LINCOLN SQUARE — A $206,000 grant will bring improvements to Jacob Park sooner rather than later.
Courtesy of funds from Chicago's Open Space Impact Fee program, which takes fees collected from residential developments and allocates them to parks, Jacob Park will be able to finance site preparation, new fencing and landscaping of a parcel of land acquired in September from the CTA.
The grant was announced earlier this week at a meeting of the Horner Park Advisory Council, which oversees Jacob Park.
Just .39 acres, Jacob Park, 4674 N. Virginia Ave., nearly doubled in size when the Chicago Park District and CTA struck a deal in which .26 acres from the CTA, situated immediately adjacent to the park, was purchased for $99,000.
While the CTA land received a "clean bill of health" from an environmental standpoint, it's studded with exposed rock and overgrown with vegetation, according to Ben Ranney, a Jacob Park advocate who spoke with DNAinfo Chicago at the time of the CTA deal.
The most popular idea for developing the land involves "very modest improvements" that would create an open field where kids could run around and play, couples could picnic or a person could simply enjoy a sunny afternoon with a good book, Ranney said.
He expected it would take years for neighbors to raise the money needed to make the site useable, but the Open Space dollars will speed things up considerably.
As yet, there's no design for the land, according to Peter Schlossman, president of the Horner Park Advisory Council.
"We hope to get that effort started soon," he said via email.