Parks group pushing Montrose soccer field
A park advocacy group is threatening continued legal action unless the Chicago Park District cleans up an abandoned soccer field construction project at the south end of Lincoln Park and pursues an alternate site for the field.
The district agreed two years ago to allow the Latin School to construct a field near its campus at West North Boulevard and Clark Street. The field was partially finished when Protect Our Parks sued to stop the deal earlier this year.
As a result of the lawsuit settlement, the project was halted. The district says it is also required to reimburse Latin School for $2 million in construction costs.
Protect Our Parks argued yesterday that the $2 million should be spent on a new field at Montrose Harbor.
"One look at the space available in this location should make it totally obvious why any new soccer field construction belongs there and why the present construction site in south Lincoln Park is completely inappropriate," POP president Tom Tresser said yesterday at a news conference.
POP says it is concerned the district and the school will work on other arrangements to build on the site.
A Park District spokesperson did not return a call seeking comment.
The Latin School is no longer involved in discussions over what will become of the site, a school spokeswoman says. The school has no plans to build a new field, and would support a Park District project at Montrose Harbor, says spokeswoman Evelyne Girardet.
Much of the money the school spent on the south Lincoln Park field came from individual donors, and needs to be reimbursed by the Park District to do that, she says.
POP surveyed soccer programs and evaluated potential sites for a new field, and determined that Montrose Harbor's parking, convenient location and proximity to public transportation should win out.
The site already has one artificial turf soccer field that hosts the annual Mayor's Cup Youth Soccer Tournament every July. The POP says that expanding that site will allow the field to serve the Latin School as well as other Chicago residents.
"$2 million (at Montrose Bay) could create a facility that everybody in Chicago could use and be proud of," said POP board member Herb Caplan.
The North Avenue site is in limbo. POP is demanding that it be reopened to the public.
"They fenced it off and left a construction mess," says Caplan.
POP will hold a community meeting at First St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church Thursday night at 7 p.m. in effort to rally more support for continuing the fight against the park district.