ENGLEWOOD — For years, Southwest Side leaders dreamed of overhauling Ogden Park. It’s finally a multimillion-dollar reality ready for local youth sports teams and neighbors to enjoy.
Ald. David Moore (17th), joined fellow Ald. Stephanie Coleman (16th), Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly, and members of the Vikings youth football team last week to officially open Ogden Park’s new running track and football field.
The improvements to the 60-acre park at 6500 S. Racine Ave. are part of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s Invest South/West Initiative, a multi-year, multi-agency $750 million plan to revitalize ten underserved neighborhoods on the South and West sides.
The Ogden Park project includes a resodded football field, and adds a new eight-lane track with a latex rubber running surface, digital scoreboard, field lighting, and two long jump/triple jump runways and pits.
The improvements total $2.7 million.
“People have been asking for this since I was a young man,” said Moore, who grew up playing in nearby Hamilton Park. “It feels good to see it happen.”
Ogden Park’s last major renovation was in 1998, when the park district built a major regional playground on the site.
This is the first step towards Moore’s ultimate goal: a brand new field house for the 115 year-old park, complete with an indoor pool. He’s enlisted the aid of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) to try to bring it to fruition and estimates the upgrade would cost around $15 million. He also envisions a small, indoor cafe or smoothie shop run by a vendor from the area.
Local seniors have already availed themselves of the new track, meeting up for group walks and exercise. Soon, youth sports groups will be using the space for team practices.
“It took a lot of tears, a lot of hard work, and a lot of begging to make this happen,” said Coleman. “This is Englewood, rising together.”
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