Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly, Alderman Toni Foulkes and Alderman Raymond Lopez joined kids enrolled in summer day camps at Lindblom Park in Englewood to cut the ribbon on the park’s recently completed track and field. Additionally, the Mayor and the Park District released conceptual renderings of the first public indoor track and field to be built in the city at Gately Park in Pullman.
“Track and field facilities not only provide safe spaces for kids to stay active- for many students, they can act as a gateway to a brighter future,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The new facilities at Lindblom Park and Gately Park will provide a place for track and field teams to practice and compete, and will help athletes increase their chances at obtaining college athletic scholarships.”
The quarter-mile running track at Lindblom Park consists of a regulation IHSA eight lane rubber surface track, a long jump pit, high jump area and an artificial turf field striped for both soccer and football, featuring night time sports lighting. In addition to being an asset to the Englewood community, the facility will benefit Lindblom High School athletes.
"This is an opportunity for people to engage in outdoor recreation,” said Superintendent Kelly. "We look forward to the positive impact the new track and field will have on the Englewood community and Lindblom High school athletes.”
In April 2014, Mayor Emanuel announced that Lindblom track would receive a new turf track and field with the help of a new $2 million investment from TIF funding, and First Lady Amy Rule and the late Alderman JoAnn Thompson attended the groundbreaking last year. The Park District also contributed $210,920 to the project, which also includes storm water storage, a concrete pad for future bleachers, new fencing, a new drinking fountain and landscaping.
“It’s great to see this new track and field at Lindblom Park, which is exactly what our children need to stay active during the summer months,” said Alderman Foulkes. “As a child I spent my summers playing at this very same park and I’m pleased that the next generation of children will be able to make their own memories.”
"Mayor Emanuel and the late Alderman JoAnn Thompson deserve a big thank you for putting TIF resources to work in our community,” said Alderman Lopez. “Investments such as this track are exactly what is needed to help reinvigorate neighborhoods."
A top priority of Mayor Emanuel and the Park District, the indoor track and field facility at Gately Park will be constructed at 810 E. 103rd Street; a conceptual rendering is attached. Community members have advocated that this indoor track be built for more than three decades. The approximately 90,000 square foot facility will offer a competition level 200 meter track with six lanes and the ability to offer a full range of track and field events, including track and field, long jump, high jump, shot put, hurdles, steeple chase and more. The facility will be an indoor, year round high quality training and competition center providing recreation for youth through adults.
Earlier this year, Governor Bruce Rauner froze previously awarded state grants from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), causing Chicago to lose $28 million in funding for 27 park improvement projects in 25 parks that were either planned or in progress. This included $2.5 million in funding for the indoor track facility at Gately Park. Further, the Governor froze previously awarded state grants from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO); that spending freeze included $12 million in funding for the Gately Park indoor track facility. The Mayor, community leaders and the Park District continue to urge the Governor to fulfill the funding commitments previously made by the state, but in the meantime, the Park District continues to look for partners to find additional funding to allow the project to move forward.
This is just the latest of the new artificial turf fields announced by Mayor Emanuel. Since 2011, 24 full size artificial turf fields have been completed in neighborhoods across the city and 12 more are in the process of being completed.
For more information, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call 312.742.PLAY, 312.747.2001 (TTY).
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, 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.