West Englewood’s Lindblom Park baseball, softball fields get $330K makeover
Four different fields at West Englewood’s Lindblom Park began undergoing renovations in 2018. Now, with baseball season kicking off, the field opens to families Monday.
The Lindblom Park diamonds had been a little rough.
But now, baseball lovers in West Englewood have the fields they were dreaming about.
Four ballfields at the park at 6054 S. Damen Ave. began undergoing $330,000 worth of work in 2018. The upgrades were paid for through Cubs Charities, a nonprofit focused on sport programs for youth development and education.
While some final work is still wrapping up, Alicia Gonzalez, Cubs Charities executive director, said the fields are ready for play — starting after Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
At Lindblom and other locations getting work this summer, the upgrades will include dugouts, scoreboard repairs and new bleachers.
“I think it’s really exciting because the pandemic had impacted our ability to be out in person as much as we normally would be,” said Gonzalez.
“Part of our mission at Cubs Charities is really to elevate the power and the ability to build community, to obviously inspire hope but also to support our young people as we begin our healing process after two years of incredible challenges,” she added.
“Today really represents the ability for the community to come back to celebrate baseball and softball.”
The park, often used by Lindblom Math and Science Academy, is the first of 12 across the city getting a total of $2 million in improvements this year through Cubs Charities’ Diamond Project. Cubs Charities provides the money to the Chicago Park District, or another community organization or sponsor, and the local partner then co-manages the work at each site.
The goal of the Diamond Project, which started in 2014, is to increase access to baseball and softball in under-resourced neighborhoods. Since then, more than $10 million has been committed to 103 projects and to 79 youth baseball and softball programs for operations and equipment.
The new diamonds are “about the future and about our youth and investing in them and having resources so that they can be children again,” said Ald. Stephanie Coleman (15th). “Coming out of the pandemic — whatever the new normal is — now they will have a quality baseball field and diamonds where they won’t have to get scratched or scarred playing baseball, a sport that brings about camaraderie amongst each other.”
Locations are selected using several criteria, including feasibility, community impact, future maintenance and the capacity of the organization and partners to be able to carry it out.
“We want to make sure that if we’re going to come in and make an investment, that somebody also is there [and] the support from the Park District is there to be able to maintain that investment,” Gonzalez said.
This year’s other sites are:
- BUILD, Inc. (BUILD Campus Transformation, 5100 W. Harrison St.)
- Dunham Boys Baseball Organization (Dunham Park, 4638 N. Melvina Ave.)
- East Side Little League (East Side Little League Field, 11037 S. Avenue H)
- Gage Park Baseball & Softball Association (Gage Park, 2411 W. 55th St.)
- Gompers Park Athletic Association (Gompers Park, 4222 W. Foster Ave.)
- Hyde Park-Kenwood Legends Baseball League (Kenwood Community Park, 1330 E. 50th St.)
- Little Cubs Field (1330 Luis Munoz Marin Dr.)
- New Life Centers of Chicagoland (La Villita Park, 2800 S. Sacramento Ave.)
- Noble Schools (Hermosa Park, 2240 N. Kilbourn Ave.)
- Omega Delta Youth Baseball & Softball League (Hoyne Park, 3417 S. Hamilton Ave.)
- Wrightwood Little League Baseball (Hayes Park, 2936 W. 85th St.)
Cheyanne M. Daniels is a staff reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times via Report for America, a not-for-profit journalism program that aims to bolster the paper’s coverage of communities on the South and West sides.