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The historically preserved fieldhouse, built in 1905, will receive enhacements focused on restoring the park as a vital resource for the community

The Chicago Park District, in partnership with 20th Ward Alderman Jeanette B. Taylor, announce new capital improvements coming to Cornell Square Park, located in the New City community area, also known as "Back of the Yards." The designs being presented to the public at a community meeting on Thursday, February 29 at 6 p.m. will include restoration of fieldhouse features as well as much-needed enhancements of structural park elements.

This project’s goal is to provide the Back of the Yards neighborhood with a facility and green space that is functional and suitable for the needs of the current community. The 8.85 acres park has as a centerpiece a nearly 120-year-old existing structure, which requires upgrades to existing concrete façade, windows, walls, bathrooms, electrical, plumbing and entryway to improve accessibility.

The facility is slated to receive the following enhancements:

  • Restoration of the façade, windows and doors.
  • Repairs to concrete walls, steps, and sidewalks
  • Repairs to exterior accessible ramp.
  • ADA upgrades to level changes throughout the facility
  • Enhancements of pool toilet, shower and locker room
  • Installation of new all gender washrooms near both gymnasiums
  • Updates to mechanical, electrical and plumbing
  • Interior painting of lobby and public areas

The project is backed by $1.2 million from a Park and Recreational Facilities Construction (PARC) Grant awarded by the State of Illinois.

“The Chicago Park District is a vital resource for communities, and to keep it viable, we must invest in our historic facilities, so that they meet new expectations and fulfill the needs for indoor, outdoor and year-round programming for youth, teens, adults and seniors,” said Chicago Park District CEO and Superintendent Rosa Escareño. “With support from Alderperson Taylor, the Park District is making investments in Cornell Square Park that will enhance aging infrastructure and improve accessibility and use for the surrounding communities.”

“I’m excited about our partnership with the Chicago Park District and the Back of the Yards/New City Community to bring much-needed upgrades for Cornell Park. It’s important that we have these partnerships because not only does it get people to invest in our parks, but it also makes sure that our parks are available for young people during times when they are out of school or need after-school care,” said Jeanette Taylor, 20th ward Alderwoman.

WHEN:           Public Community Meeting, Thursday, February 29th at 6 p.m. 
Construction will begin at the end of 2024. The project is slated to be completed by the end of 2025.

WHERE:         Cornell Square Park, located at 1809 W. 50th Street
The fieldhouse designed by D.H. Burnham Architects and Olmsted Brothers, Landscape Architects, was completed in 1905. The Beaux Art Revival style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, with the fieldhouse noted as contributing asset within the historic district.

In 2022, the Chicago Park District hired Bailey Edward Architects to provide an existing conditions assessment report and design services for the renovation and restoration of the fieldhouse.