The Chicago Plan Commission has approved the construction and renovation of new baseball diamonds at 1987 E Hayes Drive within Jackson Park. Located towards the east side of the park across Wooded Island and near the Statue of the Republic, the project continues the vision of the park’s 2018 framework plan. The plan is being brought forward by the Chicago Park District as it continues to construct a better public green space for locals and visitors alike as the construction of the Obama Presidential Center.
With a storied past, the park has seen substantial change in the last few years to restore many of its areas which suffered from years of disinvestments and military use as a Nike missile site. This has included preservation work with the US Army Corps of Engineers to Wooded Island and the banks of the lagoon, the planting of Japanese Cherry Blossoms along the museum lagoon, and a sculpture by Yoko Ono on the island as well.
Now fulfilling a small, but important part of the plan will be a renovation and expansion of the baseball half fields, showing the Park District’s commitment to its plans for the park. The work will include replacing the two existing infields, installing new park benches, fixing drainage issues, and replacing one of the main pathways for general ADA improvements and pedestrian flow. There will also be the addition of a third half field with natural turn along the edge of the East Lagoon, thus creating a new baseball/softball complex as called for in 2018.
While other more controversial plans for the park like the Tiger Woods designed golf course and the aforementioned presidential center continue to draw attention, the baseball fields will create an improved recreational experience in one of the city’s best assets. With the approval, the Park District can now proceed to work on the final plans, however at the time no construction timeline was announced, but the once started should be completed quite rapidly.