Park with artificial playing field, bleachers, lights, parking planned for Read-Dunning
by BRIAN NADIG
The City of Chicago is planning to sell a 7.5-acre parcel at 4030 N. Oak Park Avenue in the Read-Dunning Tax Increment Financing District to the Chicago Park District for the development of a park with an artificial playing surface.
The Community Development Commission at its June 9 meeting was scheduled to hold a hearing on the project. The city would sell the parcel to the park district for $1, and the park district is planning to use a $3 million state grant to build the park.
The park would be located just to the south of the New Horizons Center for Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities and Autism, 6737 W. Forest Preserve Drive, and just to the north of a 19-acre parcel at the northeast corner of Oak Park and Irving Park Road that city has set aside for a possible school to relieve overcrowding at schools on the Northwest Side.
The proposed Read Dunning Park would include a multi-use artificial field that would be used for baseball, softball, soccer, football and lacrosse. Amenities would include bleachers, a concessions stand, scoreboards, lighting, landscaping, bathrooms and a 93-space parking lot. A walking path would encircle the entire park.
“The nearest parks are Merrimac Park and Shabbona Park. However, these parks are of limited size, serve the immediate neighborhood, and would not be able to accommodate the additional improvements and parking needs,” the staff report from the city Department of Planning and Development stated.
“There are no park district multi-use athletic fields of this size in the Northwest Side of the city. The nearest turf field which can accommodate high school athletics is located at Hanson Park, which is 2.75 miles away to the southeast,” the reported stated. When the field is not reserved for leagues and schools, it would be available for pickup games.
Construction of the athletic field is scheduled for completion by the summer of 2016.
Alderman Nicholas Sposato (38th) has sent the planning department a letter supporting the project.
In 2011 the city almost sold a section of the Read-Dunning site to the park district, but the project stalled after then-alderman Timothy Cullerton had expressed concern that funds were not available to pay for the park’s construction.
Over the past 25 years much of the Read-Dunning site, which includes surplus state land, has been redeveloped for residential, commercial and industrial uses. A section of the site also has been used for the Wright College campus.