayor announced that an additional $1 million would go toward a new program “Youth Working for Success” to would create 400 new jobs for youth throughout the city and $1 million would be used to support 60 CPS school learning gardens.

In 2012, the Mayor announced a comprehensive plan to build and improve parks throughout the city, so that every Chicagoan is within a ten minute walk of a park from their house.


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