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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Playing hardball to save a field of dreams

How about a story from the west side about a baseball park that is endangered because it is in the way of some expansion by the Illinois Medical District. It's endangered because the land this park sits is actually owned by this medical district. From the Chicago Journal...
The Illinois Medical District has been demanding that a little league baseball field clear its land to make way for a new biotech building-but the field of dreams may not be lost just yet.

Livingston Field has been used for more than 13 years by the Near West Little League, but organizers have been fighting to keep the field since receiving notice of IMD's plan to take back the property at Lexington and Leavitt, which they own.

The Little League and the Chicago Park District received a letter from the IMD on Sept. 25, ordering the league to clear its field at by this week. But last Friday, the Little League was given new hope that its field may be saved after a meeting with representatives from the city, Park District and IMD.

Officials from the IMD proposed alternative sites where the field could be moved, but Bob Muzikowski, founder and president of the league, said they were not acceptable mainly because of safety concerns. He added that more than 150 volunteers have made the park a safe-haven on the Near West Side.

"The biggest issue is safety, and it's the safest park in the area," he said. "We've been nothing but great neighbors, and it's not right."

The park is safe for now, as Mayor Richard M. Daley ordered Muzikowski not to clear the field. Daley, as well as 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, have offered continuing support for the league to keep its field. Both Solis and Fioretti have said the IMD will not be granted any permits until a solution is found.

While the fate of Livingston Field is still up in the air, city officials have been in an ongoing dialogue with IMD and the Little League, which has pushed back the scheduled demolition of the field.

Muzikowski said he is optimistic they will be able to keep the field, but recognized that it is a difficult situation.

IMD officials are planning to build a new research center, which would include a greenhouse, at the site and have said the location has proven ideal for the sunlight that's necessary for the studies they plan to conduct.

1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

IMD can be a tough outfit...really tough.

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