Davis Square Park Community Gets New Soccer Field
The Chicago Park District was joined by hundreds of Chicago-area youth athletes, coaches, a consortium of public-private donors and elected officials today to celebrate the grand opening of the new artificial turf soccer field at Davis Square Park, 4430 S. Marshfield Ave., as part of the Take the Field initiative.
Take the Field joins public and private resources to build 11 artificial turf athletic fields throughout the City of Chicago. Partners for Davis Square Park’s field include the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, Parkways Foundation and U.S. Soccer Foundation.
“The Take the Field investments are the perfect complement to what the investments we are making as a City, including using surplus funds from the NATO Summit in order to open six new parks, rehabbing 800 parks, and making an unprecedented investment in the 2013 budget that will create opportunities for a total of 13,000 children,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “I want to thank the Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Parkways Foundation and U.S. Soccer Foundation, for investing in these vital resources for our children.”
“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 in need,” said Dr. Bryan Traubert, 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 demand by the community, and we are thankful for the partnership of the Chicago Park District, Parkways Foundation, U.S. Soccer Foundation and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to build this exciting new soccer field in Davis Square Park.”
“The Chicago Park District puts children first and this field will be another reason for children and families to visit their local park,” said Michael Kelly, general superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District. “I would like to thank our partners who made it possible to build new this new field that will change lives.”
"We at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois' have invested in our communities for the past 76 years, because we too call Chicago our home, said Donna Gerber, Vice President of Community Investment for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Given the rising epidemics of childhood obesity and diabetes, any time we can help provide resources that promote healthy, active lifestyles, we see it as a victory for children and our community."
Davis Square Park is the ninth field to open as part of the Take the Field initiative, which will result in the construction of 11 public artificial turf athletic fields located in underserved and geographically diverse neighborhoods. Supported through private and foundation funds, the goal of the initiative is to promote sports and healthy activities by building a state-of-the-art resource in communities in which field use is in high demand. Recognizing the importance of these fields to local communities, the Chicago Park District has installed field lights and will waive permit fees during specific times throughout the week for youth and community groups that meet eligibility requirements.
Each athletic field will feature an all-weather surface and lighting that will allow the field to be used 9 months out of the year at minimum. Fields will be lined for soccer, and in many cases, also for football and other sports. Construction is underway on fields at Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood St., and Mandrake Park, 900 E. Pershing Rd.
The Pritzker Traubert Family Foundation has committed to donate up to $5 million on a 1:1 matching basis. To date, $13.3 million has been dedicated to the program thanks to its partners.