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Alcott 'Field of Dreams' Construction to Begin in Spring, CPS Says

By Paul Biasco | November 22, 2014 3:27pm | Updated on November 23, 2014 5:38pm
 The Alcott Field of Dreams project received a $750,000 grant from the Illinois EPA.
Alcott Field of Dreams
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LINCOLN PARK — The final funding has been secured and a completely renovated playground, playing field and track at Alcott College Prep should be complete by the fall of 2015.

Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) announced the approval of $600,000 in Open Space Impact Fee funding that, on top of the recently received $750,000 stormwater management grant, means the project is fully funded at $1.6 million.

As school let out Friday afternoon before the scheduled funding announcement, dozens of students presented Smith with flowers thanking her for her work.

"I have been so inspired by the passion, the hard work and the vision of the parents here and your administration," Smith said Friday.

The city council's open space impact fee committee approved the $600,000 grant Wednesday, according to Smith.

"This entire process has been a perfect example of excellent coordination between the City of Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools and the local Alcott community to achieve this long-sought dream for our community," Smith said.

The Field of Dreams plan seeks to build an artificial turf field with a baseball diamond, soccer field and track around the field.

It also calls for a new playground, basketball court with permeable asphalt and garden.

The project will involve the removal of the current asphalt surface.

"[Smith] has consistently stated since she got involved that 'This is going to get done. This is going to get done. We are going to find the money,'" said Alcott's principal Elias Estrada. 

The Alcott community, lead by parent Robin Fine, has been working to make this project a reality for the past three years hosting a number of fundraising events and gathering neighborhood support.

The group was awarded a $50,000 from the Chicago Cubs Charities, and raised more than $150,000 from walkathons and other school events.

"I'm so relieved," Fine said. "I'm sure you are as a community that our fundraising can go toward other things now."

The next step in the process involves the school working with Chicago Public Schools to come up with a final proposal before opening up the bid process.

The bid process will likely occur in the spring, according to Smith, and the entire project will likely by done by the late fall of 2015.