CANARYVILLE — Aldermanic hopeful John Kozlar, head of the popular Canaryville Little League, has a new plan to bring 11th Ward kids together.
He wants to create a $1.2 million youth sports stadium that would be built on parcel of city-owned land at 41st Street and Normal Avenue.
"It's a venue where people can go to have a good time. It would be a major economic boost to the ward because it's in the ward," he said.
Casey Cora says the candidate is hoping to find support from local parents:
Under Kozlar's plan, the park district would build and run the facility, which would host the area's football leagues, soccer squads, lacrosse teams and other sporting groups on a state-of-the-art turf field.
"It would be an expense of the Park District but this would be a self-generating venue. It's going to pay for itself by seven to eight years with concessions stands. Instead of going to somebody's pockets, the money is going back to the city," he said.
The field, Kozlar said, would also qualify for additional funding and programs through the outreach programs from professional sports teams like the Chicago Bears and the Chicago Fire.
It's all part of the second-time aldermanic candidate's plans for economic development in the ward. He's joining Maureen Sullivan, Patrick Daley Thompson and John Tominello in the bid for the 11th Ward aldermanic seat.
Kozlar also proposed a bowling alley along Pershing Road, the renovation of the long-shuttered Ramova Theater and development along Halsted and Morgan Streets. Detailed loosely on his campaign website, the specifics of those plans will be released in the coming months, he said.
Kozlar, 25 and a law school student, is credited with turning around the fortunes of the group. The league has grown to take on 450 boys and girls and the ballfields have undergone a remarkable transformation, including a brand new fan party deck.
But the public-run stadium would be different than the nonprofit Little League, which is able to keep expanding thanks to multiple fundraisers.
Still, Kozlar said he's confident the facility would pay for itself over time, and that it would be perfect fit for the various local sports teams without home field facilities.
"Now it's going to be in our community," he said.
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