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December 8, 2010

Field house proposed as part of Ping Tom Park expansion project

Peter Strazzabosco    312.744.9267


A Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposal introduced to City Council today by Mayor Richard M. Daley would finance construction of an athletic field house within the Near South Side's Ping Tom Park.

The field house would include a main gym, club rooms and community meeting areas for nearby Chinatown residents and other users. Specific design details are anticipated to be completed in 2011. Construction would start the following year.

"Ping Tom is fast becoming one of the city's most popular parks and the field house would provide a variety of important, indoor recreational amenities for the entire area," Mayor Daley said.

Located on 12-acres adjacent to the South Branch of the Chicago River at 300 W. 19th St., Ping Tom Park has been under development since 1998, when the Chicago Park District began transforming a defunct rail-yard into a rolling green space. Initially featuring a children's playground, community gathering areas and Chinese landscape design elements, the park was later expanded north of 18th Street to include ball fields, play areas and a variety of river edge improvements, currently under construction.

Compared to the park's more culturally-themed southern section, the proposed field house would compliment the more active community resources on the northern half of the site.

Funds for the $10 million proposal would be allocated from the River South TIF district. TIF is a City of Chicago funding tool that's used to create jobs, promote infrastructure and other improvements in designated districts across the city.