CHICAGO — Construction on a gymnastics center and ice rink in Morgan Park is set to begin in July after the Chicago Park District approved the $17 million plan Wednesday.
The 64,000-square-foot Morgan Park Sports Center, set to be built at 115th Street and Western Avenue, is slated to be completed by July 2015.
Park district officials said the facility filled a need that wasn't being met on Chicago's South Side.
"There are hundreds and hundreds of kids flocking to the gymnastics gyms and ice rinks just outside Chicago," said Mike Kelly, the park district superintendent and CEO, at the agency's board meeting. "We're gonna start getting the city residents back into the city."
Kelly said the demand has been huge for both gymnastics and ice skating, as a youth hockey organization has already asked to sign a 10-year deal to use the rink.
Construction plans will reconfigure the 115th and Western intersection to join together the two existing city-owned lots on which the facility would be built.
The project would be paid through a combination of $10 million in tax increment financing funds, $4 million from the state and $3 million from the park district budget.
Avis LaVelle, a commissioner on the parks board, echoed Kelly saying there was nothing in the city "combined like this."
"We think it's a really great combination, an amazing community asset," LaVelle said. "I am very interested as a South Sider in the resources that are coming into this community."
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