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Mayor Announces $290 Million Public Space Investment, More Parks Coming

Mayor Announces $290 Million Public Space Investment, More Parks Coming

Photo: Chicago Humboldt Park

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced a coordinated citywide effort to invest $290 million over the next five years to complete more than 800 projects in parks, recreational areas and green spaces in neighborhoods across the city. Under this plan, nearly every Chicago resident will see a capital improvement within a 10-minute walk from their home, and the work will create 1,200 construction jobs.

Projects slated for completion during 2012 and 2013 include new Chicago River boat houses; new park construction; new community field houses; new artificial turf fields; new playgrounds; and facility restoration.  The Park District will also rehabilitate 100 basketball courts by August and build eight new artificial turf fields across the city in 2012.

As part of this effort, the Bloomingdale Trail will begin its final engineering and design phase this week, with construction to begin in late 2012 and completion by fall 2014. This next phase is made possible by the first round of private donations – $5 million from Exelon, and $1 million each from CNA and Boeing, which made the first donation. The Trust for Public Land (TPL) has established a Leadership Council that will continue to work with the City to raise $35 million in private support for construction and stewardship. The City has also secured $37 million in federal funds and $2 million in Park District funds, for a total of $46 million.

In addition to Bloomingdale Trail, program highlights of the five-year plan include:

*  180 acres of new acquisitions impacting 100,000 residents
*  100 “Slam Dunk” basketball court renovations impacting
*  150,000 youth ages 13-19 12 new parks or major park developments impacting 300,000 residents
*  20 new playgrounds impacting 100,000 children ages 2-14
*  8 new artificial turf fields impacting 50,000 youth under age 18
*  6 new community buildings impacting 220,000 residents