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7 public spaces in Chicago will each receive $1.5 million in upgrades as winners of the Chicago Works Community Challenge – CBS Chicago

CHICAGO (CBS) — Seven public rooms in Chicago are getting millions worth of upgrades.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the winners of the Chicago Works Community Challenge Tuesday. Four parks, two Chicago Public Schools facilities, and a Chicago Public Library branch were each selected for projects valued at $1.5 million each.

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Community members sent in suggestions for upgrades.

One of the winners described why a facelift of the racquetball court at Rainbow Beach Park on the lakefront in South Shore will be a game changer.

“The revitalization of court facilities will help us, and it will begin to empower the youth we see — the investment initiative to refurbish an aging building that will eventually provide a safe place to house youth, and programs like racquets at Rainbow,” said Carolyn Vazquez, a racquetball advocate and volunteer coach at the park.

The winning proposals were selected in each region of the city. They include:

Matthew Gallistel Language Academy, 10347 S. Ewing Ave. (Far South)
This proposal was submitted by Rogelio Lopez, Gallistel’s school counselor. It will upgrade an antiquated playground with contemporary climbing equipment, landscaping and recreation areas, and also create new spaces for outdoor instruction and community socializing.

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Rainbow Beach Park, 3111 E. 77th St. (South)
This proposal was submitted by Vazquez. It will repair an outdoor handball and racquetball complex with new playing fields, seating areas, and landscaping. The clubhouse will also be upgraded with improvements to the roof, plumbing, windows, ADA accessible entrances, and artwork.

Claremont STEM Academy Playground, 2300 W. 64th St. (Southwest)
This proposal was submitted by Layla Treuhaft-Ali, a middle school teacher at the school. It transforms the school’s dirt lawns into a playground with recreation structures for students and neighbors – and outdoor learning opportunities.

Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Avenue (West)
This proposal was submitted by Samantha Jordan, an Austin resident and artist. The plan includes an outdoor stage in the park for performances and films, improvements to basketball and tennis courts, landscaping and accessibility improvements, and natural space improvements.

Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Avenue (North)
This proposal was submitted by Pamela Stauffer on behalf of the Warren Park Advisory Council. It calls for improvements for activities like cricket, horseshoes, bocce ball and pickleball.

Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave. (Northwest)
This proposal was submitted by Casey Guerra on behalf of the Kelvyn Park Advisory Council. It requires repairs to the roof of the field house and auditorium in the park, overdue building improvements like ADA accessibility.

dr Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 3436 S.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Dr (Central)
This proposal was submitted by Douglas/Bronzeville mother Janell Nelson. The plan calls for a refurbishment of the library’s children’s section, with a greater focus on Dr. King’s legacy in Chicago. The plan also includes beautifying the public spaces both outside and inside the library.

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Work on the projects is expected to begin late this year or early next year.

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