Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Oh Happy Day! Funding Approved For First Phase of Clarendon Park Fieldhouse Improvements

Today is a good day for Uptown! The City Council has approved a plan to pay for the first phase of restoring the Clarendon Park Fieldhouse, which will correct the worst problems of its crumbling infrastructure.

According to the statement released by the city, Phase One will include
  • concrete and masonry restoration
  • new interior finishes
  • new plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems
  • ADA-access upgrades. 
Total cost for this phase of the renovations will be $13million. $6.9million will come from the Clarendon-Montrose TIF, $4.6million will come from Montrose Clarendon Partners LLC (developers of the 811 Uptown apartment complex), and $1.6million will be provided by the Chicago Park District.

On Monday, after the Finance Committee of the City Council approved the deal, Ald. Cappleman posted on Facebook:
"Had we waited until the year 2034 for sufficient TIF to accrue to do this rehab, the building would have fallen into more disrepair and would have required demolition. Instead, we had the developer contribute the entire TIF amount into a fund and now he will get paid back in 2034. This win feels good."
After the necessary renovations have been made to keep the fieldhouse standing, Phase Two will add features to enhance the building for those who use it.

According to Ald. Cappleman's 2019 summary:
"The second stage of this extensive renovation will complete the full project when additional funds are raised. The rehab will include draining work to prevent further flooding, a new gym, redesigned meeting rooms, and a new dance space for Kuumba Lynx."
We've been hearing about the necessity for an improved and safer fieldhouse since 2010, when then-Ald. Shiller created the Montrose-Clarendon TIF.  One of the stated reasons for the TIF was the renovation of the fieldhouse.

After a decade of votes, debates, community meetings, and open houses, it's good to see the financing finally in place. We'll let you know more about the restorations as we find out more.

The fieldhouse was built in 1916 and was known as Clarendon Municipal Bathing Beach. But time has not been kind to it, and by 2015, it was listed by Preservation Chicago as one of Chicago's most endangered buildings.

We are so happy to know that this once-magnificent building will be preserved!


  1. A lot of people said the TIF wasn't needed and even the Sun-Times ignored the Park District's assessment and thought the fieldhouse could wait for TIF to accrue until 2034 to do the rehab; one of those facts be damned scenarios. The day of the ribbon cutting for this rehabbed fieldhouse will be a day I will always treasure.

  2. Wow! In the 1950's there was the toughest gang in Uptown called " Clarendon A.C. " Their president was George Lucas; they hung out in the basement of this building and I remember I went there with "Mousey" a kid I knew from Senn High School; there was a group of gang members there and one of them looked at me and said " he looks like a pimp " Mousey came to my defence and said " no, he's OK." I thought I was going to get my ass kicked but I was also a friend of Lenny Lucas the younger brother of George, so I was allowed to leave intact! I grew up on Lakeside Street in the 1940's and loved the rough and tumble softball games they played at Clarendon park; so glad they are not tearing it down. I've never been back to that basement again!!!