GRAND BOULEVARD — After years of neglect, Armstrong Park’s baseball field is getting a facelift thanks to Cubs Charities’ Diamond Project.
The park, 4433 S. St. Lawrence Ave., was one of 13 organizations across the city to receive a grant from the program, which was created to expand more opportunities for kids and teens to play baseball and softball.
The Armstrong Park Advisory Council applied for the $100,000 grant last year, said member Donnell Spencer. The money will be used to refurbish the diamonds, he said.
Park soil will dug up to allow for the installation of a drainage system, and grass will be resodded. Spencer told Block Club small bleachers may be added, or a batting cage or a pitcher’s mound.
For Spencer, a lifelong baseball fan, a refurbished baseball field means more opportunities for families like his to play together.
“In the last five years there has really been a commitment of immediate neighbors to revitalize the park, to make it more inviting and suitable for families. They put in a running track around the perimeter, updated the playground equipment and hosted weekly park cleanups,” he said
Pre-pandemic, families gathered for Kite Days and Movies In the Park. There were giveaways for sports equipment and bicycles. Spencer is hopeful for those days to return.
Cubs Charities Executive Director Alicia Gonzalez shares that hope. Providing resources to give kids a nice, clean space to play can change a community for the better, she said.
“The Armstrong Park Advisory Council’s goal to renovate the two fields is one component of a broad community effort to improve the park, create a more welcoming environment for residents and foster a love of baseball among young and old in the neighborhood and surrounding communities is what made them stand out to us,” added Gonzalez.
Cubs Charities receives an average of 25 applications every year, from which 13 organizations are selected based on project feasibility, readiness, neighborhood impact and community support and ability to carry out the project.
Applications are currently being accepted for 2022 Diamond Project grants via their website: Cubs.com/DiamondProject. Program and equipment grant applications are open until Feb. 28, and capital grant applications are open until May 13.
Since its 2014 launch, the Diamond Project has given $10.8 million to fund 103 capital improvement projects and 79 youth programs while providing new sports equipment across Chicago.
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