Wildwood Park group seeking new fieldhouse
by BRIAN NADIG
The Wildwood Park Advisory Council is seeking a new or expanded fieldhouse for the park and has announced plans for a new nature play area.
"It’s tiny … about 1,000 square feet … and we can’t really have programming in the fieldhouse," said council president Amber Damerow. She added that programming is limited to toddlers, "five kids max."
The Chicago Park District has had a long-term agreement to use the gymnasium at Wildwood School, but access to the gym is limited, Damerow said. "You can’t have programming during the school day," she said.
The park district began joint operations with the Chicago Board of Education after the school was built in 1953. Within several years, Wildwood Park had an athletic field, playground equipment, tennis courts, and a comfort station to supplement the school, according to the park district’s Web site,
The council has submitted a request for a new fieldhouse, which was built in the 1950s, to the park district and Alderman Anthony Napolitano (41st). Members plan to testify on the matter at a park district budget hearing this fall.
Any new fieldhouse at the park hopefully would include an indoor basketball court, a fitness/yoga area and overall enlarged programming space to accommodate all ages, Damerow said. Expanded after-school programming for students and activities for area seniors are among the priorities, she said.
Currently many Wildwood families register for programs at suburban park districts due to the limited options at Wildwood, Damerow said.
Meanwhile, a park district grant will be used to install a nature play area next to the park’s playground. It will consist of logs, rocks and other natural elements.
"For the nature play space, we held two design sessions with children at the park (and) then in late June we brought the sketches (of their recommendations) out and let the children vote on their favorites. The peace circle, musical instruments, tripods and tree fort were very popular," Damerow said.
Also, as a fund-raiser the advisory council is selling decorative brick pavers which honor veterans and first responders. As part of Eagle Scout projects, engraved bricks honoring veterans are being installed near the park’s flagpole, while bricks honoring first responders are being installed near the playground.
More information on sponsoring a brick is available at polarengrav ing.com/wildwoodparkadvisorycouncil.