Nearly $20M Proposed for Improvements to Chicago's Parks, Including Camp Sites at Big Marsh

(Courtesy Friends of Big Marsh)(Courtesy Friends of Big Marsh)

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.

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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. 

Contact Patty Wetli: @pattywetli | (773) 509-5623 |  [email protected]

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