CHICAGO (STMW) — A $6.5 million combination of NATO legacy and Chicago Park District capital funds will be invested in neighborhood and transformative park projects across the city, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on Saturday.

“These investments will help a generation of Chicagoans enjoy their city for years to come, and are a fitting and lasting tribute to the way Chicago came together in support of the NATO summit,” Emanuel said.

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Noting that the cost of hosting the NATO Summit — whose funds came from federal and private funds — came in under budget, Emanuel announced that $5.5 million in NATO legacy funds will be leveraged with $1 million in Chicago Park District capital funds to enhance park investments. The $5.5 million investment is approximately 60 percent of the remaining surplus of privately-raised funds for NATO, a release from the mayor’s office said.

Emanuel made his announcement Saturday at Riis Park on the Northwest Side, one of the parks that will undergo a substantial rehabilitation with the funds.

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The mayor reiterated on Saturday that from the outset, he committed that Chicago taxpayers would not be responsible for any of the costs associated with hosting the NATO Summit. Federal funds and private funds raised by the NATO host committee were used to pay for the costs associated with hosting the summit, and those costs came in under budget. The remaining private funds are being used directly in Chicago’s communities, the release said.

The rehabilitation work, some with signature playground installations, will take place at five parks — Riis, Jackie Robinson Park, Cornell Square, Pleasant Point Park, and Bronzeville-Buckthorn Park, the release said. This work will cost $2.5 million, in addition to $2 million for the Park District’s four new neighborhood boathouses and $2 million toward the new Bloomingdale Trail that will connect several Chicago neighborhoods.

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