Also Added September 24, 2010
TENNIS COURTS at NORTH GRANT PARK...by STEPHEN Z. COHEN PH.D.
PROBLEMS WITH THE CURRENT COURTS:
- Four three-court units spread out too far.
- The far (south) 6 courts are too far from the clubhouse; too difficult for players to interact when necessary with staff or facilities (toilets, snacks, etc.).
- Night lights are positioned at end of courts blinding players. Light should originate from the sides, not into the players’ eyes. - Inadequate drinking fountains. Water should be available for every few courts and near the courts or within the courts.
- No benches for players to rest at the court.
- No place for player bags and gear.
- No windscreen which is necessary for protection from the constant wind near the lake shore.
- Park District takes a lazy approach to player usage. (1) Cost is too high. All city courts except Diversey are free. (2) No effort is made to create an on-going club atmosphere where enough players become part of a players contingent who can show up and create singles and/or doubles match-ups. The current approach cares only for renting courts to the pre-arranged pairs. No sense of a club atmosphere exists that way.
- In the courts first 2 years, the court managers communicated with the 3 buildings then, and held evening and weekend tennis parties. These created some mini tennis clubs among the neighbors and developed interest in the courts. This approach was abandoned and the lazy attitude of being satisfied with renting courts to pre-callers became the permanent policy. Very little court use has resulted. (Visit the courts at any time and most are unused.)
(I live across the street, yet play everyday – elsewhere – and have not used the Grant Park courts for more than 30 years -- except in the first year or so after they were built. With the growth of the New Eastside community, an outreach effort could create a presence of large numbers of players who could use the courts as a “drop-by-and-find-a-game“ club atmosphere. If people could be assured that there would be player groupings available, they would be willing to pay for monthly or full summer season memberships. The public/private club at Diversey Courts is a model of that approach.)
SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEW COURTS:
- Position all courts near each other.
- Position all courts as close as possible to the clubhouse.
- The clubhouse should have chairs, tables, water, toilets, refreshments, administration counter, equipment for sale and/or for rent, and a changing area.
- Water fountains should be right at the courts.
- Benches at the courts.
- Racks for bags and equipment.
- Night lights positioned correctly, at sides. Lights exist elsewhere where the players can switch them on for use, and off when finished. Currently all courts are lit up even when no one is using them – a terrible waste of energy.
- An outdoor area near the courts should be created with chairs and tables, under some sort of shaded overhang where players can sit and watch, wait for court time, relax after play, etc. and where the necessary development of a sense of group belonging can be nurtured.
- Currently the pros see their job as simply teaching a class (perhaps as a way to augment income). Pro activity should include recruitment from the nearby community, creating individual building clubs, tennis mixers, creating different player groups based on an evaluation of player abilities and building groups for beginners, 2.5, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, etc. (standard currently used player skill levels).
- Making money via court hourly rentals should not be viewed as the Park District’s primary reason for having tennis courts.
- Consider tennis fee with partial parking validation. The fact that parking is so expensive here makes this different from most of the parks with free parking. Players come all the way from the suburbs to play tennis at Gompers and Waveland. Both parks have attracted good players for decades because they can pick-up a game from a group of 30 to 40 regulars and where the parking (except for weekends) is free.
STEPHEN Z. COHEN PH.D.
400 East Randolph Street, #1503
Chicago, IL 60601-5028
Local Resident Ideas For North Grant Park Re-Design
This next series of slides recommends improving access from Lower Randolph up into Peanut Park for Dog Walkers and Bicyclists.
This access rough gravel pathway up to Peanut Park was created when the Chicago Auto Pound was moved to Lower Wacker, and the Parking and Offices for the Streets and Sanitation Department were moved to this Lower Randolph Location.
Stairway to Middle Randolph and Lakefront
Needs Paving and Cleaning
Angled "Desire Path" Created by Bicycles and Dog Walkers
Homeless Storage To Be Removed
In the new North Grant Park Plan, this path could be widened and paved.
This next series of pictures recommends that Access be provided for pedestrians and Bicycles from Upper Randolph down to Peanut Park - so that the bicycle traffic will not have to go through the Cancer Survivors Garden on the way to the Lakefront.
The entrance to the beautiful Cancer Survivors Garden at Upper Randolph is the main route to the lakefront for pedestrians and bicycles. A more direct route could be created by removing this railing (between the two garbage cans) and filling in the 17 foot drop you will see in the next picture.
<------Filling in this 17-foot drop would be more cost-effective than an earlier idea to construct a bridge on the north side of this column down into Peanut Park.
This unused door would have to be sealed and the limestone wall waterproofed before adding the dirt.
This is the view of the "Desire Path" from Peanut Park down to Lower Randolph and the lower entrances to:
Harbor Point, 175 Harbor, 400 Randolph, Lancaster, Townhomes, 195 Harbor, Chandler, Regatta and Lakeshore East Park. Eventually 4 more high-rise buildings will be constructed, so this access will become more important..
The existing sidewalk in Peanut Park leads to Middle Randolph and the Lakefront.
The following series of Daley Plaza pictures focus on potential uses for a dark unused corner.
These are the garbage cans in the previous picture ---->
This is the view looking east down into Peanut Park where the recommended new access sidewalk would lead to the lakefront under Lake Shore Drive.
Now bicyclists and mothers with baby buggies have to navigate through the Cancer Survivors Garden (also used for many memorable weddings) to turn here down the steep hill next to the stairs. ---------------------------->
This recommended route to the lakefront goes to Monroe to cross at the traffic light.
This blank corner has the potential for many inovative park amenities. It could also be filled in to provide direct access from the Upper Randolph sidewalk.
As we were taking these pictures to further the neighborhood discussion of the North Grant Park redesign, we noted the 14 beautiful replacement back-lit LED inspirational message plaques. This underscores the commitment of the R. A. Bloch Cancer Foundation to enhance this beautiful Cancer Survivors Garden, that is a joy and quiet place to relax and be thankful for life. The New Eastside community and all survivors in the Midwest respect this special garden and appreciate the continuing care and support by the Gateway for Cancer Research.
Thank you R.A Bloch Cancer Foundation and the Gateway for Cancer Research.
All 14 messages are very helpful and relevant to cancer, and many other serious illnesses.
You are welcome to share your thoughts with your neighbors - and also your design ideas for North Grant Park.
Note that "No Dogs" are allowed in ANY Chicago Park District PLAYGROUND OR GARDEN. That includes this Daley Plaza Playground, and the Cancer Survivors Garden -------------------------------------->
Park District may uproot garden
Some cancer survivors, neighbors oppose moving or redoing site
By Erika Slife
September 24, 2010
John Nance has beaten skin cancer, liver cancer and lung cancer and has had three tumors removed from his brain. He lost his twin brother to lung cancer in 2005, then watched his sister die of the same disease a year later.
Today, Nance, 76, often takes walks to the city's Cancer Survivors Garden — a 2.5-acre strip of flowers, landscaping and inspirational plaques in the northeast corner of Grant Park — to find solitude and to meditate.
"I appreciate that garden over there, and I would hate it disturbed," said Nance, a retired Chicago firefighter who lives near Grant Park.
But Chicago Park District officials are considering reconfiguring the garden or relocating it to the northern end of Buckingham Fountain — to mirror the fountain's southern Tiffany Garden — as part of the redevelopment of Grant Park's northeast corner. The ongoing discussions with architects, community groups and residents have cancer survivors and neighbors nervous that their quiet slice of Grant Park will disappear.
"I think there would be a very big uprising if they try to take it out," said Maddy Fields-Gollogly, who lives nearby. "I'm pretty sure with the pressure, that's not going to happen."
Park leaders stress that any Grant Park redevelopment plans are still in the very early stages. The district wants to meld 28 acres of northeastern Grant Park, which also includes Daley Bicentennial Plaza and the area dubbed Peanut Park, into a single continuous landscape that will link Millennium Park to the lakefront.
The plaza area is the approved site for the relocation of the Chicago Children's Museum, with plans to build the museum underground.
Over the summer, designers held four public meetings to seek input about design plans, and officials are still churning through the feedback. Meetings with specific neighborhood groups are ongoing, officials said.
"The Chicago Park District is reviewing input gathered from the public meetings as well as correspondence regarding the North Grant Park renovation," spokeswoman Marta Juaniza wrote in an e-mail. "Representatives are open to further discussion from the community and are scheduling an additional meeting to discuss the Cancer Survivors Garden."
In the next month or two, designers may unveil initial design plans, said Bob O'Neill, president of the Grant Park Conservancy and Advisory Council. In the mix: building a "land bridge" across Lake Shore Drive, connecting Grant Park to the lake near East Monroe Drive. The bridge would be covered by green space to build a seamless park and vista, O'Neill said.
"There exists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to connect one of the most successful new urban parks in the world — that's Millennium Park — to connect that to the lake," O'Neill said. "What is the most elegant and effective solution for the park and the garden?"
Leaving the Cancer Survivors Garden in its current location is still part of the conversation, he said.
And that's the option the garden's founders are behind.
Vangie Rich, executive director of the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation, which donated $1 million for the garden in the mid-1990s, said her group is against any relocation or reconfiguration of the park — a notion Rich first learned about from concerned citizens.
"We love it where it is and the residents of the area love it where it is," Rich said. "We do not want it moved in any way, shape or form. If they wanted to enhance the park in any way, certainly we would take that into consideration."
Kay Collins, 63, lives near the Cancer Survivors Garden and visits several times a month. There, she sits on her favorite bench, across from her favorite inspirational plaque, and reflects on her successful battle against breast cancer.
"For me, it's a place of introspection, a place for confronting your fears," she said. "It's a place to listen to the birds."
After her cancer diagnosis in 2005, the garden was one of the first places she visited. She would bring her journal and write through her emotions as she struggled with treatment. She found hope.
"You'd feel better: 'OK, I'm probably not going to die from this,'" she said.
Nance said he has had at least seven surgeries in the last decade, the most recent in July 2006 for lung cancer. He often strolls through the garden in the evenings when he's on his way home. It saddens him to think about the park not being there.
"I'd feel a loss, naturally," he said. "In the summer time it's just gorgeous. It's very encouraging when you go and read the signs. It serves a purpose for a lot of people. I know it does for me."
Chicago Tribune Article Added September 24, 2010
Chicago’s Surprising Cancer Survivors’ Garden
October 4, 2010 by Rush University Medical Center
By Thurston Hatcher
I had probably walked by it 30 times without noticing. But after finishing up a run along the Chicago lakefront a few weeks back, I took a path back to Randolph Street that led me past a surprisingly serene corner of Grant Park. Its most striking feature, beyond the lush landscaping and dramatic view down Lake Shore Drive, is a series of illuminated, inspiring messages about cancer.
It’s known as Richard and Annette Bloch Cancer Survivors Park, and it’s one of at least 24 around the country devoted to motivating people with cancer. Construction and maintenance costs are covered by the R.A. Bloch Cancer Foundation.
“By passing daily and seeing the beautiful structures and the sign, ‘Cancer Survivors Park,’ individuals will realize when diagnosed that there is a possibility of surviving and hopefully will try to fight rather than give up,” the Blochs say on their Web site.
All the parks include a “Positive Mental Attitude Walk,” featuring the aforementioned inspirational and information messages. A few examples:
“Realize that cancer is a life-threatening disease, but some beat it. Make up your mind you will be one of those who do.”
“11,000,000 Americans have been diagnosed with cancer: More than 7 million are considered cured.”
“Cancer is the most curable of all chronic diseases.”
“Have plans for pleasant things to do and goals to accomplish.”
An adjacent “Road to Recovery” includes bronze plaques with advice for people undergoing treatment.
Here are a view photos from the park, which is in the northeast corner of Grant Park, just off Randolph Street near Lake Shore Drive: