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Uptown Mayhem Could Spur Park District Ban on Parties For Teens: Cappleman

By Adeshina Emmanuel | August 13, 2014 4:25pm
 A group of about 50 youth allegedly harassed motorists and damaged cars along West Leland Avenue in Uptown on Monday night, according to neighbors.
A group of about 50 youth allegedly harassed motorists and damaged cars along West Leland Avenue in Uptown on Monday night, according to neighbors.
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UPTOWN — The Chicago Park District might have to make some changes after a rowdy throng of teenagers leaving a party at an Uptown field house wreaked havoc on Leland Avenue this week, Ald. James Cappleman (46th) said.

The teens, who allegedly harassed motorists and damaged parked cars, were coming from a birthday party at Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland Ave., when the chaos went down Monday night on Leland from Clark Street to Racine Avenue, Cappleman said.

"A mom had rented a room at Chase Park for her child's 15th birthday with around 50 kids in attendance," Cappleman posted on his Facebook page. "I've been told that Chase Park will now limit room rentals for birthday parties to children 10 and under to prevent this type of thing from happening again in the future."

 Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland Ave,
Chase Park, 4701 N. Ashland Ave,
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Dnainfo/Adeshina Emmanuel

While some commenters praised the potential policy change at Chase, 4701 N. Ashland Ave., others thought placing such restrictions on parties would be an overreaction and a "knee-jerk" response based on a single incident.

Park district spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulker issued this statement late on Wednesday:
"The Chicago Park District's mission to provide quality recreation opportunities to all Chicagoans includes a commitment to our city's teen population. Whether it's targeted programs and events, open gym or a place to hang out with friends, our doors are always open to teens."

The statement was unclear about policies specific to room rentals, and Maxey-Faulkner did not immediately respond to requests for clarification Thursday morning.

Employees at the park, while acknowledging the party took place, said it they hadn't heard of any room rental changes in light of the chaos afterward.

An incoming high school freshman, an Uptown resident who said she was at the party, also confirmed Tuesday that partygoers walking home and toward the Wilson 'L' stop were part of the incident.

The girl, whose parent didn't want her to be named, said that some of the kids were jumping on cars.

An Uptown woman also captured the madness on video after hearing screams and car alarms outside her window. She said her car escaped damaged but other neighbors weren't so lucky.

Watch the video here:


Another witness, Uptown resident Mark Lukas, said he was walking his dog north on Malden Avenue, half a block from Leland, when he heard car alarms and screaming kids. When he got to the corner of Malden and Leland, he saw youths with sticks and what appeared to be pipes striking cars, and some of them were "jumping up and down on bumpers of parked cars."

Lukas said comments online about the incident, many expressing contempt toward the children, "reflect a lot of distrust and fear" in Uptown.

A policy change in regard to parties could make sense, but he said, "I think this is an opportunity to hold a meeting with the community perhaps at Chase Park where everyone can get together and talk about this and find some middle ground."

Cappleman did not return multiple calls for further comment on the incident.

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