Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Danny Solis, Parks Superintendent Michael P. Kelly, Executive Director of the Public Building Commission of Chicago Erin Lavin Cabonargi, and members of the Chinatown and South Loop communities gathered today to celebrate the opening of the new fieldhouse at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave. During the celebration, a plaque was presented to Leonard Louis for his lifetime of service to the Chinatown community and the Yellow Crane statue, a gift from the City of Wuhan was unveiled.
“The PingTom Park fieldhouse will for the first time provide a large community sports and recreation amenity and an opportunity to fully enjoy all that the Chicago River has to offer residents and visitors,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today’s recognition of the contributions of Leonard M. Louie and the placement of Yellow Crane Statue are a perfect way to mark this occasion. I am proud that Chicago is home to a thriving Chinese community.”
On September 20, 2012, Mayor Emanuel was presented a Yellow Crane statue, a gift from Mayor Tang of Wuhan, China to the City of Chicago. The statue symbolizes the historic Yellow Crane Tower in Wuhan, considered to be among the Four Great Towers of China. The Yellow Crane statue was placed in the newly constructed boathouse in Chinatown’s Ping Tom Park and will be on display as a symbol of the growing relationship between Chicago and the People’s Republic of China.
Leonard M. Louie was recognized during the celebration for his tenure of service to the Chinatown community and the Ping Tom Park Advisory Council.
Wight & Company designed the 30,000-square foot, single-story Ping Tom Park fieldhouse that is fully accessible and features a six-lane pool with a spectator area; gymnasium; club rooms; fitness center; locker rooms; a geothermal heating and cooling system; rainwater harvesting system; high-efficiency boilers; low flow plumbing fixtures and a 3,200-square-foot combination deck terrace and green roof. Landscaping features low maintenance and irrigated native and adaptive plant species.
“The Chicago Park District is dedicated to creating various opportunities for communities to be active,” said General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “We encourage visitors and neighbors in the Ping Tom Memorial Park community to enjoy the new facilities and programs.”
“With the development of the new Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse, the Public Building Commission of Chicago was able to implement a unique design concept with features significant to the Chinatown community, environmentally sustainable features that promote water and energy efficiency and contract provisions that promote economic sustainability through requirements for minority and women owned business.” said PBC Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi.
Ping Tom Memorial Park celebrated the opening of a new boat house in June of this year, expanding recreational offerings in the area to the Chicago River.
Ping Tom Memorial Park Fieldhouse opens in the middle of a fall programming session, so programs such as floor hockey, volleyball, basketball, tumbling, flag football, badminton and more will be made available immediately through the end of the fall session in early December.
Winter programs will be available for online viewing Monday, Nov. 18. Online registration for parks west of California Avenue begins Monday, Dec. 2, and Tuesday, Dec. 3, for parks east of California Avenue, including Ping Tom Memorial Park. Winter programs begin the week of Jan. 6, 2014.
Ping Tom Memorial Park project is part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Building a New Chicago program that ensures that every Chicago resident is within a 10-minute walk of a neighborhood park.
For more information on the Chicago Park District, visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call 312-742-PLAY.