Tunney Launches School Street Park Fundraising Drive

By Mike Fourcher | Friday, July 29, 2011

The three School St. lots currently owned by Openlands. (click to enlarge) Credit: Mike Fourcher.

The park land at 1232 W. School Street has been purchased by Openlands and is preserved from development, but it is not yet Chicago Park District property. This month Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) launched a web site to begin raising the $273,000 the city needs to purchase the land from Openlands, the Chicago-based open space group.

“The entire parcel is now owned by Openlands. They are holding it, but we owe them the money before we can get it to the Park District,” said 44th Ward Deputy Ald. Bennett Lawson.

Tunney’s team is just getting started with fundraising for the parkland, and has not planned a date for purchase or to begin development. In the meantime, the space has been weeded, a long-term maintenance contract will be purchased and a chain link fence will erected around the lot, “in the next week or two,” says Lawson.

“We’ve got a [fundraising] event in the works for a little bit later this summer. There’s a couple of block parties and events that we’re flyering to get the word out later this summer,” said Lawson.

Once the parkland is purchased, Lawson anticipates that it will cost another $650,000 to $700,000 to develop the park, which is about the same cost as Weisman Playlot Park’s redevelopment.

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