BRIGHTON PARK — The Park District is expected to open its new, $68 million headquarters on the Southwest Side this summer, including a host of summer camps for kids.
The 17-acre site at 4800 S. Western Ave. is slated to be completed in time for the camps, officials said during a community meeting Tuesday night. Construction broke ground on the Brighton Park project in July 2021.
Plans to move the Park District’s headquarters and its 200 employees to the Southwest Side were announced in 2018 by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel. City Council approved the plans in 2020.
The Park District has been headquartered at the Time-Life Building in Streeterville since 2001.
Park District CEO Rosa Escareño gave neighbors an update Tuesday on the project.
“This is your park,” Escareño said to the crowd of nearly 100 neighbors who turned out to the meeting. “And soon you will have 200 staffers roaming around this neighborhood, and for us it’s going to be important to gain your trust to make sure that you know who we are. So we look forward to opening our doors.”
With the project on track, residents can expect summer programs to be held there this year, Park officials said.
There will be a summer day camp for kids 6-12, play camp for 4- and 5-year-olds and teen camp for kids 13-15. Parents can also sign up kids 3-16 for soccer camp.
The office building construction is still underway, including the indoor basketball courts, but two large turf fields with lighting and seating have been built on the site along West 48th Street, while playground equipment is still being installed.
During the community meeting, some neighbors said there are programs they would like to see offered in the future. One woman said there should be more activity opportunities for adults older than 60, while another said she would appreciate seeing more recreation activities for kids with disabilities.
Some residents expressed concerns about an influx of people needing parking in the area once the headquarters opens.
Escareño said the site will have 200 parking spaces for employees and visitors.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) said his office is open to working with nearby blocks who are interested in getting permit-only parking to preserve spaces for residents.
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