Chicago Park District submits plans to city for new track and field in Jackson Park

Staff Writer

The Chicago Park District on Wednesday, Jan. 10, submitted an application for a new track and field to the Chicago Plan Commission for consideration under the Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection Ordinance.

The announcement from the Park District on Wednesday follows the Obama Foundation’s announcement of its submission to the city for its plans for the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park.

Specifically, the plan details an artificial multi-use field surrounded by a new running track.

Park District officials in a statement on Wednesday said the proposed site is located north of 63rd Street and East of Stony Island Avenue. A senior baseball and junior baseball field currently occupies the proposed site.

The Lake Michigan and Chicago Lakefront Protection ordinance requires a review and public hearings on projects within the proximity of the city’s Lake Michigan shoreline, which is coordinated by the Chicago Plan Commission. The new track and field falls within the scope of the law because of the area in which it will be constructed.

The new track and field will house many activities including soccer, football, and lacrosse. The new track will be an eight-lane, 400-meter, rubber surface track including a long jump pit and high jump area.

The changes to the track and field along with alternate locations for the baseball diamonds were proposed in the South Lakefront Framework Plan last month. Planning for the updated Framework Plan is in progress “and are necessary to replace the current track and field that will be relocated as part of the establishment of the Obama Presidential Center within another area of Jackson Park,” said the Park District in a written statement.

The new South Lakefront Framework Plan, which will be implemented over the next 10 years, is an updated version of the 1999 framework plan that includes Jackson Park, Washington Park, and the South Shore Cultural Center.

The purpose of this project is to create a long-term plan for improvements for the parks over time. It also functions as a planning tool for the community and the Park District.