Projects in Planning & Design Phase

Check here for project updates, upcoming meetings, and project communications for projects that are currently in the planning & design phase.

DuSable Park Planning & Design
Address:   401 North DuSable Lake Shore Drive
Community: Near North Side
Status:  Design
Anticipated Construction Cost: $13,000,000

 

Project Description

DuSable Park is a 3.44-acre park located east of Lake Shore Drive at the confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.  The park site is located upon an area of lake fill that was home to various industrial uses beginning in the late 1800s.  The site was established as a park as part of the Chicago Dock and Canal Trust Planned Development, and in 1987 Mayor Harold Washington dedicated and named the site in honor of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the first non-native American settler and founder of Chicago. In 1988, a quitclaim of 3.44 acres for DuSable Park was deeded to the Park District.  Today, although yet undeveloped, the park is positioned as both a critical piece of Chicago's public lakefront and the endcap to Chicago’s Riverwalk. 

In the years that followed the park’s dedication and transfer into Park District ownership, several advancements and some setbacks in the site’s planning and development as a public park have occurred. In 2006, the Park District worked with local stakeholders to develop the DuSable Park Framework Plan.  The Framework Plan lays out a vision for the park including interpretive and recreation elements such as a Founder’s Plaza, an observatory, a promenade, a lakefront boardwalk, an outdoor classroom, a boat drop-off, and educational and art components.  Unfortunately, implementation of these plans stalled as a result the economic recession of 2008.  Despite this stall, and the fact that some updates to the plan will be required based on current existing conditions, the Framework Plan remains relevant and supported by community stakeholders to this day. The Park District intends that the Framework Plan will serve as a strong foundation for the new park development. Per the Framework Plan, the Chicago Park District's goals in creating DuSable Park are to:

  1. Honor and celebrate Jean Baptiste Pointe Du Sable's contributions to Chicago and to educate the public accordingly.
  2. Recognize the unique confluence of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan by creating a passive, visible and accessible park.
  3. Attract the local community, citywide residents, and tourists to the park.
  4. Create a park design that has evolved from the input of the Chicago Park District and the DuSable Park Steering Committee.
  5. Incorporate art and storytelling into the park that celebrates the life and legacy of DuSable

The Chicago Park District is currently undergoing a selection process to secure the services of a consultant team to design improvements for DuSable Park based on the recommendations of the 2006 DuSable Park Framework Plan. Because this is such a historically important project at a premier lakefront site that is happening at such a pivotal time in the City’s history, the Park District has chosen to solicit a designer for the project through a public, “target market” Request for Proposals process.  Through this process, the Park District will engage a diverse, world-class design team that can deliver a truly special and significant project. 
 

Anticipated Project Schedule

RFP Advertised to Consultants:   September 2021  
Board Committee & Contract Award: March 2022 
Park Design:  Summer 2022 – Spring 2024
Anticipated Park Completion: Summer 2025 



Meetings

  • Upcoming Meetings
    • Please check back here for more information on meeting dates, times, and location/format, as it becomes available.


Project Documents

 

Questions or Comments

Please sign up to receive project information direct to your email, or share any questions or comments you have about this project by filling out our feedback form.
 

Jackson Park Plan for Interpretive Materials
Address:   6401 South Stony Island Avenue
Community: Hyde Park
Status:  Design
Anticipated Construction Cost: n/a

 

Project Description

In July 2016, the Obama Foundation announced that Jackson Park will be the site of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC).  In addition to the construction of the center itself, the project will include a number of site improvements in and around Jackson Park. Anticipated site improvements include roadway reconfiguration to accommodate the OPC, the construction of new bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and the relocation of certain recreational uses that will be displaced to accommodate the OPC. 

Because the proposed project area is located on property listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of both the Jackson Park Historic Landscape District and Midway Plaisance and the Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District, the project is subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. As part of this process, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Federal Highway Administration, the Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation was executed in December 2021.  The MOA identifies feasible measures to resolve any adverse effects identified in the Section 106 process that could impact the historic integrity of the project area. The scope of work of this project addresses one of the mitigation measures identified in the draft MOA, the development of a plan for interpretive materials within the park.

The Park District has engaged a consultant team led by SOM to help develop a plan to install interpretive materials or carry out programs to commemorate and present the cultural and natural historical contributions of Jackson Park and its use by South Side residents. The plan for interpretive materials may encompass different formats for interpretation such as a digital program components and interpretive displays. The draft plan will be created in consultation with Consulting Parties, local museums, community groups, schools and universities, to determine the appropriate content, format, and locations for interpretive materials. The draft plan will be made available for 45-day review and comment by signatories, invited signatories, and concurring parties to the MOA. The consultant team will assist to prepare and provide a comment / response document summarizing the comments received. In light of these comments, the Park District and consultant team will prepare the final plan and provide it to signatories, invited signatories, and concurring parties to this MOA before implementing the final plan.
 

Anticipated Project Schedule

RFS Advertised to Consultants:   January 5, 2021
Notice to Proceed to Consultant:  February 2022 
Stakeholder Engagement: May 2022 – September 2022
Preliminary Plan Development: June 2022 – September 2022
MOA Signatory Review:  September 2022 – October 2022
Final Plan Development: October 2022 – February 2023 
Project Completion: February 2023



Meetings

  • Upcoming Meetings
    • May 3, 2022 at 5:30PM - Project Introduction at Midway Plaisance Community Meeting


Project Documents

 

Questions or Comments

Please sign up to receive project information direct to your email, or share any questions or comments you have about this project by filling out our feedback form.
 

Midway Plaisance East End Improvements
Address:   1130 Midway Plaisance North
Community: Hyde Park
Status:  Design
Anticipated Construction Cost: $3,000,000

 

Project Description

In July 2016, the Obama Foundation announced that Jackson Park will be the site of the Obama Presidential Center (OPC).  In addition to the construction of the center itself, the project will include a number of site improvements in and around Jackson Park. Anticipated site improvements include roadway reconfiguration to accommodate the OPC, the construction of new bicycle and pedestrian improvements, and the relocation of certain recreational uses that will be displaced to accommodate the OPC. Because the proposed project area is located on property listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of both the Jackson Park Historic Landscape District and Midway Plaisance and the Chicago Park Boulevard System Historic District, the project is subject to review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. As part of this process a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the Federal Highway Administration, the Illinois State Historic Preservation Officer, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation was executed in December 2021.  The MOA identifies feasible measures to resolve any adverse effects identified in the Section 106 process that could impact the historic integrity of the project area.  For more information on the federal review process, please visit the City’s project website: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dcd/supp_info/jackson-park-improvements.html

The scope of work of this project addresses one of the mitigation measures identified in the draft MOA: Replacement of recreational use area within Jackson Park that was restored in the 1980s using Urban Park and Recreation Recovery (UPARR) grant money.  Because the footprint of the OPC development will modify the original UPARR boundary within Jackson Park, the City is required to dedicate replacement recreation property elsewhere. As part of a UPARR Amendment executed in May 2021 between the National Park Service and the City of Chicago (Grantee) and the Chicago Park District (Subgrantee), the recreation replacement will be partially addressed through the dedication of recreation area at the east end of the Midway Plaisance.  To replace lost recreational opportunities and respond to community requests, the recreation replacement site will accommodate a combination of play area, open space, and rehabilitated walkways. 

The Park District solicited proposals from design teams through a public, “target market” process, wherein project teams were required a certified MBE (minority-owned business enterprise) or WBE (woman-owned business enterprise) team lead in order to qualify for selection. In October 2021 the Park District awarded the design contract to Site Design Group.  The design process is underway, and the Park District anticipates the first community meetings related to design of the new park improvements will be hosted in March 2022.


Anticipated Project Schedule

RFP Advertised to Consultants:   July 2021 
Board Committee & Contract Award: October 2021
Park Design:  Winter 2021 – Spring 2023
Anticipated Park Opening Date: Spring 2024



Meetings

 

Project Documents

 

Questions or Comments

Please share with us any questions or comments you have about this project:  Midway Plaisance East End Improvements Project Feedback Form

 

Washington Park Framework Plan
Address:   5531 South King Drive
Community: Washington Park
Status:  Planning

 

Project Description

Washington Park is a 367-acre Chicago Park District site bounded on the north by East 51st Street, on the south by East 60th Street, on the east by Cottage Grove Avenue, and on the west by South King Drive.   It was conceived in 1871 by Frederick Law Olmstead as part of a large 1,055-acre park known as South Park, a complex that is now home to modern-day Jackson Park, the Midway Plaisance, and Washington Park.  Today, Washington Park continues to reflect many of its original design elements, and of the three parks comprising the original concept for South Park, Washington Park remains the most intact representation of Olmstead’s plan.

In 2002, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners adopted the Washington Park Framework Plan. The framework plan outlines recommendations and principles to guide land use and management for Washington Park. In 2004, Washington Park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a United States Registered Historic District. Since the early 2000s, the Park District has accomplished a number of plan objectives with respect to the park’s historic context, and significant changes have occurred in the surrounding community and connecting parks – the Midway Plaisance and Jackson Park. 

The Chicago Park District is in the process of selecting a qualified consultant team to prepare an updated Framework Plan for Washington Park through a public, “target market” selection process. The updated plan will provide a vision for improvements in the park over time, and will serve as a planning tool for the Park District and the greater community as resources become available to invest in the park.  The plan will address the park’s role as a neighborhood park, a city destination, and as a public open space with national significance as a historic park. Once complete, the plan will be the guiding document that outlines priorities and ensures that improvements are implemented in a coordinated manner with respect to the historic integrity of the park and the evolving needs of the community.


]Anticipated Project Schedule

RFP Advertised to Consultants:   December 2021 
Board Committee & Contract Award: April 2022 
Park Planning:  Spring 2022 – Fall 2023
Framework Plan Completion: Fall 2023

 

Upcoming Meetings

Please check back here for more information on meeting dates, times, and location / format, as it becomes available.


Project Documents


Questions and Comments

Please sign up to receive project information direct to your email, or share any questions or comments you have about this project by filling out our feedback form.

 

 


Active Projects

Brighton Campus – New Park and HQ>

Park 596 Rendering - Aerial View
 

Park 596 Rendering - Playground
 

Park 596 Rendering - Building
 

Address:   4830 S. Western Avenue
Community: Brighton Park Community Area
Status:  In Construction
Cost:  $64 million

The Park District is underway to develop a 17-acre vacant site at 4800 S. Western Avenue into a community asset bringing boundless recreation opportunities to the children and families in the area. The new Brighton Campus will feature a 20,000 square foot multi-story, public field house with a gymnasium, fitness center, bathrooms, locker rooms, community multi-purpose rooms and office space for the District’s administrative staff. Additional amenities include an artificial turf, athletic fields with lighting, a grand lawn, walkways, playground, spray pool, natural area and parking will complement the space. 

Brighton Park, ranks among the city’s top five community areas in need of open space according to the City Space Plan. This development will not only boost the availability of parkland for Brighton Park, but also neighboring McKinley Park, Back of the Yards, Gage Park and Archer Heights. Located just steps from the CTA Orange line and Western Avenue bus route, the campus is easily accessible by public transportation.

Construction is slated to start in April 2021 and be complete by March 2023. This investment in the neighborhood is a catalyst for lasting change and proof of the City's commitment to investing in our historic neighborhoods.

South Lakefront Framework Plan

South Lakefront Framework Plan  South Lakefront Framework Plan Map South Lakefront Framework Plan - Culture & History

 

Address:   Jackson Park and South Shore Cultural Center
Community: Hyde Park, Woodlawn, and South Shore Community Areas
Status:  Plan Complete 2018;
Implementation of Recommendations Underway
Cost:  N/A

The purpose of a Park Framework Plan is to create a long-term plan for a park that responds to diverse neighborhood needs as well as the historic context of the park. In 1999, the Chicago Park District authorized framework plans for three historic parks: Jackson Park, Washington Park and the South Shore Cultural Center, which became known as the South Lakefront Framework Plan. The South Lakefront Framework Plan served as a guide to future improvements within the park, many of which have been completed. 

Today, significant changes are proposed for these parks including the formation of the Obama Presidential Center campus, the roadway improvements to support the presidential center, and the restoration and merger of the Jackson Park and South Shore Golf Courses. Cumulatively, these changes necessitated an update to the South Lakefront Framework Plan to establish a vision of the park and its function as a whole. This 2018 update to the South Lakefront Framework Plan outlines recommendations for land use and management over the next 10 years for Jackson Park and the South Shore Cultural Center Park.

View the South Lakefront Framework Plan.

Cultural Centers

Tuley Park Cultural Center - Jazz City Concert
 

Austin Town Hall Cultural Center  - Dream Girls
 

South Shore Cultural Center Auditorium
​​​​​​    

Address:   18 Park District Cultural Centers,
1 downtown Cultural Center
Community: Various
Status:  In Design
Cost:  $20 million estimated (Park District)

Unique to Chicago, the Chicago Park District’s eighteen Cultural Centers are positioned as hubs of arts and culture embedded in neighborhoods.  Cultural Centers provide classes and events that showcase the arts, host local arts organizations as artists in residence, and provide affordable performance and rehearsal space for neighborhood artists.  

DCASE’s Chicago Cultural Center in the loop is one of Chicago’s most visited attractions, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors to view its landmark architecture and enjoy free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions, and family events.

The Park District and DCASE will collaborate to build a network connecting the neighborhood Cultural Centers and the landmark Chicago Cultural Center for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.  Through capital investments in our neighborhood facilities, we will provide opportunities to nurture local artists and arts organizations across the city.  Through coordination on programming and cultural opportunities, we will foster cross-cultural connection between and among our neighborhoods.  And by building links between the neighborhoods and the Chicago Cultural Center, we will have an opportunity to both showcase Chicago’s neighborhood artists in a prominent downtown location, and to bring the arts resources of our downtown to our neighborhoods.

Eight Park District Cultural Centers are in active design; five of these sites are also within Mayor Lightfoot’s INVEST South/West Initiative that seeks to drive investments to priority neighborhoods on Chicago’s south and west sides.

Ford Calumet Environmental Center at Big Marsh

Ford Calumet Environmental Center at Big Marsh  Big Marsh at Calumet Park Area  Big Marsh Bike Park

Address:   11555 S. Stony Island Ave. 60617
Community: South Deering Community Area
Status:  Construction
Cost:  $7 million

Big Marsh is a 278-acre park with roughly 240-acres of habitat restoration and a 40 acre off-road bike park. In September 2013, the Millennium Reserve Steering Committee identified the Ford Calumet Environmental Center (FCEC) as one of the 14 priority initiatives for the Millennium Reserve.  In 2014, the Chicago Park District received a $35,000 grant from the Chicago Community Trust to conduct a Feasibility Study for the FCEC in partnership with an 18-member working group.  The Feasibility Study outlined the need, purpose, and program of a new center and recommended the FCEC be located at Big Marsh.  In 2016, The Chicago Environmental Fund (CEF) dedicated funding for the construction and programming of a new environmental center at Big Marsh.  Funds were originally provided to CEF by Ford Motor Company.  The Mission of the Ford Calumet Environmental Center is: “To create a gateway and center point that knits together the Calumet region to serve local communities, draw in regional visitors and celebrate the region’s environmental, cultural and recreational assets.”

The roughly 9,300 square foot Ford Calumet Environmental Center will serve as a multi-functional environmental center as well as Big Marsh’s base of operations. The Center will include two large multi-purpose community rooms, educational exhibit displays, a concession space, office support, and public rest rooms. Educational and recreational programming will be offered out of the Center with a focus on nature, eco-recreation, and the industrial history in the Calumet Region. The Center will incorporate bird-safe design and will use locally- sourced and reclaimed materials to the greatest extent.  The new center will be utilizing a construction waste water wetland (CWWW) instead of the City sewer for waste water disposal on site.

The project is made possible due to a generous donation by Chicago’s Environmental Fund.

Soccer Mini-Pitches

​​​​​​Horner Park Mini-Pitch  Chicago Fire Soccer Club players enjoy a game on a mini-pitch in a Chicago park.   Irma Ruiz Park Mini-Pitch  

Address:   District-Wide
Community: Various
Status:  42 Completed since 2018; 8 in Design
Cost:  $3,750,000

The Chicago Fire, the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the Chicago Park District have partnered to construct 50 soccer mini-pitches in parks across Chicago over 5 years. Started in 2018, forty-two pitches have been completed. Following construction, the partners actively program the courts for Chicago youth with a goal to serve 21,500 youth participants. Soccer encourages team building and an active lifestyle, especially for Chicago’s youth.

The project is made possible by a $3 million gift from Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund and $750,000 from the Chicago Fire.

Save Chicago’s Treasures

Garfield Park Gold Dome Humboldt Park Stables ​​​​​Douglas Park Fieldhouse

Address:   District-Wide
Community: Various
Status:  Ongoing
Cost:  $25 million

The Chicago Park District is committed to restoring our existing field houses and community centers, many of which are historic landmarks.  With over 250 community centers across the District, from Columbus Park to Lincoln Park to Tuley Park, facilities are receiving needed upgrades including building envelope, HVAC, ADA access, and interior improvements.  Many projects are made possible due to the Illinois State Park and Recreational Facility Construction Grant Program.  Investing in our existing facilities is essential to ensure these treasures can continue to provide programming opportunities for future generations.
 



Completed Projects

ComEd Recreation Center – Addams Park | Complete 2020

ComEd Rec Center at Addams Park - Entrance

 

ComEd Rec Center at Addams Park - Indoor Soccer Field

 

ComEd Rec Center at Addams Park - Indoor Basketball Court

 

Address:   1301 W. 14th St. 60608
Community: Near West Side Community Area
Status:  Complete 2020
Cost:  $25 million

Addams Park is an existing 9.24-acre park located in the Near West Side Community.  The new ComEd Recreation Center includes the construction of a new community fieldhouse and improved outdoor athletic fields. The new 98,776 square foot recreation center houses an artificial turf field, multi-purpose hard surface courts, and community room for meetings and classes, restrooms, offices, reception and storage space. The site has been improved with landscaping, a parking lot and loading area.

This project is made possible through a generous donation by Exelon and partnerships with the Chicago Housing Authority and local schools.

Gately Indoor Track and Field | Complete 2020

Gately Indoor Track & Field

 

Gately Track

 

Address: 744 E. 103rd St. 60628
Community: Pullman Community Area
Status:  Complete 2020
Cost: $56 million

The Gately Indoor Track and Field is a world-class facility with the area’s first hydraulically banked 200-meter track. The 139,000 square-foot facility has a seating capacity of 3,500 and includes supporting amenities such as a meet management control room, concessions, multipurpose rooms, and locker rooms. Additionally, the facility features a 4,000-square foot warm-up area, eight sprint lanes, two long and triple jump runways and pits, pole-vault runway and pads, a high jump area, and scoreboard(s).

In addition to sporting events and programs, non-sport events are also expected to be held throughout the year. To accommodate this need, this facility is flexible with 70,000 square feet of usable space that can be programmed for recreational basketball, volleyball and other non-sporting events. 

Also in the new facility, After School Matters (ASM) programs 22,000 square feet of program space including a dance program, full culinary kitchen and multi-purpose labs for art, science and technology. The new Gately facility is both a world-class sports complex and a year-round community center for wellness, culture and after-school programming.

This project is made possible due to a generous donation by Exelon and partnership with After School Matters. 


Click here to watch a time-lapse video of the construction.  Note: the video will be updated monthly.

Lakefront Trail Separation | Complete 2018

 

 Lakefront Trail Separation Project - 35th to 41st Streets  Lakefront Trail Separation Project - North Ave. to Oak St.

Address:   Lakefront Trail from Ardmore Ave. to 71st St.
Community: Various
Status:  Complete 2018
Cost:  $16 million

The Lakefront Trail (LFT) is one of the busiest non-motorized trails in the United States. It is used daily for commuting and recreation by diverse users including bicyclists, joggers, rollerbladers and people walking to enjoy the lakefront. The different types of users and speeds can cause confusion and congestion along the trail.  Starting in 2017, the Chicago Park District separated the entire 18-mile LFT into two distinct trails, a bike trail and pedestrian trail.  The bike trail accommodates primarily faster-paced patrons who want to cycle through the park without having to weave in and out of walkers.  The pedestrian trail is for people using the park for walking, jogging, and pushing strollers; no bikes are allowed on the pedestrian trail. The trail design and implantation was developed in partnership with the Active Transportation Alliance and Chicago Area Runners Association.

The project is made possible due to a generous donation by the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund.

Chicago Plays! Playground Program | Complete 2016

Chicago Plays! Playground  Chicago Plays! Playground  Chicago Plays! Playground

Address:   District-Wide
Community: Various
Status:  Complete 2016
Cost:  $40 million

The Chicago Park District has over 525 playgrounds across the City.  Starting in 2013, the District undertook a major initiative to update all of the oldest playgrounds in every neighborhood of Chicago.  Under the Chicago Plays! Program, 327 playgrounds were renovated over four-years from 2013-2016. Program scope included complete replacement of all play equipment and additional site improvements (benches, paving, landscape, and drinking fountains) as needed. The program included strong community involvement to prioritize playground replacement and choose new playground designs.

Chicago River Boat Houses | Complete 2016

 

Ping Tom Boathouse    Ping Tom Boat House 1  Tank Instruction

Address:   5100 N. Francisco Ave. 60625, 3400 N. Rockwell Ave. 60618, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave. 60616, 2860 S. Eleanor St. 60608
Community: Lincoln Square/Albany Park, North Center, Near South Side/Armour Square, and Bridgeport Community Areas
Status:  Complete 2013-2016
Cost:  $24 million

Within the City’s effort to enliven the Chicago River as a recreational outlet and economic driver for the City, the Chicago Park District constructed four new Chicago River Boat Houses.  Located along the length of the river at River Park, Clark Park, Ping Tom Park, and Park 571 (Eleanor), these facilities provide new access points to the river and offer new river programming opportunities. Clark Park and Park 571 are the largest of the facilities, both have boathouse and boat storage facilities including indoor ergometer rowing training rooms, community rooms, office space, and locker rooms.

Ellis Quad Community Arts and Recreation Center | Complete 2016

Ellis Park Opening Ribbon Cutting   Ellis Quad Community Arts and Recreation Center   Ellis Park Ribbon Cutting 2​​​​​

Address:   3520 S. Cottage Grove 60653
Community: Oakland and Douglas Community Areas
Status:  Complete 2016
Cost:  $17.5 million

The Ellis Quad Community Arts and Recreation Center is a partnership with the City of Chicago, the Chicago Housing Authority, and The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB). The new 32,482 square foot field house includes a full size gymnasium with basketball courts, an indoor pool, art and education club rooms, a fitness center and studio, meeting hall, and performance spaces for music, theater, etc.

Maggie Daley Park | Complete 2015

 

Maggie Daley Park    Maggie Daley Park Skating Ribbon

 

Address:   337 E. Randolph St. 60601
Community: Loop Community Area
Status:  Complete 2015
Cost:  $60 million

Located in Grant Park between Millennium Park and Lake Michigan, Maggie Daley Park is one of the largest green roofs in the country.  A new multi-functional 27-acre park developed to replace Daley Bicentennial Plaza and Peanut Park, Maggie Daley Park is the cap to the 3,700 car underground Millennium Lakeside Garage completed in 1976. The Millennium Lakeside Garage completed extensive garage roof renovations which required the removal of the existing park in its entirety, providing a generational opportunity to envision a new design and use for the prime site.

Reopened in 2015, the new Maggie Daley Park includes a ¼ mile long skating ribbon, 40-foot high outdoor climbing walls, 3-acre children's play garden, tennis courts, and a great open lawn for passive recreation and events.    

Maggie Daley Park was made possible multiple generous donations to the park.  A wall listing the private and corporate donations to the park is located inside the Daley Bicentennial Field House at Maggie Daley Park. 

Click here for more information about Maggie Daley Park.

Northerly Island Nature Preserve | Complete 2015

 

Northerly Island Prairie Northerly Island Summer Camp Northerly Island Camping  

Address:   1521 S. Linn White Dr. 60605
Community: Near South Side Community Area
Status:  Complete 2015 (2017 plantings complete)
Cost:  $10 million

In partnership with the Army Corps Great Lakes Fisheries and Environmental Restoration (GLFER) Program, Northerly Island was transformed into a 91-acre natural area with skyline views, hiking, and fishing. In the center of the peninsula is a six-acre pond serving as an estuary for fish and amphibians and a food source for migratory birds. In the center of the pond, unearthed during project construction, is a retaining wall from the time of the 1933 World’s Fair. The site also provides multi-purpose trails, nature trails, and scenic vistas.

La Villita Park | Complete 2014

La Villita Park Playground  La Villita Soccer Fields & Baseball Diamond  La Villita Park Skate Park

Address:   2800 S. Sacramento Ave. 60608
Community: South Lawndale Community Area
Status:  Complete 2014
Cost:  $19 million

La Villita Park is an impressive 21 ½ acre park in the Little Village neighborhood of the South Lawndale Community.  It occupies a former brownfield called Celotex in reference a former industrial complex that had polluted and degraded the site.  Designated by the EPA as a Superfund site, the property went through remediation. The cleanup process was completed in 2009 and the Chicago Park District acquired the site in 2012. The new park is extremely significant to the surrounding Little Village neighborhood.  Not only does this area have one of the highest needs for open space in Chicago, but its residents long-contended with the negative consequences of living near a polluted site. 

For years, the Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO) had advocated for cleaning up this site and converting it to parkland. The Chicago Park District worked closely with LVEJO and Little Village community members to develop plans for the new park. Designed by Smith Group JJR the $ 18,920,000 park (including acquisition costs) has two artificial turf athletic fields with lighting; three natural grass athletic fields; a skate park; basketball courts; community gardens; passive landscape areas; a large playground with a water spray feature; a picnic pavilion; comfort stations with concessions; a multi-use trail with fitness stations; and environmentally-friendly utilities.

LVEJO conducted a democratic and inclusive process to identify an appropriate name for the new park.  The organization discussed possible names at several community meetings and then engaged more than 700 residents in an online survey.  There was strong consensus for naming the site as La Villita Park. The name recognizes the vitality of a great immigrant neighborhood as well as the contributions Mexican immigrants and Mexican Americans have made to Little Village and the city of Chicago.