Mayor Richard M. Daley today joined Logan Square Community leaders to celebrate construction of the new Haas Park field house, 2402 N. Washtenaw Av., which will open in the fall.
“Our parks and open spaces are among our greatest treasures. When we invest in parks and playgrounds and field houses, we are helping keep our neighborhoods strong,” Daley said in a news conference at the park.
Daley said that it has been important to him that the City’s parks offer new and renovated facilities to meet the changing desires of residents.
In the last 22 years, he said, 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. In that time, Chicago has added 1,500 acres of open space.
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 new Haas park field house will include a gymnasium with bleachers, a multipurpose room, club rooms, an exercise room and many program offerings by the Chicago Park District.
It is designed to achieve minimum LEED Silver Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and includes an energy-efficient mechanical system and landscaping with native plants.
The school dedication also represented another stop on the “Neighborhood Appreciation Tour” the Mayor will make in communities all over the city before he leaves office in May to thank Chicagoans for their collaboration in helping the City move forward.
“Today I want to thank the residents of the 1st ward for their hard work and dedication. Working together, we’ve brought Chicago into the 21st century, and given it a bright future,” he said.
The Mayor said the construction of the new field house is just one of the projects that have helped to make this part of the City a better place.
He identified a number of those initiatives:
- The City has committed more than $10 million in TIF funding to the Green Exchange project, the redevelopment of the landmark Cooper Lamp Building into an incubator facility for green businesses.
The project advances the City’s economic development goals while attracting and retaining jobs and continuing to develop sustainable businesses that benefit the entire City.
When it’s completed, the Green Exchange will provide a significant retail presence, showroom galleries, office space and work-live lofts that will make it a focal point for businesses and organizations working on green technologies. It will also create 300 to 500 green industry jobs.
- Both the Chicago Public Schools and the Public Building Commission have carried out numerous projects in this community in recent years.
They have carried out improvements or renovations at 18 schools in the 1st ward, with the work including six new playlots and two campus parks at Goethe and Talcott.
- And in 2002, the PBC built the West Town-Logan Square Senior Satellite center, the first of its kind in Chicago.
The satellite senior centers are part of the City’s vision to keep Chicago’s neighborhoods accessible and affordable for Chicago’s senior population and provide them with service at the neighborhood level. Today, there are thirteen Satellite Senior Centers throughout the City.
- Through the Plan for Transformation, the CHA has rehabilitated 225 units at the Wicker Park Apartments and 107 other units at locations around the ward.
- In addition to the work at Haas, the Park District has carried out 14 separate improvement projects at seven parks in the ward: Walsh, Commercial, Wicker, Maplewood, Dean, Algonquin and Number 316.
- The CTA has undertaken big projects that have benefited the 1st ward over the past 20 years. For example, the CTA has:
- Opened four new train stations on the Blue Line, at California, Damen, Division and Western.
- Completed major rail construction on the Blue Line between Division and Damen.
- And today, all CTA buses are equipped with cameras for customer safety and customers can use the award-winning BusTracker to plan their travels.
- The Department of Family and Support Services operates the Farmers Market on Sundays in Wicker Park and Bucktown, giving residents access to healthy, fresh foods.
- The City has completed $6 million worth of street-scaping projects in the ward.
- The first ward was the location of one of the city’s first five pilot Green Alley projects, which has helped to address chronic alley flooding problems.
- The City completed the new West Town Library.
- The City built a beautiful new bridge over the river at Damen Avenue.
- The City did almost $7 million worth of street resurfacing and we marked out almost 7 miles of bike routes in the ward.
“So I’m here today to thank every resident, every community organization, every business, every not-for-profit for their advice, support and cooperation on all these projects,” Daley said.
“Thank you for participating in the process. Thank you for your ideas, your input and your time. That’s what our system of government is based on – the people.
“It’s been a joy and an honor to be your Mayor,” he said.