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Playing Fields by Cricket Hill Getting $2 Million Upgrade

  The park district is building an eight-lane running track and a multi-use turf field.
Playing Fields By Cricket Hill Getting $2M Upgrade
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UPTOWN — A new track and field is being built near Cricket Hill, a landmark of Uptown's lakefront.

The Chicago Park District is adding an artificial turf field just north of the hill, near the intersection of West Montrose Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.

Park district spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner said in a statement the field will have striping for lacrosse, soccer and football, and be encircled by an eight-lane, marked running track fit for state high school competition. 

The park district also plans to add ADA accessible sidewalks, concrete bleachers, shade trees and fencing to the area.

The project's price tag is $2 million and should be ready for lakefront enthusiasts to use by mid-July, officials said. 

Part of Cricket Hill, which tops out at about 45 feet high and hosts the annual Chicago Kids and Kites Festival, is fenced off during construction. Bulldozers and mangled earth where the field and track are planned sit inside the massive construction site.

Despite the fence, gray skies and a light, steady drizzle, Tuesday was still an active day on that part of the lakefront: soccer players engaged in a match on a field just south of the construction site and dog walkers were out in force.

Cory Wright trotted up and down Cricket Hill Tuesday afternoon. Like the late, great Walter Payton, the Uptown man said he likes to work hill-running into his workout and "embrace the incline." 

However, a few sprints and some laps around the new track will join his routine once the project is complete this summer, he said.

"That's going to bring so many more people to this part of the lakefront," said Wright, a 28-year-old self-described "fitness freak." 

Maxey-Faulkner said Mayor Rahm Emanuel is committed to building and expanding city parks and that this latest project on Uptown's lakefront is part of those efforts.

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