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Updated Park and New Athletic Facilities on the Way for Residents of West Humboldt Park

Image by phalinn via Flickr

The Chicago Plan Commission recently approved a proposal to integrate Greenbaum Park, 4300 W. Wabansia Ave., and the space outside North Grand High School, located at 4383 W. Wabansia Ave in West Humboldt Park.

The plans include renovating or installing an updated children’s playground, football and soccer fields, a baseball diamond and basketball and tennis courts.

The new features will extend over Kildare Avenue and will be available for use by both the high school and local residents. There will be timer-controlled lighting for the athletic fields, fencing, and artificial turf for the football and soccer fields.

“It maximizes the use of the facilities that already exist there,” said Terrance L. Diamond, legal representative with Neal and Leroy, LLC. She noted that safe pedestrian and cyclist traffic will be available for the community during construction.

The plan will close a portion of Kildare Avenue, but some local residents worry about the safety of their new athletic fields and park.

“Sometimes gang-bangers hang out here and do drugs. It’s dangerous,” said Giuliano Marroquin.

Marroquin, his expectant wife Rosa and their son live down the street from the high school, where about 900 students attend.

“All the community needs is to work together with the police to keep the parks safe,” he said.

The family visits Greenbaum Park quite often, so that’s why Rosa said she’s concerned about a shooting there within the last few months.

“This is a family park,” said Marroquin. “My priorities are with safety; we’ve had a few dangerous situations.”

Resident Vicki Jimenez shares those concerns. “I don’t think there’s enough police patrolling the area. It helps when we call.”

Jiminez thinks there is a need for more and better parks, and she hopes the new fields will give students more motivation to participate.

“If they end up involved in sports, maybe they won’t hang with the gang-bangers,” she said. “The school needs updated facilities. Safety is a concern, but I think the park needs an improvement.”

Before the Chicago Plan Commission approved the project at its Aug. 18 meeting, Ald. Ray Suarez (31st) said his ward has waited a long time.

“My community needs this to happen,” said Suarez. “This project is way, way overdue.”

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