Cubs, Kids and Community Leaders Prepare to "Take the Field" with Groundbreaking at Harrison Park
The Chicago Cubs, Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and members of the community broke ground on a new state-of-the-art, all-weather athletic field at the Chicago Park District's Harrison Park in the Pilsen community on Friday morning, August 3, 2012.
Mr. Michael P. Kelly, General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District, welcomed members of a consortium of public-private donors who have come together to bring this field to the community."I'd like to thank the Chicago Cubs, the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, Alderman Danny Solis and Cristo Rey Jesuit High School for coming together to help create what will be an exceptional facility for this community. This field will be used by area youth for their athletic programs, by adult softball leagues and by the students of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. It is a wonderful gift to this community."
"My wife Penny Pritzker and I started the Take the Field initiative last year to attract private dollars to invest in the future health outcomes of our city's youth through constructing state-of-the-art artificial turf fields in neighborhood parks on the south and west sides of the city," said Dr. Bryan Traubert, President, Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and President, Board of Commissioners, Chicago Park District."We are thrilled that the six fields built last summer are in high use by the community, and we are thankful for the partnership of the Chicago Park District, Alderman Daniel Solis, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and the Chicago Cubs on this exciting new field in Harrison Park."
Harrison Park Field is one of five fields being built in Phase II of the"Take the Field Initiative." Harrison Park is unique because it is the first field to be fitted to host Little League baseball and softball in addition to soccer, flag football and Lacrosse.
"The Chicago Cubs are happy to keep the tradition of Little League play alive by building and rehabilitating baseball fields in neighborhoods across this city," said Chicago Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts."From our Wheelchair Softball Field at California Park, to Little Cubs Field at Humboldt Park, these ball fields have served as a source of inspiration and brought communities together. We're excited so many partners are involved in this project which will serve children and families in the Pilsen community."
The 25th Ward Alderman, Daniel Solís, helped to bring the project to the neighborhood."When the idea of bringing a state-of-the-art sports field to the ward was brought to my attention, I knew it would be a great opportunity to provide families in our community with a place where our children can run and play and grow into healthy adults. This will be a great addition to the neighborhood."
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School advocated to include Harrison Park in the"Take the Field" Initiative and is a lead contributor to the project. According to Antonio Ortiz, President of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School,"Pilsen and Little Village are densely populated communities with very limited green space. Because of this, we need to make better use of what we have. By upgrading the existing field and increasing its usage, everyone in the community benefits."
In addition to the local community sports leagues, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School will be using the field for practice and as its"home field" for high school soccer and softball games. The all-weather field and additional lighting will provide expanded use for nine months of the year and increase the hours the field can be used each day. While Cristo Rey Jesuit High School will receive some scheduling preference for its activities, the Park District will continue to manage community use of the field. The construction of the field is expected to be completed by November 2012.
About the Partners
Take the Field
The Take the Field initiative is led by the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation and joins public and private resources to build 11 artificial turf athletic fields in underserved and geographically diverse Chicago parks. The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has committed to donate up to $5 million on a 1:1 matching basis for the new facilities to encourage community residents, particularly youth, to engage in sports and healthy activities. To date, over $12 million has been dedicated to the initiative thanks to its partners. Six fields were constructed last summer and five fields are scheduled to open by the end of 2012. For more information, visit www.ptffoudation.org.
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School is a Catholic, coeducational, dual-language college preparatory school, located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. All students participate in the Corporate Work Study Program which allows them to gain real world work experience while offsetting the cost of their education. For more information, visit www.cristorey.net.
The Chicago Cubs reach thousands of Chicagoans and help support some of the people and organizations which make the city great. By investing in communities throughout the Chicago area, they contribute to a strong, healthy and bright future for children, families and neighborhoods. For more information on their community involvement, visit www.chicagocubs.com.
Alderman Daniel Solis is the representative for the 25th Ward of Chicago. He represents Pilsen, the largest Mexican-American community in the country, the University Village-community encompassing the prestigious University of Illinois' Chicago campus, and Chicago's fast-growing Chinatown community. For more information, visit www.dannysolis.org.
Chicago Park District owns more than 8,100 acres of green space, and offers thousands of sports and physical activities as well as cultural and environmental programs. The Chicago Park District is also responsible for 77 indoor and outdoor pools and 26 miles of lakefront.