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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Superintendent Michael P. Kelly, Alderman George Cardenas (12th Ward) and members of the Little Village community today gathered to break ground on the “big park in Little Village” located at 2800 S. Sacramento Ave, the former Celotex site in the South Lawndale community.
“By breaking ground today, we bring the children and families of Little Village one step closer to having a much-needed open space in the heart of their neighborhood for recreational activities,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Investing in parks like this is another step forward as we advance our goal of ensuring that every child in Chicago is within a 10 minute walk of a park.”
Earlier this month the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners approved a $10.1 million contract with Friedler Construction Company to begin construction work at the park. The contractor, the lowest of five competitors, was selected following a publicly advertised invitation for bid. The work includes converting a former 22-acre brownfield site into an open recreation facility supporting both passive and active recreation; the development includes environmental remediation and oversight.
“The Chicago Park District is committed to creating recreational opportunities for all residents in all communities,” said Superintendent Michael Kelly. “From playing sports to simply enjoying the great outdoors, this park will cater to many interests and people of all ages.”
The park was developed with input gathered at more than a dozen stakeholder and public meetings. Amenities in the developed park will include: artificial turf soccer fields with sports lighting; a natural grass baseball and softball field; two basketball courts; skate park; a large playground with rubber safety surfacing and water spray feature; comfort station with concession and restrooms; picnic pavilion; parking lot; promenade through the park; multi-use trail; open lawn areas for events; pathway lighting; and landscape elements throughout the park.
“This is a great opportunity for children to grow, play and learn in a safe environment right in Little Village,” said Congressman Luis Gutierrez. “When there is a consistent and persistent demand for change, this is what happens. It is literally a breath of fresh air that reminds us we all have a stake in a cleaner environment and a more beautiful city.”
“While this park has taken many years, we’re glad that this groundbreaking is here and are anxious to get started. The persistence of the community paid off. Residents will benefit tremendously when the big park in Little Village opens,” said Alderman George Cardenas, 12th Ward.
“After many years of struggle, the construction of the new park in Little Village is a tremendous victory for the community,” said Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) Executive Director Antonio Lopez, Ph.D. “LVEJO is proud to have assisted in turning this superfund site into a green public park that will contribute to the health and wellness of the community for generations.”
“This new green space in Little Village has been a work in progress for many years,” said Senator Tony Munoz. “Green space is essential for any neighborhood, and I am proud to have been able to work with the city to obtain state funds for this new community asset.”
The conversion of the former Celotex site into a park is part of Mayor Emanuel’s five-year initiative to invest in parks, playgrounds and recreational spaces throughout the City. The plan for this park was developed with community residents’ input gathered at numerous public meetings.
Construction will begin before the end of the month and is estimated to be completed by fall 2014. Funding sources for the project include $4 million each from the Chicago Park District and the City of Chicago; $8 million from the State of Illinois; and $1.4 million from the state-financed Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant.
For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,100 acres of parkland, more than 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312.742.PLAY or 312.747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312.742.PLAY.