MORGAN PARK — An indoor ice rink and gymnastics center is slated for a long-vacant lot at 115th Street and Western Avenue in Morgan Park.
Officials on Saturday are scheduled to officially unveil plans for the $11 million dual-use building. A combination of state, city and Chicago Park District funds will pay for construction, according to a source familiar with the project.
Ald. Matt O'Shea (19th) has made developing the area a priority. A small lot at the northeast corner of 115th Street and Western Avenue was once home to a Shell gas station. The larger lot at the southeast corner of the intersection was a Dominick's grocery store.
But both lots have been empty for years. This summer, O'Shea surveyed residents about potential uses for the land. An ice rink and gymnastics center were on the table along with lacrosse and soccer fields.
The summer survey also included plans to close 115th Street just east of the vacant property. This would allow the smaller parcel to serve as a parking lot for a development on the former grocery store property without patrons having to dodge traffic.
Plans for street closure have not been determined, the source said.
The Park District operates eight gymnastics center in the city, said Juan Mendoza, the Park Distirict's gymnastics manager.
Four of the facilities are on the North Side. The nearest gymnastics center to 115th Street and Western Avenue is at Calumet Park, 9801 S. Avenue G, on the East Side.
"This will definitely fill the gap," Mendoza said. "It will be the best in the city."
McFetridge Sports Center at 3843 N. California Ave. in Irving Park is the only other indoor ice area operated by the Park District.
Coincidentally, the family of Chicago Blackhawks legend Eddie Olczyk once owned a grocery store at the same intersection as the proposed ice rink/gymnastics center. The site of the former Edmar grocery store is now an office building used by the Chicago Public Schools.