The inside of Sheil Park rivals the hustle and bustle of Southport Avenue where it’s located. The park, featuring a fieldhouse building and an adjacent new playground, keeps Lakeview residents healthy and active with affordable, quality indoor programs, and fun family events.
Sheil Park is known among parents for its fun and imaginative early childhood programs. A variety of classes engage preschoolers as young as six months in active play that emphasizes motor skill development and socialization skills. Whether it’s toddler camp, storytime, little tykes tumbling or kids in the kitchen, there is a class for every youngster, some requiring an accompanying parent, others not.
Many residents are drawn to Sheil Park for its established theater program, which introduces youth, teens and adults to the world of acting, directing and producing. Classes range from basic acting, to more specialized areas of improvisation, set design and scriptwriting. Sheil Park prepares its students for real live productions held each season, where they can demonstrate their craft.
Residents also choose Sheil Park for fitness, including aerobics, yoga and circuit classes, as well as open gym times. Others like to take it easy, joining a teen or senior club.
Sheil Community Center honors the memory of Archbishop Bernard J. Sheil (1886-1969), pastor at Lake View's St. Andrew's Catholic Church for more than three decades. A supporter of ecumenical efforts and of the rights of racial minorities and laborers, Archbishop Sheil was often referred to as "the friend of the little guy." His interest in young people led him to found the Catholic Youth Organization in 1930. Sheil Community Center is located in the heavily-populated Lake View neighborhood, on land once occupied by the Hanson Laundry Company. The Chicago Park District purchased the property in 1973, demolishing the laundry plant shortly thereafter. In 1975, the park district broke ground for a fieldhouse with a gymnasium, a craftshop, and clubrooms. The gymnasium is named for William E. Pollack (1909-1968), a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from the 13th District, in which the park lies. A native Chicagoan and a graduate of Lake View High School, Pollack served as the Republican leader for six of his nine terms in office.
Quarterly. Next meeting, June 14, 2016