Mayor Richard M. Daley today celebrated the completion of the Fosco Park Community Center, 1312 S. Racine Ave., with an official ribbon cutting ceremony. He was joined by Alderman Madeline Haithcock (2nd Ward); Mary Ellen Caron, Chicago Department of Children and Youth Services; Terry Peterson, Chicago Housing Authority; Timothy J. Mitchell, Chicago Park District; Montel Gayles, Public Building Commission; and Deverra Beverly, President of the ABLA Local Advisory Council.
“By investing in these types of capital improvements-new parks, libraries, police stations and firehouses-we are creating community anchors that build community pride and improve the quality of life,” said Mayor Daley. “I truly believe, by working together, we can revitalize our neighborhoods and make them safer.”
Fosco Park is a 52,000 sq. ft. modern facility fully equipped with six multipurpose rooms; a warming kitchen; a fitness room with exercise equipment; a full size gym; and an indoor swimming pool. The playground also includes a state-of-the-art security system with 14 security cameras that monitor the park so that families and children of all ages can be safe and secure.
As part of the new childcare services, administered by the Marcy Newberry Association, Fosco Park will accommodate nearly 100 children up to twelve years old. It will also offer Head Start, a nationally recognized program that provides at-risk children with equal opportunities to learn, as well as after-school programming to enhance learning, leadership and athletic skills.
A variety of child care payment options are being offered including tuition based opportunities, reduced and subsidized services, and low-to-no pay for qualified families.
“Helping children get the best start in life is a community effort,” said Department of Children and Youth Services Commissioner Mary Ellen Caron, Ph.D. “It is exciting to be a part of an early childhood development center located at Fosco Park, right in the community where families live, work and play. This center will provide children with a safe, supportive and nurturing environment where they can grow and learn.”
Since 1998, the City of Chicago, the Public Building Commission, the Chicago Park District and many of the city’s sister agencies have been working with the Chicago Housing Authority and the ABLA community to rebuild and revitalize Fosco Park and its surrounding neighborhood.
“We are already seeing the positive impact of investments like Fosco Park. A new Engine 18 Fire Station is being built across the street and a baseball field is planned for the south side of the building,” Daley added.
Fosco Park demonstrated its strength as a community gathering place last fall when the city established it as an official welcome and assistance center for the victims of Hurricane Katrina who evacuated to Chicago.
Nearly 5,000 families from the Gulf Coast passed through this facility and were able to resolve multiple needs – from medical care, to school enrollment, to housing and job application assistance.
“I’d like to thank all of the residents of the community for your generosity during that time,” said Daley.