Mayor Richard M. Daley today dedicated a state-of-the-art artificial turf soccer field in McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd., and thanked residents of the 11th Ward for their help in moving the City forward.
“I’m here today to thank every resident, every business and every not-for-profit for their advice, support and cooperation. Thank you for participating in the process. Thank you for your ideas, your input and your time,” Daley said at another stop on the “Neighborhood Appreciation Tour” he is making before he leaves office in May.
Daley pointed out that McKinley Park, which opened in 1902, served as the model for a whole system of neighborhood parks on the South Side.
“These innovative neighborhood parks influenced the development of other parks throughout the United States. To this day, they provide Chicagoans with things that every urban resident needs: recreational opportunities, open space and natural beauty,” he said.
The Mayor said the new field represents the City’s commitment to meeting the rapidly-growing needs for new turf fields all around Chicago.The field was paid for in part with $1 million raised by the Parkways Foundation and with proceeds from the Lollapalooza concert.
“But there is always a need for more open space and for more recreational and community facilities citywide,” Daley said.
Since Daley has been mayor, the City has added 1,500 acres of open space. In the last 22 years, the Chicago Park District has acquired 501 additional acres of parkland, added 73 new parks, built 18 new field houses and built or refurbished 70 fitness centers. Many of these facilities also serve as community anchors that help to build pride in the neighborhood.
Today's parks system now includes: 537 baseball fields, 218 soccer fields, 520 playgrounds, 86 swimming pools, 18 dog parks, 9 skate parks, 9 ice skating rinks, 6 golf courses and 89 community gardens.
The Mayor highlighted some of the things the City and 11th ward residents have accomplished together:
- Palmisano Stearns Quarry Park, which opened in 2009 at 2700 S. Halsted St. This is a dynamic, 27-acre space with a fishing pond, wetlands, preserved quarry walls, trails, an athletic field, a running track, and a hill that offers dramatic views of the city. The former limestone quarry was used as a landfill until its conversion to a park.
- The expansion of Taylor-Lauridsen Park in 2009 resulted in a brand new 18,500 square-foot field house. located at 704 W. 42nd St. The park now includes a full-sized gymnasium, staff offices, divisible club rooms, fitness room, gym storage, Veteran's Memorial, new walkways around the building, central lobby and locker and shower rooms. The city aided in the remediation the land.
- The amount of open space in the ward has been increased with the creation of campus parks at the Graham and Armour public schools and river walk paths.
- The Public Building Commission completed renovations in 2000 to the Armour Square Park Field House.
- The city has invested $45 million in TIF funding to improve infrastructure and other facilities in the 11th Ward, including:
- Streetscaping improvements along Halsted Street from W. 36th Street to W. 42nd Street.
- Renovation of the Stockyards Gate Plaza with the rehabilitation of the historic Stockyards gate, new lighting, planters and an information kiosk.
- Relocation of Root Street
- The City has invested $31 million in TIF-funded public-private redevelopment partnerships, including:
- Bringing in retail establishments such as a Target store at S. Damen Av. and W. 33rd Street.
- Bringing in employers such as Pepsi at 1400 W. 35th Street and Aramark at 4200 N. Halsted Street.
- Assisting with mixed-use development at W. 35th Street and Halsted Street that resulted in 67 condominium units with retail on the first floor.
- The City supported tax credits to help Testa Produce build a new LEED-rated distribution warehouse at 45th and Racine Avenue. That project also helped retain 120 jobs and created a minimum of 20 new jobs and 235 temporary construction jobs.
- Chicago Public Schools opened at new neighborhood school – Greene Elementary – in 1999 and CPS has carried out improvements at seven other schools.
- CPS has almost completed the process of converting the former Abbott Elementary School into a military high school.
- The City has opened two new branch libraries in the 11th ward since 1994 – the McKinley Park branch and the Canaryville branch.
- The McKinley Park branch includes three artworks funded through City’s Public Art Program.
- The Canaryville branch includes two monuments at the entrance funded by the neighborhood and the Canaryville Veterans Association.
- The Public Building Commission is currently planning and designing the new Richard J. Daley branch library to replace the existing Daley Branch on Halsted Street.
- The Department of Water Management has:
- Installed 19 miles of new water main in the 11th Ward.
- Lined a total of eight miles of sewer, at a cost of more than $7 million
- Replaced more than 2 miles of sewer.
- The Chicago Housing Authority has rehabilitated the Armour Square and Long Life Apartments and the Bridgeport Homes in these communities.
- The City built a new 9th District police station in 2008 equipped with such features as: a computerized command center; a high-tech roll call room to enhance presentations during briefings and training sessions; a community meeting room to promote neighborhood involvement; locker room facilities and a fitness room; environmentally sustainable features such as a combination green and reflective roof to reduce the urban heat island effect, recycled content in building materials, such as ceiling tiles and flooring and a stormwater management plan.
- Transportation service to the 11th ward changed forever in 1993 with the opening of the Orange Line – the first all-new service in Chicago since 1969.
- There are three Orange Line stations in the ward.
- The City has recently completed a “Transit Friendly Development Guide” to serve as a roadmap for development around the Halsted, Ashland and 35th and Archer stations.
- The CTA also renovated the 35th Street station on the Red Line.
- Upgraded prototype rail cars were tested on the Orange Line in 2010. These cars include security cameras, door sensors and an event recorder system similar to a black box on an airplane. As of 2010, every CTA rail station is equipped with security cameras.
- Improvements and enhancements to CTA bus routes in the 11th Ward included extending the hours of operation from 7:00 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. of bus number 43 making improvements to the route of bus number 47.
- The City reconstructed the Archer Avenue Bridge and redesigned the intersection of Archer and Ashland Avenues.
- The Department of Transportation has also marked almost 4.1 miles of new bike routes in the ward.
- The City’s Department of Family and Support services provided numerous services to improve the quality of life for residents of the 11th ward.
- The Summer Nutrition Program served nearly 8,000 meals to children in the 11th Ward in 2010.
- The Bridgeport Farmers Market, a Saturday market started by Mayor Daley three years ago, serves an average of 200 persons every day.
- Artists in the 11th Ward received $4,450 in grants from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in 2010.
“Working together, we've brought Chicago into the 21st century, and given it a bright future. It’s been a joy and an honor to be your Mayor,” Daley said.