Mimi Simon, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277
Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Timothy J. Mitchell, Public Building Commission Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi, and Alderman Toni Preckwinkle joined community members today to cut the ribbon at the new beach house at 41st Street beach.
New Beach House
The new 2,750-square-foot beach house features numerous amenities including men’s, women’s, and family restrooms, concession space and two security cameras. The facility also includes a lifeguard office with lockers, restrooms and showers. Skylights were created to minimize electricity and lighting loads. The landscaping includes trees and prairie grass. In addition, harvested rainwater is channeled and stored for reuse within the building for non-potable use.
“We are pleased to announce the opening of our new beach house,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Tim Mitchell. “With more than 20 million people hitting the beach during the season, the new facility offers amenities for an enjoyable visit to our beautiful lakefront.”
“As strong stewards of public funds, the PBC and our partners at the Park District, included elements of sustainable design into this facility, which lower the life cycle costs and are better for the environment. These ‘green’ features promote water conservation, energy use reduction, and the use of recycled, durable and regional materials,” said Erin Lavin Cabonargi, Executive Director for the Public Building Commission.
41st Street Beach
The 41st Street Beach opened last summer in Burnham Park and was the first new beach to open along Chicago’s lakefront in 35 years. The new beach was constructed using environment-friendly practices. The limestone blocks outlining the path were all reused from the previous site. Additionally, a bio-retention area was built for the parking lot to avoid run off into the storm sewer and lake.
The creation of this beach was a collaborative effort that began in October 2005. It cost about $18 million through funds from the federal government, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District. Although the original design called for a smaller area, this beach covers 6.5 acres.
Junior Lifeguard Program
In addition to amenities for recreational lakefront users, the new beach will also be a future site for the Chicago Park District’s Junior Lifeguards program that is offered at six beaches during the summer to youth ages 11-15. Participants learn to row a boat, paddle a rescue board and how to use rescue equipment. They improve their physical skills necessary for the job by running and swimming. Participants also have an opportunity to learn CPR, first aid and basic water safety. This aquatic sports camp teaches the skills necessary for participants to become lifeguards at the age of 16.
Each summer, the Chicago Park District hires hundreds of qualified lifeguards ages 16 and up for placement at either one of the beaches along Chicago’s lakefront or more than 100 pools throughout the city. Youth who are interested in becoming a lifeguard are encouraged to go through the Junior Lifeguard program to develop their skills.
New this year, Chicago beach goers will now be able to utilize a texting service to obtain information on swim status at each beach by texting the beach name to 312.715.SWIM (7946). For example, text “Rainbow Beach” to 312.715.SWIM and an automated response will return to the user with the swim status of that beach. If the user leaves the body of the text empty, the status of all beaches is sent to the user in the automated response.
In addition, beach goers can also access information on swim status by calling the Chicago Park District Beach Hotline at 312-74-BEACH, checking www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or following us on Facebook and Twitter for the swim status at each beach.
Visitors to all Chicago Park District beaches are asked to observe the following rules: Obey lifeguards and swim only when lifeguards are present. Swimming is permitted and lifeguards are on duty at all beaches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless otherwise posted. No glass, alcohol or smoking on the beach. Properly dispose of food, diapers and other refuse. Grilling is only allowed in designated areas and coals should be disposed in the red hot metal containers. Please do not dump hot coals at the base of trees or near playgrounds.
Admission to Chicago’s beaches is free. For a list of locations or for more information, visit the Park District website at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call the aquatics unit at 312-742-5121.