Jul 11, 2016

July 9, 2016 

Mayor’s Press Office 312.744.3334 

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael P. Kelly, Chicago Housing Authority CEO Eugene Jones Jr., Alderman Pat Dowell and Alderman Sophia King today joined community members and Quad Communities Development Corporation to celebrate the opening of the new arts and recreation center at Ellis Park. The development is part of Mayor Emanuel's Building on Burnham plan, a comprehensive vision to bring arts and recreation to Chicago’s neighborhoods and invest in Chicago's parks and open spaces. 

“For far too long, there was no public indoor swimming pool between Hyde Park and the South Loop. That ends today with this new center,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Now residents have a community anchor that builds on other investments in the area, like Mariano’s, to ensure our neighborhoods have a brighter future tomorrow.” 

The facility includes a full-size gymnasium with two basketball courts, an indoor pool, art and education club rooms, a fitness center and studio, meeting hall, and music and theater performance spaces. The center also offers space for arts and cultural programs that can support after school programs for local elementary and high school students. 

“The Chicago Park District strives to make modern state of the art facilities available to Chicago residents” said General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. “The new community center will do exactly that, while also providing safe learning and gathering spaces, for the Oakland and Douglass communities.” 

The Park District, Chicago Housing Authority and the Chicago Housing Authority’s partner, The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) led the development of the property and the financing 

for a new 32,482 square foot field house and community (arts and recreation) center. The $17.5 million facility will serve the greater Oakland, Douglas and Bronzeville communities. Funding sources include the Chicago Housing Authority, TIF funds and New Market Tax Credits from The Community Builders. 

“The Chicago Housing Authority is a proud partner of this new facility and believes that our investments in community assets like this are critical components of building strong, vibrant communities,” said CHA CEO Eugene Jones, Jr. “We are proud to join our other partners today as we mark another chapter in the progress we are making to create healthy neighborhoods where people can live, work and play.” 

“We are thrilled to be the developer of The Arts and Recreation Center at Ellis Park. The allocation of new markets tax credits by TCB, IFF and JP Morgan Chase coupled with tax increment financing and funding from CHA made the development of this state-of-the-art facility possible,” said Bart Mitchell, TCB president and CEO. “The new center—which offers a variety of arts, cultural and educational programming for Bronzeville families—is a much needed addition to this vibrant and growing neighborhood.” 

With the completion of this facility, day camp is underway at Ellis Park for the first time ever. The inaugural class of day campers is made up of approximately 150 children that will utilize the arts and recreation center this summer. 

This facility is part of Building on Burnham, the Mayor's comprehensive plan to invest in the Lakefront, the Chicago River, natural areas and recreational opportunities in neighborhoods across the city. This plan follows the Mayor’s successful expansion of Chicago’s park system in his first mayoral term, which has already added 750 acres of new parkland, 256 new playgrounds and more than $800 million in capital investment from neighborhoods and private sources. 

# # # 

The Chicago Park District is the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,300 acres of parkland, more than 585 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs, please visit or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY.