City announces 10 more neighborhood plazas to feature art space, walking trails — even an ice-skating rink

Mayor Lori Lightfoot Thursday announced plans to build 10 new outdoor plazas in neighborhoods across Chicago the city hopes will inspire community engagement and local pride.

The plazas, which could feature walking trails and spaces for artists and vendors, are part of the Public Outdoor Plazas program funded by the $1.2 billion Chicago Recovery Plan and are expected to be completed by spring.

Locations and amenities were selected by local groups, including a proposed ice-skating rink for a plaza in Austin that will be located on the former campus of Robert Emmet Elementary School.

The projects were picked out of 18 submissions and were selected based on “viability, local needs and project design” and “give residents a reason to spend time outside in their own neighbourhood, patronize local businesses and enjoy the unique offerings of our great city, ” Lightfoot said.

“These transformational projects will bring back what these sites have been missing for years: people and socioeconomic activity,” Lightfoot said.

The plazas will be spread across nine neighbourhoods, eight of which will be located in South and West side communities that are part of the INVEST South/West development initiative.

Locations publicly or privately-owned in moderate- to low-income areas were able to apply for the program and were eligible to receive up to $500,000 from the city for their projects.

The new plazas will be located:

  • in Austin at 5500 W. Madison St. and at 5850 W. Chicago Ave.;
  • in Englewood at 1201 W. 63rd St.;
  • in Washington Park at a location to be determined;
  • in Grand Boulevard at 221 E. 49th St.;
  • in Roseland at 11249 S. Halsted St.;
  • in North Lawndale at 1921 S. Drake Ave.;
  • in Humboldt Park at 3342 W. Chicago Ave.;
  • and in West Englewood at 1539 W. 63rd St.

A pilot plaza in the Austin neighborhood opened in June, and planned plazas in West Garfield Park and Chatham were previously announced in March.

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