LITTLE VILLAGE — Community members asked for additional basketball and soccer fields at a park planned for 31st Street and Albany Avenue — and they got it.
Final designs for the park at the former site of Celotex asphalt factory were released by the city this week, and they were changed from earlier renderings to reflect community requests.
“I don’t know if happy is the word, but I think we were able to get some of the things that the community wanted,” said Little Village Environmental Justice Organization Executive Director Antonio Lopez.
After the park was proposed last year by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the organization objected to initial plans, saying that more basketball courts and soccer fields — and less baseball fields — were needed.
The city listened, and now the 22-acre park will have at least two lighted artificial turf soccer fields and two basketball courts. Other features include a natural grass baseball and softball field, a soft-surface playground with a water spray, skate park, sledding hill, and walking and jogging trails.
Lopez stressed a field house is still needed at the park so that programming can continue through the colder months. He said his organization is eyeing a city-owned building on the park’s south end near 31st Street.
“In the winter there’s not much that can go on without a field house. We think there’s more that can be done,” he said.
In April, Chicago Park District spokeswoman Michele Lemons said the park’s $8 million budget would increase if the community’s proposed changes went through.
The Bucktown-based Friedler Construction Company recently won a $10 million contract to work on the park, which the city projects will be complete by next fall.