RReports of the Kenwood Usage Committee


Meeting Announcements, updates since completion of work

The Usage Committee held its final meeting November 11 and prepared 7 recommendations for the council, park district and alderman, to be entered below.

Work is now under way per community agreement re-sodding the fields, including the two west ballfields near Shoesmith School- the northwest will be reduced to previous dimensions. The northeast and southeast lots have to stay bare for regulation play, but the northeast field will have a barrier wall to stop clay running off to the streets. More work is anticipated.

At the September 2009 meeting, decision was confirmed that the two fields closest to the Shoesmith School will be ones that will have grass. Park walkthroughs and evaluations continue. Full field sodding was to commence at the end of October.

An update June 23 2009 from Julie Lemon

--new bathrooms
--major tree trimming--lots of large trucks and men climbing up in threes.......never saw such an effort.
--we have meet with the engineer for park district regarding greening fields and some solutions for clay drainage.
--six trees and two service berries were planted along Dorchester side (wonder if that had anything to do with the tours?)
--we raised $2,500 for six summer camp scholarships--18 residence from 50th, 49th, Kenwood, and Kimbark donated the money. (many willing neighbors)
--A teacher from Shoesmith will come to our meetings--after presenting our plans for park at the Lower School Council. We plan to work with them on a plan to control traffic from parents picking up and dropping off kids.
--thanks to the Garden Fair the 50th street entrance and Dugus Garden looks just terrific!!!!!!!!
--we have found a way to get the fields watered and possibly also the garden. Tony McCoy has received a grant from After School Works for ten teens to work in park and church and he agreed to have kids do the work.
There are more things promised...water fountain...etc.

Minutes, Kenwood Park* Usage Committee
1st meeting, June 4, 2008

The meeting was convened by George W. Rumsey under commission of Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (4th) on June 4, 2008, c. 7:10 pm in the Hyde Park Bank 4th Floor Conference Center. Minutes were taken by Gary Ossewaarde. (*The park, 1330 E. 50th, runs 49th-50th, Dorchester to approx. Kenwood.)

Present: the following invited and assembled participants, in order of introductions or first speaking):
George Rumsey, Chairman. President, Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference
Alderman Toni Preckwinkle (4th)
Ben Jacobson, coach and officer of the HPK Chicago Fire Soccer
Jonathan Silverman, Ancona School and neighbor, parent of users
Gary Ossewaarde, HPKCC Vice President, and Parks Chairman
Crystal Fencke, Hyde Park Herald
Heinrich Jaeger, neighbor, longtime active in the park advisory council on many issues
Madelain Gerbaulet Vanasse, neighbor, user, Kenwood Open House Committee
Vicki Suchovsky, HPKCC board
Mary Margaret Bell, neighbor, advisory council
Steve Molasky, neighbor, advisory council
Jean Snyder, neighbor, heavy user, advisory council
Leslie Pilot-Gatton, life neighbor, Kenwood Improvement Association, St. Paul, Lester Dugas
Roxanne Friedman, neighbor, Legends Baseball
Lynn Small, neighbor, asks for Lester Dugas Memorial Assn.
Sophia Dorsey King, lives near, family uses, sports interest, Kenwood Improvement Assn.
Janet Geovanis, neighbor, Kenwood Improvement Association, Ancona School

Rumsey defined the purpose of the committee as seeking strategies for solution. This will require much feedback and research and will not be a quick process. This is the first of several meetings.

Alderman Preckwinkle expressed appreciation to the chairman and participants. She reiterated that there will be several meetings as there needs to be clarity about the park’s usage.

Rumsey said he does not have a history and sense of this park and its usage, although he has gathered a large folder of materials. What are the issues, he asked, and how do we achieve solutions and consensus? He wants consensus and noted that the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference seeks open, honest conversations.

Introductions were held around the table, in which participants were asked to state their associations, interests, and uses in the park, and their concerns, which often became discussions. It was noted that the schools (Ancona, Canter, and Kenwood) and their teams were underrepresented despite specific requests. This will be followed up.

Motion was made by Lynn Small that the Committee recommends a new fence to protect and discourage trash at the Lester J. Dugas Memorial Garden. Upon discussion, this was approved 7-5 in principle and with no prejudice to the role of the advisory council in considering the matter.

Rumsey raised sample queries that need answers on the road to solutions.
• Lack of reference to schools and their teams in discussion
• Will there be a league of even older boys at Kenwood Park? No
• Any progress on dust and mud impacts? The district and Legends are making some progress. Systemic problems and that most of the fields are idle of usage at one time were discussed.
• Need for protective netting and fencing per referenced safety study. There were sharp differences of opinion on this and safety. Ald. Preckwinkle asked Legends to supply current playing schedule.
• Impacts, overlap of play and cay camps. A partial overlap was observed.
• Adequacy of facilities. There was general agreement these are inadequate onsite.
• Could some play be removed to other parks? Difficulties and reluctance by the district and third parties was discussed.
• Have alternatives been found for soccer, should it have to move? No.

Rumsey discussed information-gathering steps. He said people need to observe the uses and play (note: schedules needed). Some observers have been recruited, including people living at a distance. The experience of teams, players, neighbors will be explicitly sought. This needs to include related issues such as trash handling. In short, there will be “secret shoppers,” information from teams and neighbors, and discussion with the Park District.

Concluding comments:
Friedman said we need to know what he neighbors really want for/in the park—and expect the teams to be doing, not just that they don’t want the baseball.

Rumsey: How can we provide more for girls, who play disproportionately in displaced soccer? Friedman suggested more coaches.

Silverman: What principles can we use to evaluate issues and programs: He suggested 1) an end-goal for the park and 2) when there are competing uses, the more compatible are to be preferred.

Jaeger: No one use should drive out others.

Snyder said historical uses of the park and field changes and the long history with team uses should be factored in.

Molasky said he is concerned about the division. The park has lots of use. The change was imposed and that caused strain.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 pm. Date of the next meeting was subsequently set as June 26, 7:30 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde


Kenwood Usage Committee – 2nd meeting June 26, 2008


Call to order
Review of Minutes of Last Meeting
Unfinished Business- Pending action on new fence for memorial garden
New Business
1) Review of current park problems
2) Discussion of "secret shopper" report form
Open to Floor
Schedule of Next Meeting

The meeting was convened at 7:30 pm by George Rumsey, Chairman. Present: Mary Margaret Bell, Denis Bowen, Lauranita Dugas, Crystal Fencke, Roxanne Friedman, Winston Kennedy, Sophia Dorsey King, Julie Marie Lemon, Stephen Molasky, Marc Monaghan, Robert Naftzger, Gary Ossewaarde, Toni Preckwinkle, George W. Rumsey, Jesse Sinaiko, Lynn Small, Jean Maclean Snyder, Vicki Suchovsky, and Yvonne Taylor.

George Rumsey and Alderman Preckwinkle welcomed all. The chairman acknowledged those who could not attend and asked that when members cannot attend a future meeting they send a message.
Minutes of the previous meeting were accepted with correction of Lynn Small’s name.

Unfinished business
Lynn small showed a simulation of the proposed low fence at the Lester J. Dugas Memorial Garden. Expected cost will be $4,000, to be raised by the Memorial group. Consensus was that the fence be approved. Suggested: Work with the Hyde Park Garden Fair committee for plants for next year.
No other unfinished business was addressed.

New business included various discussion points.
A Summary List of park problems was distributed. This is intended, Rumsey said, to start a paper record of matters the committee should ask the Chicago Park District to address. Many shared pictures. Most of the problems were acknowledged as long-standing, and several allegedly create health problems. The major categories are: Water drainage, Blowing dust, Trash accumulations, Repairs, and Landscape. Drainage and dust were considered among the most serious, each attributable to several factors. Yvonne Taylor for Legends Baseball offered to determine and get correct water fittings and hoses for the infields, with help from Ald. Preckwinkle. Decision was to see if consistent watering of the infields makes a difference.

Trash pickup was in general felt to be better since acquisition of the blue carts with wheels and lids, but some noted that field pickup is not timely after some games and that there is a problem getting the carts to the perimeter where the trash vendor will empty them. Taylor offered to take the lead in getting one or more youths to bring the carts to the edges.

The most serious needed repairs were said to be to the washrooms (there are also problems with their availability) and to drinking fountains and other plumbing including buried breaks. At times much of the northeast part of the park and the playground have standing water for long periods. A hose and connectors for Common Threads garden are also needed.

Julie Lemon reported that there have been no itemized capital and repair items for this park in Chicago Park District capital budgets since the playground (at least four years ago.) Rumsey asked members to submit any other repairs and matters needing to be brought to Park District attention. Noted was that persistent committees having aldermanic support are more likely to have needs addressed.
Information-gathering on park usage and condition was the other item of new business.

Rumsey distributed a draft observation report form that would be available in pdf for printing and be distributed to park users and the community. Several offered additional queries and other improvements to the form. Suggestions were offered on how to involve as many interested parties as possible, including school children and other youth. Getting a good list of users from the park supervisor was suggested. Rumsey reiterated that the survey is not “scientific” and thought the committee is sophisticated enough to take distortions into account.

Open to the floor:
Steven Molasky said he has seen baseballs being hit out of the infield. Queries were made about use of netting and other safety equipment recommended by leagues. Replies were that this will take time and money.

Yvonne Taylor distributed this year’s Legends baseball schedule. This was also requested to be sent to the whole membership by email.

The next meeting was provisionally set for Wednesday, July 30, 7 pm in the Hyde Park Bank Building 4th floor conference room.
There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde


3rd meeting of the Usage Committee July 30, 2008

Major progress was reported on parks upkeep and improvements, such as to drainage, and clay may be replaced with proper soil and grass.

Kenwood Usage Committee, Meeting 3, July 30, 2008

The third meeting was convened by George Rumsey Wednesday, July 30, 2008. 7:05 pm. in the Hyde Park Bank 4th floor conference room. The agenda was approved without additions.

Welcome and introductions. Alderman Preckwinkle had been called out of town; Pam Cummings attended in her stead. Harold Bailey, Area Manager, represented the Chicago Park District.
The minutes of the June 26 meeting were approved as presented.

Unfinished Business:
Memorial garden fence: No action needed; the association would start fundraising.

State of current park problems.
• Drains have been installed and cleared and hydrants and buffalo connectors (4) activated. They appeared to be working. Walks have been leveled and leaks fixed at water fountains.
• Washing/blowing dust and sand. 50th St. problems remain. Problems include the grading, too low a profile, and that clay dries very fast. Members asked for replacement of clay with better and for grass on the fields (the Alderman is looking at costs). Arrangements are being sought for youth to have hoses and water the clay fields.
• Trash is being picked up well, but problems remain with bringing cans to 49th St. and back into the interior. Volunteers appeared the best solution for the present.
• Washrooms remained a highly serious priority. The key elements needing repair should be specified at the next budget hearing.
• Landscaping will be addressed in the fall. Mr. Bailey agreed to a walk through with council leaders for selection and placement.
Park use report forms. Some have been returned. The form is on the conference website. Noted: there were few Babe Ruth games this year. The fall games— August 15-October 5 — will have young kids. Also, no final schedule for fall has yet appeared—a park schedule is essential. Yvonne will facilitate.

New business:
Schools. Since schools were not sending representatives, a meeting was held July 21 including Canter, Kenwood, and Shoesmith representatives. Schools were asked to submit schedules. Kenwood was concerned about space and time spots and need space for day equipment storage—Bailey offered to facilitate on the latter. Bailey said his and the park supervisor’s biggest problems is lack of communication—teams and others showing up unscheduled and without permit. Schools and sports now understand that cannot continue. Another problem discussed July 21 is that at least 6 alternative places to play baseball have been identified but none for soccer. Julie Lemon asked that the schedule go through the park district. Rumsey asked all be mindful of what would make the park work best for all.

Council elections will be held September 24. The council was thanked for postponing its elections.

Announcements and final comments:
Lemon praised the park programs and said they should be better known and acknowledged. Supervisor Tony McCormick was highly praised for his work and recruitment. Bailey noted that staff is thin, making it difficult to maintain security. Jean Snyder said the park district does not give enough concrete information about what it is doing and asked a record of past programs and numbers of participants. Bailey thought too many adjustments have to be made to suit needs of private users. Snyder said the park district needs to control the calendar. It was said the council should help.

The next meeting of the Usage Committee will be September 10, 7 pm, same place. Adjournment.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde


Here is the Herald report, August 6, focusing on scheduling issues. By Crystal Fencke.

Usage Committee develops calendar system

At the third meeting of the Kenwood Park Usage Committee on Wednesday, July 30, Chairman George Rumsey reported plans to help alleviate some of the struggles the many groups that use the parks have experienced in recent months. A new date for park advisory elections -- in September [24]-- was also announced.

The usage committee is a group Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) formed at the end of April 2008 in an effort to manage some of the controversy at Kenwood Park, located at 1330 E. 50th.

The need for such a group was spurred by the outrage of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council and some others at the widening of a baseball diamond by the Chicago Park District last fall for older boys of the Legends Baseball group. The diamond is located at the northwest corner of 50th Street and Dorchester Avenue [sic actually the diamond west and opposite of that at the corner] in the park. The work on the diamond happened without knowledge of Kenwood Park Advisory Council, or Preckwinkle, the alderman has said. The soccer field that already existed, and was used by Kenwood Academy, is now very close to that diamond and may be unusable.

Rumsey said he is planning to implement a secure online calendar so that none of the sports group who use the park wil experience overlap. In his and others' observations of park activities, he hasn't seen it occur yet, but said, "I haven't -- but I don't want to."

According to Rumsey, there could be challenges among the various groups as the school year brings "fall ball," baseball games of Legends Baseball and soccer activity of Kenwood Academy soccer.

Rumsey said that in research he and the alderman's office have identified eight to 10 places to play baseball, but they haven't found any for soccer. He reported that some of the baseball teams have gone to other area parks to play games. However, a Kenwood Academy athletic director reported to him in a closed meeting that they can't go to other parks, as they carry their equipment to and from their practices, making the situation too cumbersome.

Rumsey said that he sees the calendar being taken over by Kenwood Park Advisory Council at a time after that group's officer elections in September.



Fourth meeting, September 10, 2008

Kenwood Park Usage Committee, meeting 4, September 10, 2008- draft

George Rumsey convened the meeting at 7:10 pm at Church of St. Paul and the Redeemer, Billsley Room. Present and introduced: Harold Bailey of Chicago Park District, Mary Margaret Bell, Denis Bower, Pam Cummings of Ald. Preckwinkle’s Office, Susan Davis, Lauranita Dugas, Crystal Fencke, Ben Jacobson, Heinrich Jaeger, Julie Lemon, Steve Molasky, Marc Monahan, Gary Ossewaarde, George Rumsey, Lynn Small, Evonne Taylor.
The agenda was accepted as presented.
Minutes of meeting three, presented as a reference, were reviewed. Julie Lemon preferred that programs in the park announced at the last meeting be spelled out.

Unfinished business:
The committee confirmed to those from Kenwood Improvement Association that it supports the proposed fence around the southeast memorial garden. Connecting with the Garden Fair for plantings was suggested.

Rumsey and others noted extensive graffiti in the park from the height of gang recruiting has been removed except from trash carts.

State of current park problems:
Drains and buffalo boxes. Members were unsure all are functioning or go anything useful. Work seems unfinished. Hose attachments and the water buffalo box key are missing. (Bailey said three work orders were turned in for unfinished or messy work.) Water has now been turned off for the season. Members said there needs to be a connection so the memorial garden can be watered. Candidates to water the garden and the fields were discussed. Common Threads was commended for its work with the garden when it was in charge. Evonne Taylor said Legends does not have employees but would be willing to make financial contribution. Question, would it be a conflict of interest to pay park kids or school kids to water down the baseball fields? Pam Cummings said she would talk with Harold Bailey on solutions and that the Alderman is committed to converting clay to grass. Bailey said he would follow through on drain problems. Kenwood Improvement Association reps offered to help with the watering situation, pending for nearly a year. Maya landscaping was suggested.

There was general agreement that trash pickup has improved and the park is litter-free.

There has been no progress on washroom repair or upgrade, or for the field house—budget items.

Landscape work is slated for the fall. Julie Lemon asked that grass be replanted in the playgrounds. Cummings said missing pavement in the driveway will be filled in this autumn. Action was requested on getting a storage bin for Kenwood soccer classes.

Legends summer schedule per field was listed in the agenda for this meeting. Taylor said fall usage is much scaled back from summer.

The new Events Calendar is online and was introduced. Several members of the committee will have permission to post. Information on programs would be mutually shared between the park calendar keepers and the park supervisor weekly. It was suggested the latter have a binder with the printed out calendar. Final decision on schedules would be with the park district in consultation with the council. The Calendar will be turned over to the reconstituted council . All were reminded that private events with more than 30 need a permit. For any schedule to work well will require good working relations, it was said. The park’s current programs include after school, free games, Pumpkin Patch on October 25, and seasonal spots. Also scheduled was a South Kenwood Picnic for September 14, 2-5 pm, organized by Kenwood Improvement Association.

Rumsey said that ways to get a full and satisfactory field for soccer in Kenwood Park are under study. Clarification was asked about what has recently been scheduled and is available in both this park and the fields at 47th and Cornell, both managed by Tony McCoy (The real crunch was said to be in spring.)

Kenwood PAC elections. Rumsey said the goal is to reestablish a strong, working advisory council with no one interest in control. A group of recruited volunteers will assemble to suggest a consensus slate for September 24 elections. Rumsey said support from the committee for this process is essential to reestablishing the council and avoiding a fruitless competition for control that would undermine council and community credibility.

The next committee meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, October 7, 7 pm, at St. Paul and the Redeemer. Rumsey proposed that the October 7 meeting be devoted to final recommendations.

The meeting was adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde

Herald coverage September 17, 2007. Sparks fly over Kenwood Park, Preckwinkle-created committee wil slate candidates [a different committee]. By Crystal Fencke

The Kenwood Park Usage Committee meeting last Wednesday was calmly moving forward with administrative business when, as if a switch ad been flipped, the rancor of the past six months returned. This occurred near the end of the scheduled gathering of park stakeholders, when leader George Rumsey brought up the imminent park elections. He said, "The only thing that can put us off base is the advisory council election." Rumsey was right on target.

Steve Molasky, a neighbor who said he has been active in raising funds for park projects, said "Nothing will change." Molasky is afraid that the new Kenwood Park Advisory Council (KPAC) will be made up of local government appointments, and as such, wil not serve the best interests of the Kenwood Park community.

Julie Marie Lemon of the current PKAC leadership said that she is not sure how a new council could keep peace. And in response, Harold Bailey, a manager with the Chicago Park District, said "Good luck." He said he has commonly seen fractures within park advisory councils across the city. The KPAC election is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Sept. 24 at St. Paul & the Redeemer Church, 4959 S. Dorchester Ave. It was changed from an earlier date in July to the time in September.

And it will only take place after a different meeting Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) has decided must happen. The purpose of this preliminary session is for a steering committee to choose a "consensus slate of officers" for the KPAC", said Rumsey..... The steering committee will be comprised of 13 members -- an uneven number so there will not be a tie, said Rumsey. It wil include a representative number of stakeholders who should be able to come up with a slate of four KPAC nominees: a president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. The 13 will include members of the previous KPAC, which Preckwinkle disbanded recently after the controversy surrounding the surprise enlargement of a baseball diamond in the park. Other stakeholders tapped include the south Side Fire Soccer Club and Legends Baseball. Friends of the Parks and some neighbors who use the park will also be among that group.

The aim is for them to create a slate of officers who can work together with the best interests of all parties who use the park in mind. Rumsey said there are two ways the nominating process could go. The new KPAC would include members of the soccer club and baseball because "they have the most to lose," said Rumsey. Those two group have been in contention over the past months because of the increased baseball diamond. The soccer field has lost space because of that increase. In contrast, the new slate could be made up of disinterested members, or no one from the soccer club, baseball, or the former KPAC. That would lessen the chance of fighting among the group, he said.



Kenwood Park Usage Committee Meeting #5 October 7, 2008 Rev

The meeting was convened at 7 pm by George Rumsey at St. Paul and the Redeemer, Byllesby Room, 4945 S. Dorchester. Unofficial minutes of the previous meeting and an aerial view were distributed.

Present: Mary Margaret Bell, Pam Cummings, Crystal Fencke, Leslie Gatton, Ben Jacobson, Julie Marie Lemon, Sophia King, Marc Monaghan, Gary Ossewaarde, George Rumsey, Evonne Taylor.

Unfinished Business:
Members expressed concern about lack of progress on permanent regimen for watering the fields and memorial garden and completion of water and drainage projects (whose incomplete state mars the park). The Park District has not yet followed through on commitments, and who is to be responsible for and what people are actually to get, move hoses and do the watering is undetermined. Assignments were made regarding discussions and estimates with a landscaper.

Trees are expected to be installed this fall; council leaders will be shown the planting template. Some existing trees are dying.

The commitment through Ald. Preckwinkle to sod the infields is firm.

Two trash problems were reported: insufficient and disappearing trash carts and an un policed littering by Shoesmith School pupils.

It was noted that officers were elected September 24 for the park council, which meets October 22, 7 pm at this location. There si thus in place the proper body to which recommendations for the park should be given.

New Business: Baseball fields
Included with the Agenda were a set of Points prepared by George Rumsey concerning possible recommendations to the Park Council, Chicago Park District, and the Alderman. Initial exploration was held and these or other possibilities were to be considered by members between now and the next meeting. The suggested discussion points are:

1. The park too small for size and/or number of fields.
Solutions: (1) Restore the enlarged field to previous size; (2) Eliminate field(s).
2. The enlarged field is more of a danger to children who play in the park.
Solutions (1) Portable outdoor fencing; (2) Safety netting in areas where children play.
3. Having four fields precludes other uses of the spaces and creates inordinate dust/dirt/mud.
Solutions: (1) Replace the clay infields with grass, using clay on base lines and home plate; (2) Water areas regularly to reduce dust; (3) Do a better job of setting schedules early and publicizing to other groups.
4. (Added at the meeting) Fitting soccer back in.

There was general agreement that setting, sharing, adhering to schedules is critical. They must be clear for all programs. Members said that once all schedules are seen, there should be evaluation of whether and at what times there should be more, fewer, or the same number of programs at the same time. We also need to ask the Alderman’s office about a list for all available fields in the area. Taylor showed that all four fields in Kenwood Park are needed for Legends programs and that many games and practice for 9 and 10 year olds are held M, W F at Nichols Park.

The meeting was adjourned. Next meeting November 11, Tuesday, same time and place.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary M. Ossewaarde

Final Recommendation, sixth and final meeting

Presented at the 6th meeting, November 11, 2008 and discussed and signed on by attendees. Prepared by George Rumsey and pre-approved by Legends baseball, Fire soccer, advisory council president and former president, park district and Ald. Preckwinkle. During discussion it was agreed to include in a cover letter to be drafted by Rumsey that Legends would keep its right to its full past schedule and that all parties will rapidly communicate to each other utilization need changes as they emerge. A cover letter by George Rumsey was included.


  1. The enlarged baseball field will be restored to its original size.
  2. The center soccer field will be restored to its original size and configuration.
  3. Baseball fields will have grass planted in the infields to reduce blowing dirt. Watering needs to be provided to establish the sod.
  4. No new leagues will play in the park without the agreement of and coordination with the Legends, Fire, and Advisory Council (this does not limit the use off the park by teams from area schools).
  5. The memorial garden committee will seek funding to expand the fencing around the entrance to the park. Solutions for watering will be explored.
  6. The Advisory Council wil monitor and report to the Park District ongoing concerns with trash pickup, plumbing and drainage problems, landscaping and tree planting, an infrastructure issues (such as the deteriorating field house bathrooms and the playground).
  7. The Kenwood Park Advisory Council should continue the work of the Park Usage Committee, holding quarterly meetings to discuss ways for improving the park (such as ADA and Title IX), and streamlining its many uses.

Points raised in discussion at the November 11 meeting:

What is the best way to secure implementation? Both the Council and Alderman must ask and press for improvements.

Sodding and maintaining the sod of infields will be difficult, and prevention of lipping difficult, though this should be sought to address the dirt problem.

How clear is the aldermanic commitment to the grass infill given the economic conditions and changes in aldermanic menu funds. Firm.

Scheduling and communication are essential. Leagues should be open to doing this, the council should insist on it, and the park district has ultimate say. Communication and coordination has to include re reducing the expanded field (Point 1) and other work in the park and fields.

The teams need recognized stability so they can tell parents with confidence that and when there will be games. Demand by Legends that Point 4 be interpreted in writing to mean that the Legends will continue to have right to use its full traditional schedule will be met in the cover letter. Schedules are understood to be teams to determine--and communicate including when the fields will not be needed. It is also to be understood that there will not be exclusive or privileged unshared access to park district authorities and staff. Also, these schedules do not preclude other activities and games outside the scheduled times.

The point is to make the park better and programming work together well.

All were thanked for their work.

Gary Ossewaarde

Cover letter with final recommendations:

To: Alderman Toni Preckwinkle, 4th Ward
Art Richardson, Chicago Park District
Kenwood Park Advisory Council

From: George Rumsey

RE: Recommendations for Kenwood Park Usage

In an effort to find a consensus among the various teams, schools, and neighborhood residents who use Kenwood Community Park, Alderman Toni Preckwinkle proposed the formation of a “Parks Usage Committee” to identify areas of primary concern and provide recommendations as to how they might be addressed. At the Alderman's request, I convened the first meeting on June 4, 2008. At the meeting, participants identified a wide variety of concerns:

· Expansion of one baseball field to permit older participants to play, and the impact of that on other sports and on safety of park users.
· Resulting damage to the central soccer field.
· Lack of knowledge involving teams’ schedules (as well as schools’).
· Impact of dust and mud on the neighborhood.
· Overlap of organized sports with play and day camps.
· Adequacy of facilities.
· Other park problems, such as watering, plumbing, and trash removal.

The first meeting was followed by five additional meetings, ending on November 11, 2008.

These meetings were well attended by representatives of the multiple park constituencies. The Usage Committee solicited input via email, phone, secret observers, and a questionnaire. After evaluating all issues, I presented a series of recommendations to a meeting attended by 14 constituent representatives—all of whom endorsed the seven recommendations.

Thus, the attached recommendations are the product of a long-term, open process that analyzed the issues and solicited input from all who cared to share their views. I believe it represents a fair resolution to most concerns, and achieves a consensus many thought not possible.

One significant result of these meetings is the clear need for improved communications regarding scheduling. During the past year, the Legends baseball league and South Side Fire youth soccer league have worked together to coordinate their activities in the park. Such collegiality is to be commended. None of the attached recommendations should limit the ability of the Legends or the Fire to decide their own schedules, and they should continue to work closely with one another and with the Advisory Council to minimize conflicts in park use.

I would particularly like to thank the former and current members of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council, representatives of the Legends of Hyde Park baseball league, the South Side Fire youth soccer league, Art Richardson of the Chicago Park District, and Pam Cummings of the Alderman’s office.

I hope that the Advisory Council will proceed to implement these recommendations with all deliberate speed, with the full support and help of the Alderman’s office and the Chicago Park District.

Kenwood Park Usage Committee

November 11, 2008
Final Recommendations

1. The enlarged baseball field will be restored to its original size.

2. The center soccer field will be restored to its original size and configuration.

3. Baseball fields will have grass planted in the infields to reduce blowing dirt. Watering needs to be provided to establish the sod.

4. No new leagues will play in the park without the agreement of and coordination with the Legends, Fire, and Advisory Council (this does not limit the use of the park by teams from area schools).

5. The memorial garden committee will seek funding to expand the fencing around the entrance to the park. Solutions for watering will be explored.

6. The Advisory Council will monitor and report to the Park District ongoing concerns with trash pickup, plumbing and drainage problems, landscaping and tree replacement, and infrastructure issues (such as the deteriorating field house bathrooms and the playground).

7. The Kenwood Park Advisory Council should continue the work of the Park Usage Committee, holding quarterly meetings to discuss ways for improving the park (such as ADA and Title IX), and streamlining its many uses.

George W. Rumsey, Chair

Signed by:

1. Kiki Wilson
2. Robert Naftzger
3. Julie Marie Lemon
4. Heinrich Jaeger
5. Jean Maclean Snyder
6. Mary Margaret Bell
7. Jesse Sinaiko
8. Benjamin A. Jacobson
9. Leslie Pilot-Gatton
10. Gary M. Ossewaarde
11. Pam Cummings
12. Evonne Taylor
13. Daniel Friedman
14. Roxanne Friedman


Herald, November 19, 2008. Kenwood diamond reversed. By Crystal Fencke

For stakeholders of Kenwood Park, 1330 E. 50th St., about six months of discussions regarding park usage have brought some concrete results. It was agreed last week that a baseball field that was increased in the autumn of 2007, to the consternation of many, will be restored to its original size, said George Rumsey.

Rumsey led the Usage Committee Ald. Toni Preckwinkle (4th) formed last spring to settle a number of issues of the many groups that use this square block recreational area. It appears that most of the interested parties are happy with this compromise by Hyde Park Legends Baseball, said Rumsey, who led meeting of the committee since last June.

The center soccer field will also be restored to its original size and configuration, pleasing Ben Jacobson of the South Side Fire FC, who represents the soccer league. He said he believes the Chicago Park District's process to restore it could take up to a few months, "but it's worth it."

Danny Friedman, a coordinator of South Side Legends Baseball, said, "I'm okay with Hyde Park Legends being flexible. We want to be good neighbors, and we consider ourselves good neighbors." At first Friedman was reluctant to sign the list of recommendations Rumsey set forward, because, he said, "It didn't state clearly that Legends could keep the same schedule." He said it is important for the coordination process. "We have to plan months and months in advance to develop the next season," said Friedman. Rumsey ultimately reassured him that the schedule would not be interrupted.

In addition, Legends has to coordinate play elsewhere for 13-15 year olds, and the alderman has agreed to help. So far, it isn't known when the process will begin or exactly how long it will take.

One point everyone agrees upon is the valuable time George Rumsey, president of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, but into his role as leader of the Usage Committee and the process of aiding all the groups who use the the park. Preckwinkle said she supports the work of the usage committee. "I'm very grateful to George Rumsey for chairing it over three months," she said. Jacobson agreed, saying "George Rumsey really put a lot of time into it."


Kenwood Park Usage Committee- Repairs following items have been requested from the Park District over a period of time. In order to support the activities of the park, these repairs are important.

[This paper is a draft and additions are likely as per discussion at the June 26 meeting.]

Water drainage problems continue to be an issue for all involved.

There are drainage problems in several areas of the park. These are general concerns and involve the whole park and have been problems for years . Areas need to be fixed because they cause major problems with excess standing water, followed by mud, and in the winter ice.

Blowing dust from ball fields from all four ball diamonds.

Dust control needs to be addressed. This blowing dust off of ball diamonds affects all who use the park, including students at Shoesmith and the children in the Chicago Park District After School and Summer Camp Programs. This is not just a summer problem, but persists during every month that the clay is not frozen.

Trash accumulations

Because Kenwood Park is a heavily used park, trash has steadily increased




Hyde Park Kenwood Legends 2008 baseball schedule

Submitted by Yvonne Taylor

Division Ages Numbers Season Days Time Park Field
Babe Ruth 13-15 48 May 15-July 22 Sat & Sun 1:00-7:00 Shoesmith Field 2 NW Corner
Majors 11-12 67 April 15-July 12 MWF 5:00-7:30 Shoesmith Field 2 NW Corner, Field 3 NE
Minors 9-10 80 April 15-July 12 MWF 5:00-7:30 Shoesmith/
Field 1 SW Corner
Rookie 7-8 76 April 15-July 12 T & Th 5:00-7:30 Shoesmith Field 2 NW Corner, Field 3 NE
T-Ball 5-6 63 April 15-July 12 T & Th 5:00-7:30 Shoesmith/
Field 4 SE Corner,
Field 3 NE
Jr. T-Ball 4 13 April 15-July 12 T & Th 5:00-7:30 Shoesmith Grassy area by Field 4
Fall Ball 8-12 84 Sept. 5-Oct. 17 Fri 5:00-7:00 Shoesmith Fields 1, 2 and 3
Total number   431