August 2, 2008

"If You Build It They Will Come"

Yes it’s real! Our new Community Center opened yesterday and today was an open house for everyone.

Now Open to the Public

Meet Sharon O’Connell – the park supervisor for our three neighborhood parks. At last, Sharon has an office and a chair. She will be guiding our children and us in creating a real community North of Howard. This facility will now be the center of our neighborhood to gather and play and work on many common goals.

Sharon O'Connell-Park Supervisor

At the desk and on the court, these gentlemen will also supervise the activities at the public facility.

Park Staff Park Staff

This young man, Robert, has been waiting for this day for years! He will no longer have to ask me when the building will open and he is extremely happy. In fact, everyone of all ages is smiling today. I’ve had phone calls and emails relaying just one message - what a wonderful building this is for the community.

Robert A Very Happy Robert

This neighbor suggested last year during our data gathering that the facility offer weight room and basketball floor time to neighbors in wheelchairs. He’s in discussions already with Sharon and on such a program.

Hit That Mark Basketball For Everyone

Neighbor and blogger, Craig was there early working up a sweat in both the weight room and the basketball court. Tom Mannis stopped by to check out the new public building later in the morning. He and some neighbors were discussing program options too.

Craig Craig

Other neighbors stopped in to view the new facility, meet old neighbors and friends in our new common area – a community center for everyone.

Gale Community Supporters

Karen Hoover and Grady Humphrey were all smiles too!

Karen Hoover and Grady Humphry

And my dear friend Maryon and I were pretty darn happy too!
Maryon and Toni

Two other Parks Advisory Councils members, Nora Wilburne of Triangle Park Council and Sister Cecilia of Harold Washington Playlot joined me this morning to register new neighbors to join the council(s) North of Howard. Many people signed up and many more will follow.

“If you build it – they will come.”


mcl said...

A Community Center for ALL! This is sooooo long overdue for our neighborhood. Congratulations to Toni, Sister C., Eva, Maryon and all the others who have worked long and hard, devoting many hours (years) to get to this happy day. And a big WELCOME to the Park Staff! Now, let's make sure 'it' is always and forever a PUBLIC Park.

Craig Gernhardt said...

The fitness room is awesome - and I hope it stays that way. Two killer treadmills (And I mean killer... Try 15 minutes on the incline mode), top notch resistance work-out equipment and free weights galore. Loved the rowing machine apparatus.

Downside. When the blinds are opened you see the open air drug market on Howard.

Fargo Woman said...

Hip Hip Horray! What wonderful coverage of the open house, Toni. Kudos to you for those photos and words of inspiration. I couldn't be there in person but you can bet I was there in spirit and I can't wait to get over there myself to check out that weight room and the lovely new gym. Hip Hip Horray! GOOD FOR THE ADVISORY COUNCIL! GOOD FOR THE COMMUNITY LEADERS AND NFP ORGANIZATIONS WHO ALL HAD A HAND IN MAKING THIS DREAM A REALITY! GOOD FOR ROGERS PARK! GOOD FOR ALL OF US!!!


tom who has lived here too long said...

Congrats Toni, Sr. Cecilia, Eva and the rest of you for your persistent efforts to keep our new community center from being hijacked.

Hopefully we can all use this new center and can show what great things the Chicago Park District can accomplish working together with the community.

The North Coast said...

Wish I could have been there...what a great day!

Thanks for the nice photo spread of many beloved neighbors. I haven't seen Grady Humphrey in many a moon, and it's nice to see him there looking so well.

Fargo said...

Thanks to Toni for this excellent write-up! Thanks to the advisory committee for all their hard work to make it possible. Wish I could have been there to share the day with you.