On July 9th, the Bronzeville community gathered with Chicagoans from all over to celebrate the grand opening of The Arts and Recreation Center at Ellis Park. The new state of the art center includes a gym with a shock absorbing floor, a handicap accessible pool, a fitness center, a community room and a rooftop terrace for parties and events. The crowd was energetic and elated to welcome the new field house, a project that has been in the making for a decade.
10 years ago, then Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (the current Cook County Board President) began the process to bring a recreational center in Bronzeville. At the opening, Preckwinkle thanked all the community partners and Mayor Emanuel for turning the center from a vision into a realty. CCLF committed $500,000 to the Quad Communities Development Corporation during the early predevelopment stage to finance the project, and was joined by numerous partners, including JPMorgan Chase, City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, IFF, CHA, LISC Chicago, and The Community Builders, to help make the center a reality.
Mayor Emanuel and General Superintendent and CEO of the Chicago Park District Michael P. Kelly took the stage to uplift the accomplishments of this long awaited community center. 3rd Ward Alderman Pat Dowell highlighted the new programs that will be featured at the center, such as a free senior arts program sponsored by the Hyde Park Art Center. She then turned the attention back to the County Board President, “Thank Toni Preckwinkle. It took 10 years but it was worth the wait.”