THE LOOP — Food trucks and yoga are part of the police department's plan to bring new life to Pritzker Park, a little State Street enclave many neighbors currently find uninviting.
Central District officers will lead "positive loitering" from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. April 29 at the park at 310 S. State St.
South Loop studio Tejas Yoga will lead free classes while food trucks from Cheesie's Pub & Grub, Piko Street Kitchen and Beaver's Coffee & Donuts will serve visitors.
"I hope this will lead to regular activities at the park," said Officer Nicole Bryson, a Central District community policing officer.
The event will come after years of complaints by neighbors about the park, which has attracted lots of loiterers and not much else since a giant eyeball sculpture designed by Chicago artist Tony Tasset left in 2010. The city put up the park — located next to Harold Washington Library and two CTA stations — for sale in 2015 but hasn't found a buyer yet.
Complaints about drug dealers and homeless people in the park have been a common topic at Loop community policing meetings for years.
Named after Pritzker family matriarch Cindy Pritzker, the park near State and Van Buren streets opened in 1991 as an outdoor complement to what was then the new Harold Washington Library, according to the Chicago Park District. The park replaced The Rialto, the last single-room occupancy hotel in the Loop.
Pritzker is a philanthropist, former library board president and widow of Hyatt Hotels co-founder Jay Pritzker.
The park district took over the lot in 2008 and led a redesign including a "knee-wall" inscribed with quotes from famous authors.