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Park District and Board celebrate Black History Month; Parks across the city host programs and events

Today, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners voted to consent to the potential landmark designation for Promontory Point and approved land transfers that will expand Aspen Park, 4237 S, Wabash and Poplar Park, 4044 S. Prairie on the city’s South side. The Board granted provisional approval for large scale events to be permitted on park property. Also during the meeting held at Fosco Park, located 1312 S. Racine in the New City community, the Park District and Board celebrated Black History Month during a presentation highlighting the BHM programs and events being hosted in parks across the city. 

“This month’s Board agenda exemplifies the Chicago Park District’s commitment to our City’s treasured parks,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño.  “From preserving the historic character of spaces like Promontory Point to expanding existing properties and developing new parks, these measures add long term value to our neighborhoods and many invaluable health and well-being benefits for Chicago families.” 

In a unanimous vote, the Park District Board granted its consent to designate Promontory Point as a City of Chicago landmark. The historic lakefront feature, which is located in Burnham Park,  is currently under consideration of the Chicago Commission on Landmarks. Designed in 1936 by renowned Prairie School designer Alfred Caldwell, Promontory Point is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and remains one of Chicago’s most beloved park treasures.

The Board’s vote allows for next steps in the designation process which include a presentation by the City to the Commission and a City Council vote to approve. City landmark designation will ensure additional permit approvals will be required for changes made to landmarked features.  

The Board approved the transfer of 3.59 acres of land from the City of Chicago that will allow the District to expand Aspen Park and Polar Park, both located in the Grand Boulevard community on the city’s South Side and develop new parks. The Board also authorized the transfer of Robert Jackson Park, a .24 acre parcel, also located in the Grand Boulevard community.  Aspen Park and Poplar Park are small, pocket parks that are currently .23 and .28 acres respectively in size and offer green space and a playground.   

Also during the meeting, the Park District Board of Commissioners granted provisional approval for the Bank of Chicago Shamrock Shuffle, Fifth Third Bike The Drive, Hot Chocolate Run Chicago and 2023 WON-Day Gospel Music Festival. In November, the Board passed a change to the Park District Code that now requires provisional approval for permitted events with 10,000 or more attendees.  

“This change was made to elevate community voice and engagement in this process and to increase transparency for the general public,” stated President Hamilton.   

Pursuant to the Chapter VII of the Park District’s Code, all permit applications for special events with an attendance of 10,000 or more are subject to Board consideration before the District can issue an event permit and which, depending on the nature of the event, may also require approvals from other regulatory agencies such as various City of Chicago departments.  

In celebration of Black History Month, the Park District and the Board heard a presentation highlighting the BHM programs and evens hosted in parks across the city throughout February.  

After recognizing there are 46 parks are named in honor of prominent black leaders, President Hamilton said “I acknowledge with great pride the shoulders of the many giants that we stand upon and I believe that there is no greater honor than to continue building upon the legacy that has been set before us and to forge a path toward equity and justice.” 
The Dancing Seniors from Columbus Park, located in the Austin community, performed the line dance that will also headline the Umoja Festival, one of the District’s longest running Black History Month celebrations. Umoja will be held Saturday, February 18th at Homan Square Park, 3559 W. Arthington.