City To Use Leftover NATO Funds To Expand Summer Programs At Parks

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Emanuel administration has committed $750,000 in leftover NATO Summit funds to offer more nighttime events at city parks this summer.

WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the city is greatly expanding its cultural offerings and activities at the parks this summer.

“We roughly did 350 events this year. We’ve doubled it to 700. We had Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the Parks last year; we’re doubling that. This year it’s going to be ‘A Comedy of Errors,’” Chicago Park District Supt. Michael Kelly said.

The city has approximately 600 parks, and the district is trying to bring special art and cultural events to as many of them as possible.

In addition to the expansion of Shakespeare in the Parks, the district plans to expand its movie nights and theater performances.

“Redmoon Theater is new. The blues, jazz and gospel performances are new,” he said.

The district is also partnering with Juicebox, which offers music, dance and theater performances geared toward toddlers and families.

Kelly assured residents it will be safe to be in the parks at night for their summer events.

“We do all of our events in coordination with the Chicago Police Department, as well as our own security forces,” he said. “It’s funny you bring it up, because one of the offshoots, one of the great results is this is the community taking back its parks.”

Kelly said when good people flock to the parks, the bad guys stay away.

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