Installation of roller hockey rink at Brooks Park planned for next spring





by BRIAN NADIG

Plans are moving forward for a roller hockey rink to be installed next spring on the west end of Brooks Park, 7100 N. Harlem Ave.

“This all started with the Chicago Blackhawks, as they look to grow the game of hockey,” Alderman Anthony Napolitano’s chief of staff Chris Vittorio said. “They’re planning to do this all through the city.”

The Blackhawks sponsored a $250,000 grant for the project at Brooks Park. A similar rink was recently installed at Morgan Park, 11505 S. Western Ave.

The 180-by-75-foot rink will be surrounded by hockey boards with a fence on top of the boards, and the rink itself will consist of plastic sports court surface that will be installed over a concrete base, Vittorio said. It will be available for both roller and floor hockey, he said.

“It’s another amenity for the park, just like the tennis courts,” Vittorio said.

The Chicago Park District is going through the permitting process for the project, and the Blackhawks plan to replace trees which are removed because of the construction with new ones elsewhere in the park, Vittorio said. A stormwater study related to the rink is part of the permitting process, he said.

The rink’s installation will not affect possible plans for the installation of a stormwater retention vault in the middle of the park, Vittorio said. The vault project was in the works before Napolitano took office in 2015 but appears to have stalled due to funding problems and concerns about the restoration of the park’s fields after the underground vault would be installed, he said.