Gov. Pat Quinn visits Robbins to push park funding initiative
By Jessie Molloy Correspondent August 30, 2014 5:42PM
Gov. Pat Quinn
Updated: August 31, 2014 5:18PM
Gov. Pat Quinn visited the Robbins Park District on Saturday as part of a series of stops announcing a new plan to invest $14.4 million in south suburban parks.
“Investments in park development and recreation are investments in the health, well being and future of the people in these communities,” Quinn told the spectators outside the small Park District office on Claire Boulevard.
Robbins’ share of the allotted funds is $135,000, to improve the village’s existing parks and to demolish and demolish and clear hazardous buildings from two properties recently purchased by the park district.
According to Quinn’s spokesperson Katie Hickey, in order to get the funds, Robbins and the six other suburbs receiving this grant had to apply to the state and “demonstrate need for assistance to improve their facilities.”
Among the attendees were the Robbins Park District board, Robbins Mayor Tyrone Ward Sr. and State Sen. Napoleon Harris, D-Floosmoor, who had advocated for the program.
“I appreciate the Parks Department and the governor for what they’re doing here,” Harris said. “It’s great knowing they’re working to help the children in our community and helping share strong values with them.”
Harris grew up in Dixmoor and participated in youth sports before playing football for Northwestern University. After college, Harris was drafted by the Oakland Raiders and played in the NFL for seven seasons.
“The governor has been very good to the Village of Robbins and the state of Illinois,” Ward said.
The money for the project are part of a $50 million fund through the Parks and Recreational Facility Construction program, funded by the Quinn’s $31 billion Illinois Jobs Now! initiative.
In addition to Robbins, money from the grant will go to six other entities, including the Calumet Memorial Park District, which will receive $2.1 million to expand the Sandridge Community Center on Oglesby Avenue. A new recreation facility will be completed off Paulina Street in Dixmoor for $1.1 million. Dolton will receive $2 million to expand and renovate the Main Field House on Irving Avenue.
Evergreen Park’s 50 Acre Park will get $500,000 worth of new work for trails and playground equipment. Markham is getting $999,989 to construct a new indoor track and gymnastics facility at 162nd and Laflin.
Phoenix will receive $900,000 to build a new indoor fieldhouse and sports facility at East 151st Street and 3rd Avenue.
The $14 million plan also includes $2.9 million in funding to Chicago’s 8th Ward to enlarge sewers along Ridgeland and Drexel avenues, and an additional $200,000 for sewer and street repairs in Evergreen Park.
“Our parks are a good investment in our future. That’s what this is all about,” Quinn said. “It’s so important for our students to be active and for them to have adults around them as mentors and that’s what these programs allow.”