Located in the South Calumet community, Owens (Jesse) Park totals 18.43 acres. A newly constructed field house was built in 2009 and features a gymnasium, fitness center, and multi-purpose rooms. Green features of our facility include a G.O. friendly building, nature garden surrounding the park, a rooftop garden and solar panels on the roof. Outside, the park offers four ball diamonds, a multi-purpose field, tennis courts, an Olympic–themed playground, and 5 picnic groves. Many of these spaces are available for rental including our gymnasium, fields and multi-purpose rooms.
Park-goers can participate in the Park Kids after school program, seasonal sports, Special Recreation for youth, teens, and adults and youth, adult and senior fitness classes. During the summer, youth attend the Park District’s popular six-week day camp.
In addition to programs, Jesse Owens Park hosts fun special events throughout the year for the entire family, such as holiday-themed events. Jesse Owens also offers rental space available on Saturdays from 12-4 pm.
When Chicago's Calumet Heights neighborhood experienced a building boom after World War II, the Chicago Park District established a new park there to meet the area's increasing recreational needs. The park district acquired more than 17 acres of property in 1947, and constructed a recreation building, a spray pool, and ball fields during the following decade. The new park was initially known as Stony Island Park for nearby Stony Island Avenue. In the 1980s, the Women's Committee for a Chicago Black Athletic Hall of Fame, the 87th Street Businessman's Association, and park district vice-president Margaret T. Burroughs suggested that the park be renamed in honor of world-renowned athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980). Owens, an African-American, was born in Danville, Alabama in 1913 and attended Ohio State University, where he was an All-American in track and field. Owens won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics of 1936, running the 100-meter dash in 10.3 seconds (tying the world record), jumping 26'5.25" in the long jump (an Olympic record), running the 200-meter dash in 20.7 seconds (an Olympic record), and running the first leg of the 400 meter relay in 39.8 seconds (an Olympic and world record). Owens won much recognition for his athletic prowess. The Associated Press acclaimed him the "Athlete of the Half Century" in 1950, and President Ford awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1976. Owens, who travelled extensively throughout his life, served briefly as director of the Chicago Boys Club, the Illinois State Athletic Commission, and the Illinois Youth Commission.
2nd Tuesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.