Welcome to the October 2008 JPAC Newsletter online

Presented by Jackson Park Advisory Council, Chicago, and advisory community organization to the Chicago Park District

Editor garyossewaarde@yahoo.com. Sited in www.hydepark.org, owned by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, administrator George Rumsey. Hosted by OnShore Communications.


Volume 15, Issue 10

The next meeting will be on Tuesday, October 14 due to holiday observed.Business will include updates and reports including on the September 8 special meeting, nature areas, park district program and budget, and council financials (votes may be taken).


The regular September 8 council meeting was suspended in favor of a community meeting on the proposed year round sports education and training structure for tennis courts near Hayes and Cornell Drives. Here is a provisional report on that meeting.

Community Meeting in lieu of JPAC meeting, September 8, 2008

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) with JPAC convened a well-attended meeting at South Shore Cultural Center. An extended presentation was followed by ample audience questions and comments. The proposal is sponsored by Athletes Committed to Education, backed by financing firms, and endorsed by many officials and stakeholders. Contact: ACE at 7527 S. Dobson 60619, 312 671-4172.

The presentation included objectives, overview, design, and programs. The air-supported, transparent dome would sit 50 foot high on a platform and at 57,000 sq. ft. not exceed the footprint of the present nine tennis courts (shown to be in very bad shape). The facility will include a more traditional wing for education and support. Included are many facilities for batting or simulating tennis, golf, and baseball year round, plus three good tennis courts. Four mature trees would be removed and soft landscaping substituted. The complex will seek “silver LEEDS” certification with many innovative green features. Construction cost: c. $3 million with a yearly budget of c. a million.

The facility would be free for kids after school for the hours 4-6 pm. Youth under 18 would pay the cost of a card. Those over 18 would pay up to $300 a year on a sliding scale. However, during the summer adults could play tennis for free.

Strong support was expressed for a program that could provide a safe haven for kids and possibly turn lives around, including through learning for living programs as well as sports, while providing a place for youth and others to train for competitive or career sports in a facility now lacking on the South Side.

Main concerns were about giving to a private program and facility, land in a public park, or the need to first complete terms negotiations with and get approval of the park district. Alderman Hairston said the project and discussion is only for this site and park, no other, but agreed that terms must leave the District in ownership and control. ACE said the proposal is that its own staff conduct the program.

Other expressed concerns were about not over-using that section of the park or hurting open vistas or general-public use, and for preserving historic character and template. There was general agreement there should be more community usage of this park, and several testified as to the need for the facility. It was expected there will be another meeting, assuming ACE and the Park District complete negotiations and submit a recommended proposal.

Prepared by Gary Ossewaarde, JPAC Secretary


The October meeting will be on Tuesday, October 14 rather than Monday, due to Columbus holiday. There is important business and planning to conduct. 7:30 pm at the field house, 6401 S. Stony Island.

4th Thursdays 5th Ward Olympic planning and benefits mtgs. 6:30 pm, Jackson Park field house.

Volunteer Workdays in the Natural Areas continue 9/27, 10/11 and 25, and into November. 10 am-1 pm, meet at Darrow Bridge south of MSI basin. Contact Ross Petersen at 773 486-0505.

Wooded Island Bird Walks with Doug Anderson Weds. 7 am, Sats. 8 am. Darrow Bridge 773 493-7058.

December 7 Explore the White City Simulation Tour returns with a new section celebrating Osaka Garden and the Chicago-Osaka Sister City connection, with program participation by JPAC/park-connected experts. Visit for tickets Museum of Science and Industry website, www.msichicago.org, or Hyde Park Historical Society website, www.hydeparkhistory.org well before November. Space from either is limited. There is a charge.