“City Council has approved a funding package including $10 million in TIF for the renovation plan of Clarendon Park Community Center at 4501 N Clarendon Avenue in Uptown. Located in Clarendon Park, the community center is located at the intersection of N. Clarendon Avenue and W. Sunnyside Avenue. The Chicago Park District is leading the project.
“Originally built in 1916 as a beach bathhouse, the last time the center was renovated was in the 1970s. With a design by Booth Hansen, the renovation will accommodate the full range of users and make the entire building fully accessible. It will also upgrade finishes, lighting, mechanicals and address water infiltration issues.
“The building’s lobby and southern vestibule will be completely reworked, opening the building up to make it more transparent, allowing more light into the lobby. Sightlines will be further reworked throughout the building, introducing new windows and apertured to allow light into the building. The gymnasium and fitness room will also be renovated entirely with new diminishes and equipment.” (Kugler, Urbanize Chicago, 2/28/22)
Preservation Chicago is thrilled to see this important building’s exterior restored to an appearance more similar to its original design in a multi-year, multi-phased project. The distinctive tall towers fronting Clarendon Avenue and the smaller towers fronting the beach, along with the entry colonnade and the verandas and open-air rooftop loggias were beautiful and distinctive architecture elements that should never have been removed. We hope to see the reconstruction of some of these missing features during a second phase of restoration which could elevate the Clarendon Park Community Center to its rightful place alongside the 63rd Street Bathing Pavilion and other important lakefront buildings from this period.
Preservation Chicago applauds Ald. James Cappleman for his commitment to seeing the Clarendon Park Community Center protected from demolition and for helping to solidify the necessary renovation funds. Preservation Chicago applauds the Chicago Park District for its flexibility, support and commitment to this important project. The Clarendon Park neighbors and community stakeholders played an essential role in this effort and deserve special recognition for their unwavering support for this wonderful outcome with a special thanks to Katharine Boyda, Melanie Eckner, Martin Tangora, Cindi Anderson, Stuart Berman, the Uptown Historical Society, the Clarendon Park Advisory Council, Uptown United and Uptown Chicago Commission.
Preservation Chicago is committed to strengthening the vibrancy of Chicago’s economy and quality of life by championing our historic built environment. Preservation Chicago protects and revitalizes Chicago’s irreplaceable architecture, neighborhoods and urban green spaces. We influence stakeholders toward creative reuse and preservation through advocacy, outreach, education, and partnership.