Park council announces goals
by BRIAN NADIG
The Jefferson Park Advisory Council at its Nov. 12 meeting announced several goals for improvements at the park, including new lockers for the pool, and discussed plans for a holiday celebration that will include an elaborate model train display in the park fieldhouse, 4822 N. Long Ave.
It was reported at the meeting that the lockers at the pool date to when the pool was constructed 40 years ago and are in deteriorating condition. There are 198 lockers in each of the men’s and women’s locker rooms.
Council president Lionel Rabb said that the lockers are one of several capital improvement projects for the park that the council is discussing with Chicago Park District officials. He said that the council may help raise funds for some of the projects.
The council discussed the need for additional play features at the park playlot, which was rebuilt 4 years ago, and for interior renovations to the park’s former craft shop, which has been used for storage for the past 15 years. The council is hoping to re-open the two-story craft shop building, 4820 N. Long Ave., for public use.
The Chicago Park District repainted the craft shop building earlier this year and made some repairs to its exterior, but several pieces of machinery which were used to make jewelry are still housed in the 130-year-old building. The building was once the home of Henry Esdohr, who was a postmaster and business owner in Jefferson Park.
The council also is working with the park district on a long-term plan for the park. The council has recommended constructing a band shell, a cafe, new tennis courts and a larger playlot.
It also was reported that the Chicago Park District North Region has been addressing a staff shortage at the park and that the west end of the park is being baited for rats regularly. Some council members said that business owners have complained about rats in alleys near the park.
Rabb also said that the council hopes to provide resources to some of the other parks which fall under the supervision of Jefferson Park supervisor Andrea Woppel, including Roberts Square Park, next year. The council has a staff member who is paid by a local nonprofit foundation.
Also at the meeting, it was announced that the council will sponsor a free "Santa’s Back, People" event from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at the park. The event will feature sleigh rides, photos with Santa, live reindeer and the lighting of holiday lights on the front of the fieldhouse and several trees in the park.
The event also will mark the opening of a holiday village train display in the fieldhouse. The model train display will be about 8 feet tall and 16 feet wide and will feature several layers of tracks and features such as trees, tunnels, a carnival, lights, mountains and snow, according to resident Dave Pietrowski, who has set up holiday train displays in buildings in Downtown Chicago.
The council asks that families register for the Santa event at www.jmpac.org.