“A $13 million renovation of the historic Clarendon Park Community Center in Uptown is moving forward after the City Council voted to fund the project with $7 million in tax incremental financing funds.
“The community center, 4501 N. Clarendon Ave., will see a massive overhaul that will refurbish the 1916 structure and improve community amenities. The gym will be renovated, the lobby rebuilt and there will be a new outdoor gathering space.
“Renovations at the park field house are badly needed, and the structure’s deteriorating condition led it to be included in a 2015 list of the city’s ‘most threatened’ historic buildings. The renovations are now moving forward — thanks to the help of a controversial tax increment financing, or TIF, district.
“The City Council on Wednesday approved the use of $6.9 million from the Montrose/Clarendon TIF for the project.
“After assessing the building’s needs in 2016, the park district held a community meeting in 2018 to discuss publicly plans to refurbish the structure or build a new community center. Uptown neighbors overwhelming supported renovating the existing building. In 2019, the city and neighbors settled on a limited remodel of the community center.
“‘I took many political hits to make this happen, but the kids in the Uptown neighborhood deserve this, especially when the nearby field houses in higher wealth neighborhoods were miles better,’ Ald. James Cappleman (46th), who supported the apartment development, wrote on Facebook. ‘This win feels good.’
“When it debuted to the public in 1916, Clarendon Park fronted the lake, and the field house served thousands of swimmers and beachgoers. In the late 1930s, the park district expanded Lincoln Park to Foster, eliminating Clarendon’s lake frontage. The city then converted the facility into a community center. In 1972, a major renovation project led to the building’s signature towers being removed, which eventually led to water infiltration and roof issues.” (Ward, 5/21/20)
$13 Million Renovation Of Clarendon Park Community Center Moving Forward: ‘This Win Feels Good’, The 104-year-old field house will see a new public gathering space, a renovated gym and new wheelchair accessibility, Joe Ward, Block Club Chicago, 5/21/20