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Riot Fest Work at Douglas Park Cost $180,000, Fest Organizers Say

By Stephanie Lulay | September 22, 2015 4:41pm
 The clean up of Douglas Park after Riot Fest is
The clean up of Douglas Park after Riot Fest is "well underway," organizers said Tuesday.
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@smackinyc/Twitter; DNAinfo/Mark Konkol

DOUGLAS PARK — Repairs and improvements made at Douglas Park will cost Riot Fest organizers about $180,000, fest organizers said Tuesday.

The entire clean-up and restoration of the park will take up to three weeks, but most of the park will be accessible to residents during that time. Riot Fest crews are working to allow grass seed to germinate and grow on a small area of the park now, Riot Fest spokesperson Chris Mather said in a statement.

A number of soccer fields will be fenced off to allow grass seed to germinate and grow, but the Nike turf field at 18th & California Avenue is accessible and there will be no negative impact on pre-scheduled soccer activities, Mather said.

When all restoration work is done, Mather said Douglas Park will be "more usable than even before the festival." She said the Chicago Park District is satisfied with the Riot Fest's work to restore the park.

Riot Fest crowds faced heavy rain at the fest Friday and early Saturday, but cleanup and teardown was already underway at muddy Douglas Park the following Monday morning.

Crews worked to clean up Douglas Park after Riot Fest 2015 the following Monday. [DNAinfo/Alex Nitkin]

Festival organizers conducted a walk-through with Chicago Park District officials on Sept. 17, and will continue weekly on-site visits from Park District officials to monitor restoration progress.

Riot Fest spent about $180,000 to prepare, restore and improve the Douglas Park grounds before and after the fest, according to a statement. The majority of those dollars were spent before the event to ensure the clean up and restoration work moved swiftly and prevented the park from getting worse during the rain.

In 2014, Riot Fest caused $182,000 in damage at Humboldt Park, the former home of Riot Fest.

After facing pushback from the Humboldt Park neighborhood, Riot Fest organizers confirmed in May that the punk rock fest would be moved to Douglas Park in North Lawndale. The move came Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) vowed to bar Riot Fest from setting up shop for a fourth year in Humboldt Park.

Douglas Park was a leading contender as tensions rose in Humboldt Park because it is similar in size and layout to Humboldt Park.

Riot Fest organizers have committed to making a number of improvements at Douglas Park, including:

• fixing and filling a water leak in the park just below eastbound Ogden Avenue, a boggy area previously unusable by residents

• aerating all the fields in Douglas Park

• re-sodding the infield of the baseball diamond at Douglas Park

Before the fest, Riot Fest crews, brought in several tons of mulch to contain rain runoff, worked with the city and Park District to clear drains ahead of the event and had a landscaper on-site during the three-day fest. Mather said clogged drains caused issues at Humboldt Park last year.

Riot Fest co-founder Mike Petryshyn said organizers are committed to making Douglas Park even better than ever before.

“Riot Fest’s impact on the community has always been as important to us as the success of the festival and that is why we have always worked to make sure that residents in the neighborhood are not just satisfied with how Riot Fest conducts itself during the event, but pleased that Riot Fest takes place in their community and thankful for what the festival brings to residents and local businesses throughout the year,” Petryshyn said.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), who represents the south end of the park, and Ald. Michael Scott (24th), who represents the north end of the park, were both pleased with the clean-up efforts.

"Riot Fest has been nothing but responsible in its efforts to protect and restore the park before, during and after the festival,” Cardenas said.

Scott said Riot Fest organizers completed their "due diligence" before and after the concerts at Douglas Park. 

“There were very few constituent complaints and I look forward to seeing the end result," Scott said.

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