August 9, 2015

Mayor Emanuel, Chicago Park District Join Community Members to Break Ground on Eleanor Boat House in Bridgeport

South side boat house is fourth of its kind in the city

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Patrick Daley Thompson, Alderman Danny Solis and Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael P. Kelly joined members of the Bridgeport community to break ground on Eleanor boat house, the fourth boat house to be built in the city under the Mayor’s tenure.

“We’ve made great progress in investing in the Chicago River to make it the city’s next great recreational frontier, but this goal will only be achieved when residents from every part of the city have access to recreational opportunities on the river,” said Mayor Emanuel. “When completed, Eleanor boat house will be a tremendous community resource, becoming the first boat house ever to be located in the south side of Chicago.”

Eleanor boat house will be a rowing training and boat storage facility that will consist of two buildings. The first building, totaling 5,832 square feet, will be a mechanically heated training facility that will include a work out space featuring a multi-purpose community room, main office, restrooms and open concept work out space featuring 57 “erg” machines, which simulate the action of rowing and simulate work output. The second building, totaling 13,171 square feet, will be a boat storage building that will include a rowing office, four team storage bays, a heated boat storage repair bay, vending area and a clear span boat storage space. The boat storage space will consist of five boat storage bays able to store 66 rowing shells and support equipment. Site improvements will also be a part of the project, including a floating boat launch dock in the Chicago River, walkways, new lighting, outdoor fitness equipment, landscaping and eight parking spaces.

“The Chicago Park District manages recreational opportunities along the lakefront, and we are excited to continue to make such opportunities available along the Chicago River with this fourth boat house,” said Superintendent Kelly.

The Park District will offer programming at the facility, which will also be open to the public. The area’s rowing community consists of five separate groups: Recovery on Water (ROW), which serves cancer patients and survivors; St. Ignatius College Prep’s rowing group; the intramural team at the University of Chicago; the Chicago Training Center (CTC), which provides rowing opportunities to underserved youth; and Lincoln Park Boat Club (LPBC), a private organization rowing out of multiple city locations.

The construction of this south side boat house will cost approximately $8.5 million, consisting of $8.2 million in Park District funding and a $259,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Chi-Cal Fund. The boat house, which will be designed by Studio Gang Architects, is projected to be complete in the fall of 2016.

Mayor Emanuel has set a goal of making the Chicago River the city’s next recreational frontier, with four new boathouses throughout the city serving as anchors of the river’s future development. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provided nearly $1 million in grant funds to help clean up the river and spur job creation. The Bridgeport boat house is the final of four boathouses to be built under the leadership of Mayor Emanuel. The boat houses at Clark Park, River Park and Ping Tom Park are already open and active.

The sites were chosen to line up with improvements the Chicago Department of Transportation is making to extend trails along the river, providing easier and more consistent river access for runners, bikers, and walkers. The boat houses will each contain a concession facility and will serve both as access points and attractions along the river.

For more information, visit or call 312.742.PLAY.


The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,300 acres of parkland, 585 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit 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.