Tuesday, January 18, 2011

City Council Approves Ping Tom Park Expansion

We recently read on the City of Chicago website (via curbed chicago) that the city council has approved expansion of a field house in Ping Tom Park:

Approved also was an ordinance that finances the construction of an athletic field house in Ping Tom Park on the City’s Near South Side.

Funds for the $10 million proposal will be allocated from the River South TIF district.
The field house will include a main gym, club rooms and community meeting areas for nearby Chinatown residents and other users. Specific design details are anticipated to be completed in 2011. Construction is expected
to start the following year.

The park is located on a 12-acre site adjacent to the South Branch of the Chicago River at 300 W. 19th St. Initially featuring a children's
playground, community gathering areas and Chinese landscape design elements, the park was later expanded north of 18th Street to include ball fields, play areas
and a variety of river edge improvements that are currently under construction.

We remember seeing some renderings of a field house (click here), but haven't heard much about the project until we read the article above. It's a great piece of land, so hopefully this comes to fruition.

(Image from Site Design Group)


Unknown said...

Don't love it. Whats great about that field is the lack of concrete/buildings. The one area we have that is open and we are going to build on it? I can see small bathrooms or something like what they have at 12th street beach but nothing more. Maybe they should refurbish and re-purpose and any of the hundreds of vacant buildings in the area that are sitting idle instead. Leave the open space alone. Its bad enough they tore out 200 yr old trees for this "park" project.

Anonymous said...

this is supposed to be the true South Loop Field House with courts, pool, etc. A welcome addition. Some of the early proposals and design.

I hope however, the park is run independent of the current Ping Tom, as the chinatown care of the park on southside of 18th is not great. this should be a combined South Loop facility.

Anonymous said...

Remember that for years, the Chinatown community had suffered a total lack of open space and recreational facilities. The only nearby parks, Hardin Square and Stanford Park, had been demolished 30 years earlier to make way for the Dan Ryan Expressway. Two full generations of children in Chinatown grew up without access to a neighborhood park or any recreational area. I agree with including South Loop residents but I understand how easily accessible this park will be for Chinatown residents.
The recreation building is constructed adjacent to the train tracks… remember that a train cuts this park in half… which is the reason for the lack of concrete/buildings in the first place; open space really doesn’t apply too much here. Also, I’m not aware of vacant buildings adjacent to this park?
Removing the old growth cottonwood trees was a big mistake IMO, but I am optimistic to see what this new addition to the park will bring; especially the way the shoreline is designed.

Anonymous said...

I'd really like to see them improve access routes to this park as part of the improvements. Boarded by train tracks and the river makes it hard to get to. It'd be great if stairs from 18th street could be added. It'd also be great for there to be the kayak/canoe boat launch put in as was the plan a year r two ago...