Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Update on the Nov. 30th Abbott Park meeting

Just provided to the blog by Roseland Heights Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman C. Tucker:
The Chicago Park District has plans to renovate the track behind Harlan High School by replacing the center area grass with artificial turf.

There was an Abbott Park Artificial Turf Meeting on Nov. 30 at 6:00pm in Abbott Park.

Community residents, RHCA Parks Committee members, Abbott Park Advisory Council members, Harlan's Principle Evens, Alderman Lyle, 6th ward candidate Sawyer & campaign workers met with spoke person (Mr. Lang...I think) about The Chicago Park District plans to renovate the track behind Harlan High School.

NO CPD officials were there.

Here is what we found out:

1. According to the spoke person who headed the hearing on artificial grass, the Council and residents need to say Yes to what is being proposed – the speaker said if we say no the artificial grass will not be used.

2. There is NO public money being used for this project! It is all being done with private money, and we will NOT be told from where the money came!

3. There are 10 parks being considered for the project. We are the 4th presentation and one park has already said "Hell no".

4. Along with the plan for an artificial turf field bleachers and lights may also be requested. The field will be maintained with private money from these unknown companies also.

Well I must say community members did a great job of asking the right questioins.. They wanted to know will CPD make any other improvements to the park? They also talked about the need for a complete study (undertaken) by the City or CPD to evaluate the negative impact this will have on the neighborhood.

Residents felt, there were "negative impacts" to plans for track. Mainly, more organized sports events planned for area would influence how and who would be using the park.

The plans to have more sporting events permits at Abbott Park would disturb the neighborhood with
increased noise, traffic and parking issues.

The heightened use of the track would have a detrimental effect upon the Park and the neighborhood where the park is located in terms of extended hours, of noise, dedicated use, traffic, and more trespassing on private property.
*Most of all the Residents felt in a park that is not maintained and has many unresolved problems already the development of new activities for the track would only add to the problems the Chicago Park Distict has not addressed and would be the end of this community as we know it.

No vote was taken. Synthetic turf was not the issue it was what came with it and CPD's inability to maintain Abbott Park. Three Advisory Council members committed to plan, but not one community resident would commit!

Note: Candidate Sawyer discussed some negative environmental impacts and requirements of significant capital investment for maintenance costs of synthetic turf; it is being said now (by spoke person) that private funds will do this) He also had some very good questions about in-depth, independent analysis that would examine the financial and environmental costs of natural vs. synthetic turf, as well as the implications for usage, maintenance, health and safety.

We need to hear from representatives from the Parks District since no information was given to us on this.
Finally, the community needs more research on synthetic turf and plans for track to assess better and to aid the current community input processes.

C. Tucker, Chairman for RHCA Parks Committee
As for the 98th & Michigan which almost two decades ago used to be a playlot, C. Tucker also recently posted this comment in that two-year-old post about the former playlot:
The RHCA Parks Committee would also like to know what CPD plans are for this area. They met with Park Supervisor Johnson and South Area Manager Hopkins to disscus 2009 requests.

1.A Covenant: binding agreement that 98th Street Park will not be sold, *Note: The area West of playlot use to be park land. The land on which Harlan's parking lot is located was sold by CPD to CPS in 1961!

2.Swing gate for 98th Street park opening along with Bollards or iron fence positioned along areas of 96th Michigan & 98th & State to stop driving and parking on grass in park.

3. A Abbott Park sign with rules at Michigan & 98th Street.Records show this is Abbott Park not just a playlot.

4.10:00 pm closing signs posted.Residents can verify latenight "grown folk hanging and getting drunk" in the park.
These concerns are not just RHCA committee concerns But community concerns. Violations of rules and illegal activities should be reported. Disruptive non-permit groups on school grounds & park, soliciting on 95th Street and consuming of alcoholic beverages cannot be curbed or stopped by one or two people! The Community NEEDS your help. Send an email, write a letter, Call CPD for rule violations and Police for illegal activities.
At the very least the loitering in this neglected part of the Abbott Park lot is verifiable as people have been know to either sleep on the benchs or sit in that former playlot and drink.

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