A screen capture of the November 4, 2021, Community Challenge presentation shows McKinley Park Community Garden lead Nicholas Efronsis explaining the new proposed gardens and features for park space at West 38th Street and South Damen Avenue, Chicago.

McKinley Park Neighborhood Coalition Pitches Garden Expansion, Rink Improvements

Published November 8, 2021

A coalition of community groups from Chicago’s McKinley Park neighborhood pitched a multi-faceted series of improvements for McKinley Park as finalists in the Chicago Works Community Challenge grant program, which offers up to $1.5 million to fund an improvement project on the Southwest Side.

 
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The McKinley Park neighborhood groups coming together for the project include the McKinley Park Development Council, the McKinley Park Community Garden, the McKinley Community Play Garden and McKinley Park Mutual Aid.

 
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They propose a large expansion of gardens and features alongside the current community garden within park space at West 38th Street and South Damen Avenue, and setting up the McKinley Park ice rink to also support roller skating.

The video of the Southwest Side applicants for the Chicago Works Community Challenge includes the presentation from the McKinley Park coalition.

“We want to show that we have a larger vision for how all these things work together,” McKinley Park Development Council Board Member Kate Eakin said at the November 4, 2021, online pitch for Southwest Side proposals.

 
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“If we’re not going to get everything funded in one shot, that’s OK,” she said.

The McKinley Park neighborhood coalition is competing against two other Southwest Side projects also highlighted in the online presentation: a playground and outdoor learning space for Claremont Academy at 2300 W. 64th St., Chicago, or renovation of the baseball diamonds and turf fields at Archer Park, 4901 S. Kilbourne Ave., Chicago.

 
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McKinley Park Development Council board member Kate Eakin explains the placement of proposed improvements for McKinley Park at the November 4, 2021, pitch for the Chicago Works Community Challenge.McKinley Park Development Council board member Kate Eakin explains the placement of proposed improvements for McKinley Park at the November 4, 2021, pitch for the Chicago Works Community Challenge.In an outreach message, the McKinley Park Development Council noted how the City of Chicago requests community feedback on these Southwest Side proposals through an online survey: Click this link to view the survey and submit your response.

“The information gathered really helps inform city officials,” the council stated in its release. “We are asking that you please take five minutes and fill out the survey.”

 
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Local supporters for the McKinley Park coalition’s proposal include the Aquinas Literacy Center, 12th Ward Alderman George Cardenas, U.S. Representative Jesús “Chuy” Garcia, the McKinley Park Advisory Council, The Nature Conservancy and Illinois 2nd District State Representative Theresa Mah.


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