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New 312 RiverRun will create one of Chicago’s largest recreational hubs by connecting three parks with one path for nearly two miles

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today joined the Chicago Park District Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly and SMG to break ground on the new studio ice rink and expansion of McFetridge Sports Center. Once the expansion of the studio rink is complete, the sports center will offer more classes, add new and exciting programming, manage class sizes and provide more open ice for public use. 

“The expansion at McFetridge Sports Center provides our community members and athletes with a place to practice, compete and stay active in Chicago’s parks,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As part of the unparalleled network of outdoor recreational opportunities created by the 312 RiverRun, McFetridge will become a community anchor for even more residents.”

The new studio rink will be 100 feet by 85 feet, and complement the current 200 feet by 85 feet ice sheet. Once complete, community programming including edge/power skating classes, goalie instruction and 3 on 3 leagues will be offered. This will also provide the opportunity to offer additional popular classes that include sled hockey for players with disabilities and specialty figure skating classes. Options for birthday parties, private ice rentals and events will also be expanded.

“The new rink at McFetridge Sports Center will provide residents with expanded world-class amenities, and encourage participation in hockey and other sports across many seasons,” Chicago Park District Superintendent & CEO Michael P. Kelly. “This investment will enrich the lives of community members who use the park resources, and will have a valuable impact on our future generations.”

The Chicago Park District will build the studio rink on the south side of the facility in the existing parking lot. The expansion is expected to be complete in September 2018.

Over the last six years McFetridge Sports Center has seen a 25 percent increase in registration for ice skating and hockey programming, with programs running at full capacity from 6:00am – 12:30am every day of the week. With only one sheet of ice, the facility was limited in its ability to offer more classes and expand programming.

The facility is open year-round and supports competitive and recreational ice skating, hockey and tennis programs, as well as special events like the annual Figure Skating Ice Show, ice hockey tournaments for the home team River Dogs and the McFetridge Open and Turkey Trot annual tennis tournaments. SMG, the world’s leading provider of public building management, began managing McFetridge Sports Center for the Chicago Park District in 2012.

Expanding McFetridge Sports center is part of the 312 RiverRun project which will connect the surrounding Irving Park, North Center, Avondale and Albany Park neighborhoods to three parks with one path for nearly two consecutive miles. Once complete, the project will transform the riverfront neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side into one of the City’s largest recreational hubs that provides residents with an unobstructed network of parks and recreational amenities. It will extend across 95 acres with facilities and programming for every athletic activity supported by the Chicago Park District including: softball fields, wheelchair accessible baseball fields, fitness centers, playgrounds, an indoor ice skating rink, tennis courts, the mountain bike/BMX trail, an outdoor pool, boat houses and more.

The 312 RiverRun project is a collaboration between the Chicago Departments of Transportation, Planning & Development and the Chicago Park District and continues Mayor Emanuel’s goal of developing a continuous river trail system.

Mayor Emanuel has also led the City’s efforts to transform formerly industrial corridors into recreation space. Examples include the 606 trail which converted unused rail tracks on the North Side into a 2.7 mile, off-street recreational trail, and the Riverwalk, the new riverfront promenade on the south bank of the Chicago River.

The 312 RiverRun project is a key component of Building on Burnham, Mayor Emanuel’s comprehensive plan to invest in the Lakefront, the Chicago River, natural areas and recreational opportunities in neighborhoods across the city. Under the Building on Burnham plan, 985 acres of parks have been acquired and 5.5 miles of waterfront access have been developed with continued plans to acquire additional parkland and further develop the waterfront in the coming years.