Mayor Lori Lightfoot has proposed nearly $20 million in Chicago Park District improvement projects, the majority of which would be paid for with Tax Increment Financing (TIF) dollars.
The measures were introduced at Wednesday's meeting of the City Council and now await approval. Among the big ticket items is $10 million in TIF funding for upgrades to the Riis Park field house in Belmont Cragin, to coincide with the construction of a 90,000-square-foot addition that will serve as a Chicago Public Schools elementary school. CPS will pay for the school. The Chicago Park District Board agreed to the arrangement in January.
Another $1.5 million in TIF assistance would be directed to Big Marsh Park in South Deering, for the construction of 12 camping platforms and a three-mile trail. The city's funds are being augmented by a $900,000 state grant.
Also proposed by the mayor: $2 million in TIF funds for new equipment and resurfacing at 10 playgrounds across the city.
A breakdown of additional projects and associated funding include:
— Ridge Park, 1817 W. 96th St., Beverly. Field house improvements totaling $1.5 million: $1 million in TIF dollars; $500,000 from an Illinois Department of Natural Resources grant.
— Peter Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Ave., Near West Side. Field house renovations and installation of a pool dehumidification system, totaling $1.5 million in TIF dollars.
— Hermosa Park, 2240 N. Kilbourn Ave., Hermosa. Field house repairs and new ball field lighting; $650,000 in TIF dollars.
— Theodore Roosevelt Park, 62 W. Roosevelt Road, South Loop. Various enhancements, including resurfacing of tennis courts, new benches and pathway lighting; $400,000 in TIF dollars.
— John Clark Park, 4615 W. Jackson Blvd., Austin. Swimming pool improvements and repairs; $500,000 in TIF dollars.
— John Donovan Park, 3620 S. Lituanica Ave., Bridgeport. The $1.5 million cost of the park's expansion onto .5 acres of nearby land is being covered by a combination of TIF dollars, Open Space Impact Fees, 11th Ward aldermanic funds and money from the Park District.