Chicago Aldermen Committee approves $ 17.2 million for public parks
Chicago’s Garfield Park may soon have its Little League baseball field renovated and the Conservatory’s indoor children’s garden improved, with the help of nearly $ 9 million raised from special tax districts.
The West Side Park is in line for the more than $ 17.2 million money approved by a city council committee on Monday to improve the city’s parks.
“It helps restore this park to its true glory as a gymnasium on the west side of Chicago,” Ald said. Jason Ervin, whose 28th arrondissement includes the immense green space. “We still have a bit of work to do, but we are certainly making great progress. “
The money, collected from the funding districts through tax increases, has been approved by a committee of aldermen and has yet to be approved by the entire city council, which is expected. The funds are in addition to the money already budgeted for capital projects by the park district. So far this year, city council has approved around $ 5 million in TIF funds for public parks.
The $ 8.9 million West Side Garfield Park project include renovations of Little League land, including new canoes, turf and bleachers for spectators, and the creation of an industrial art space within the complex, with gallery spaces and areas for making art. About $ 1 million of TIF money will go to an indoor kindergarten at the Garfield Park Conservatory, which will also benefit from private funds, according to Beth O’Reilly, deputy director of the budget at the Park District.
Parks on the north side of the city will receive more than $ 7 million, most of which will go to areas along the North Arm of the Chicago River.
“Our rivers provide incredible opportunities for recreation, comfort and protection from global warming,” said Ald. Michele Smith, 43rd arrondissement, who took the opportunity to advocate for a public park near the new Lincoln Yards development closer to his Lincoln Park borough.
One of the Chicago River projects would allocate $ 2 million to create a new waterfront park behind Northside College Prep. Another attribute $ 3.5 million at Ronan Park to create community gardens and a gathering pavilion. Across the river from Ronan Park is River Park, where the city plans to spend $ 750,000 to build a boat warehouse and improve access to water. To finish, Kiwanis Park is online for $ 800,000 to improve the shoreline and trail behind Von Steuben High School.
On the south side, Douglass Park, in the North Lawndale district of the city, will get $ 600,000 to update the electricity and renovate the auditorium inside the park pavilion.
Ald. Michael Scott Jr., 24th Ward, said he wanted the Park District to do more, and even offered discretionary money from his office to help close the gap.
“While I support this I would challenge the Park District as well, there are other things to look at in Douglass Park like the basement and washrooms,” Scott said. According to documents posted on the Park District website, the sister agency has made several improvements to Douglass Park since 2011, including a rehabilitation of the swimming pool in 2016 and a current rehabilitation of the minigolf. But the document does not say how much the projects cost.
Still on the south side, the city allocates $ 350,000 in TIF money to create a small park on vacant land in Bridgeport, located at 3159 South Halsted Street, and another $ 300,000 at Jesse Owens Park for new lighting and paths.
Humboldt Park nearby was online for $ 1.1 million for electrical updates to both the field and the boathouse, but finance committee chairman Scott Waguespack, Ald said. Roberto Maldonado, whose 26th Ward includes Humboldt Park, asked to keep the point in committee and not to proceed to the vote.
Other parks to get TIF money from city council in 2021 include:
$ 1.5 million for Austin City Hall at 5610 W Lake St.
$ 1.4 million for West Pullman Park at 401 W 123rd St.
$ 850,000 for Donovan Park at 3609 S Lituanica Ave.
$ 345,000 for Wilson Park at 4630 N Milwaukee Ave.
$ 300,000 for Washington Park at 5531 S Martin Luther King Drive
$ 200,000 for Winnemac Park at 5001 N Leavitt St.
$ 125,000 for Brighton Park at 3542 S Richmond St.
$ 125,000 for Chase Park at 4701 N Ashland Ave.
$ 110,000 for Amundsen Park at 6200 W Bloomingdale Ave.
Becky Vevea covers city politics for WBEZ. Am here @beckyvevea.