February 20, 2015

Mayor Emanuel, City Officials, Community Members Celebrate Groundbreaking of New Arts and Recreation Center in Ellis Park

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly, Chicago Housing Authority CEO Mike Merchant, Alderman Will Burns and Alderman Pat Dowell were joined today by community members, faith leaders and Quad Communities Development Corporation to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new arts and recreation center at Ellis Park.
“For too long, there was no public indoor swimming pool between Hyde Park and the South Loop – that will end when we finally cut the ribbon on this new center,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Area residents will soon have a top-notch athletic and cultural amenity that will serve as a neighborhood anchor; this center is an example of the investments we’re making today to ensure our neighborhoods have a brighter future tomorrow.”

The facility will include a full-size gymnasium with two basketball courts, an indoor pool, art and education club rooms, a fitness center and studio, meeting hall, and music and theater performance spaces. The center will also offer space for arts and cultural programs that can support after school programs for local elementary and high school students. The development will sit on 4.88 acres of property, consisting of 2.55 acres of Park District land in Ellis Park and the addition of 2.33 acres of land from Chicago Public Schools.

“We are excited to break ground on the arts and recreation center,” said Superintendent Kelly. “Upon completion, this state-of-the-art facility will expand arts and cultural opportunities for the residents of Bronzeville and families from surrounding communities.”

“As part of the mission of CHA’s strategic initiative, Plan Forward, we are continuing to build strong, vibrant communities throughout Chicago,” said CHA CEO Michael R. Merchant. “We are extremely proud to help re-energize the Bronzeville community with this type of project.”

The Park District, Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority’s partner, the Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) are leading the development of the property and the financing for a new 32,482 square foot field house and community (arts and recreation) center. The $17.5 million facility will serve the greater Oakland, Douglas and Bronzeville communities. Funding sources include the Chicago Housing Authority, TIF funds and New Market Tax Credits from the Community Builders.

"Our children, families and seniors have waited over a decade for a state of the art field house for Bronzeville,” said Alderman Will Burns. “Today marks the culmination of a decade of planning and advocacy for the Arts and Recreation Center in Ellis Park. As we look to reduce violence and provide young people with alternatives to the streets, we have to create positive alternatives. I look forward to the Arts and Rec center offering thousands of children positive activities and programs."

“Bronzeville can benefit from more recreation centers, and I look forward to seeing this state of art facility opening and becoming a community asset,” said Alderman Pat Dowell.

Construction is projected to be completed by the end of 2015.



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 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.