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Humboldt Park Batting Cage Gets $325,000 From City TIF

By  Mina Bloom and Heather Cherone | February 22, 2017 4:24pm | Updated on February 23, 2017 1:41pm

 The batting cage will be situated in Humboldt Park at Division Street and Kedzie Avenue.
The batting cage will be situated in Humboldt Park at Division Street and Kedzie Avenue.
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HUMBOLDT PARK — Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday announced that $325,000 in Tax Increment Finance funds will go toward the construction of a batting cage in Humboldt Park.

The Chicago Park District facility, coming to Division Street and Kedzie Avenue, will offer mechanical pitching machines with five hitting stations, which will be open to baseball and softball leagues as well as the general public, according to the mayor's office.

To accommodate a range of ages and skill levels, pitch speeds will range from 40 mph to 70 mph.

Once the facility is built, it will be the park district's third automated batting cage. Construction is expected to start in early spring and take about eight weeks, weather permitting.

The mayor's office said the batting cage is meant to cater to the growing number of Chicago kids who are playing the sport. Last year, more than 1,000 kids enrolled in community leagues in Humboldt Park, the mayor's office said.

In total, the facility is expected to cost $656,000. The rest of the funding will come from park district capital funds and donations, according to park district spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner.

The facility will honor Nancy Franco-Maldonado, 26th Ward Ald. Roberto Maldonado's late wife who, until her death from cancer in 2015, was active in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.

"This facility will be a community asset that reflects the commitment my wife had for Humboldt Park and her love of Chicago,” Maldonado said in a prepared statement.

“This neighborhood recreational facility is the perfect tribute to Nancy, who was a dedicated volunteer committed to improving the lives of kids and families in our community.”

TIF districts capture all growth in the property tax base in a designated area for a set period of time, usually 20 years or more, and divert it into a special fund for projects designed to spur redevelopment and eradicate blight.