DOWNTOWN — A plan to move the Chicago Park District’s headquarters out of Downtown is closer to reality after the City Council approved a plan to buy a 17-acre site in Brighton Park.
Aldermen approved a plan to use $8.6 million in TIF money to acquire the site at 4800 S. Western Ave., a site currently owned by Lexington Homes.
The purchase would clear the way for a new Park District headquarters that would include administrative offices, three sports fields, a playground, pool, field house and a parking lot.
“Chicago is famous for the world-class parks located in neighborhoods across the city, and moving the Chicago Park District headquarters to Brighton Park will bring jobs, energy and open space to the community,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement following last week’s vote.
“By making community investments in areas that need them, we can deliver long-term economic benefits to the entire city of Chicago,” he added.
The Chicago Park District sold its Streeterville headquarters to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for $22.5 million in 2015, but has been able to use space at that location — 541 N. Fairbanks — in the interim.
Michael Kelly, the park district general superintendent, called the development of the Brighton Park property a “win-win” for the Park District and the community.
“In addition to the efficiencies of owning our headquarters, we are bringing much-needed parkland and amenities to the children and families of this community,” Kelly said.
During a recent Finance Committee hearing, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said the plan to build a headquarters in Brighton Park would make the neighborhood more economically vibrant. Lopez also said local soccer teams were pleased with the plans for the new fields.
In September, the city unveiled plans for the proposed headquarters move. Officials said the relocation would move 200 existing park district jobs to Brighton Park, along with “much needed recreational assets to the neighborhood.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that the relocation of hundreds of city jobs and the addition of much-needed recreational spaces will spur economic development in Brighton Park,” Ald. Edward Burke (14th) said at the time of the announcement.
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