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City Council Committee Approves Indoor Skate Park Plan

Skate Park

The city plans to open its first indoor skate park here at 16th and Clark streets. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Plans for the city’s first-ever indoor, all-night skateboard park sailed through a City Council committee Monday.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports, the plan calls for selling four city-owned parcels from 1600 to 1752 S. Clark St. to the Chicago Park District for $1.

The indoor skate park would be located inside an open garage that the city’s Department of Streets and Sanitation has been using for the last 10 years as a headquarters for its Loop snow operations.

Retired Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed the idea while presiding over his last City Council meeting.

On Monday, the City Council’s Committee on Housing and Real Estate approved the land deal, but not before project manager Michael Lang disclosed that the Park District was requesting a $2 million subsidy from the local Tax Increment Financing district at a time when Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised to rein in TIF spending.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Marsett reports

The $2 million plan calls for rehabilitating the existing building and turning the 27,000-square-foot of space into an indoor skateboard complex that includes a lobby, locker rooms, a skating surface and viewing area with spectator seating.

The plan also calls for improvements to the building’s exterior, landscaping and a parking lot. The skating area will include traditional skateboard elements, including ramps, ledges and paths with “unique obstacles,” officials said.

“This is a cool project. I just told Danny (Solis, whose 25th Ward includes the project) that I want him to buy me a new pair of roller skates so I can practice,” said Committee Chairman Ray Suarez (31st).

Solis promised community meetings before the TIF subsidy is approved. But, he called the skate park a wonderful addition to “almost adjacent” — and soon to be expanding — Ping Tom Park.

“This skate park will just add to what will hopefully be one of the premier parks in Chicago. I look forward to having this park be one of the jewels of the city,” Solis said.

Still, Solis acknowledged that “there is some concern from residents — not just in my ward, but other wards” about the indoor skate park that will allow skateboarders to blow off steam day or night.

“This is simply an acquisition. There will be a number of community meetings to allow input and refine how we put this park together,” he said.

The city already has eight skate parks throughout the city. Some of the most popular ones are located at 700 W. Wilson Ave. in the park of Lincoln Park adjacent to the Uptown neighborhood; at 3400 S. Lake Shore Dr. in Burnham Park, and at 2430 W. Logan Blvd. in Logan Square near Western Avenue and the Kennedy Expressway.

But nearly all those skate parks are open-air, though the Logan Square skate park has a bit of a roof if you count the Kennedy overhead.

The closest indoor skate park is located in Tinley Park.

Mayor Emanuel must give final approval to the TIF funding for the skate park.

The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire