Midway Plaisance Park and Midway PAC
Having an MPACt

Brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Advisory Council, its Parks Committee and its website www.hydepark.org with help from the Midway Advisory Council (MAC). HPKCC Parks Chair. Join the Conference.

ADVISORY COUNCIL meetings, EVENTS, PETITION

A special use center of the Chicago Park District, 1130 E. Midway, Chicago, IL 60637
Center Director: Rick Shaheen (312 745-2470, midway@chicagoparkdistrict.com, rick.shaheen@chicagoparkdistrict.com), Area Manager: Cordell Hopkins, Region Manager: Liz Millan. (312 747-7661). Midweek@Midway. Sports Camp

Laid out with long vistas and tree lines at the turn of the century, the "Midway" between Washington and Jackson Parks, followed the vision of Frederick Law Olmsted, minus his impossible dream to create a Venetian canal. Later designers: Lorado Taft, Eero Saarinen and recent framework plan designers.

It's part of Chicago's great boulevard system as well as the Chicago Park District South Region. It gave its name to the sideshow sections of amusement parks from the World's Columbian Exposition. Take the Virtual Midway Tour (From Olmsted to the Fair; today.)

Weekly tour of the Midway and 100 things you didn't know about the Columbian Exposition Midway sectio Sundays at 1 from the skasting rink. Watch for cleanup day.

Ice Skating call 312 745-2470 or 312 743-PLAY because it's weather permitting. Council. More private events info at 312 742-5369.
Rink opens fourth Friday, November day after Thanksgiving. $4 children, $4 adults. Noon-7 Sunday-Friday, 1-9 Saturday. Skate rental $6.

Midweek @ The Midway. 3 Movies in summer 2015- see under SPECIAL EVENTS.

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Away:

Midway Plaisance vista west from the Masaryk. soccer game, boulevards kiosk at Cottage Grove. Gary Ossewaarde
Vista west of the central, sunken panels from the Masaryk monument and of the north panels from opposite International House (1414 E). Upper right a soccer game by Cottage Grove (note Boulevards kiosk). A northern east panel looking toward the University

 


Midway Plaisance Advisory Council You can help make decisions on an area that underwent transformation within tradition and which has a highly active recreational, cultural and educational program based in the Ice Skating Rink Fieldhouse and Warming House.
MEETING- Wednesday TBA (probably 2nd Weds.- but will skip August (rather than find an alternative to the fieldhouse), resuming September 9. Medanwhile work will continue of working with/petitons about Caadian Naional right-of-wy conditions, workdays, recruiting members-- watch for our tables at the movies and concerts.

May 27- A PAC was born- officers elected, and paperwork filled in. A Tour, Make Music ChicagoWorkday, and schedule were confirmed and issues pursued. The following meeting was on July 8.
President: Bronwyn Nichols-Lodato. Vice President: Don McGruder. Treasurer: Radia Smith-Donald.

March 30, Monday, 10 am. Walk through was held with Chicago Park District. Starting at Stony Island and proceeding to Ellis= many work orders have been submitted.

Earth Day cleanup was held April 18 and 19. Lots of trash was removed . esp.. near the railroad. Report below.
PETITION RE CANADIAN NATIONAL EMBANKMENT TRASH.
It's Your Park Workday with Chicago Parks Foundation worked on embankments, panels June 21.

NEXT MEETING WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 9.

July 8 meeting highlights: Excellent news, Canadian National was reached by the city/CDOT and a walk through of the embankment is being set up. Also, progress was made with the steam vents and old belongings.
3 MOVIES as well as 2 concerts are being set up.
Further cleanup and planting decisions are being made.
Certain walks across the Midway will be redone and drops and gaps are being measured. These will be on a costsharing basis. Priority is on unsafe conditions.
Some work and on going maintenance and getting trash baskets etc. waits until the Park District and CDOT sign an agreement. CDOT owns the Midway and the PD lease has expired.

 

Center Director Rick Shaheen (312-745-2470.)

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Special events

Summer Play camp for ages 3-6. Various days and times, start June 29 or 30 Through August 6 or 7.

312 745-2470, midway@chicagoparkdistrict.com. General ice skate schedule 312 747-0233. Runs c. Thanksgiving- end of February.
3 movies this year. 2 CONCERTS: July 22 Night Out -Conquest Concert ahead of movie, August 19 Night Out -Refreshing Raga Blues.

MOVIES: FLYER

 

July 29, Wednesday, dusk. Midway Plaisance movie- "Big Hero 6". Dusk. Free. By the skating rink, 5900 S. middle panel between Ellis and Woodlawn. Bring something (sealed and with expiration date) for Comer Children's Hospital Pantry.

When a criminal plot threatens the hi-tech metropolis of San
Fransokyo, brilliant young robotics whiz Hiro Hamada (voice
of Ryan Potter) leaps into action with his tech-savvy friends,
and his robot companion Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit) in
Disney Animation's adaptation of the popular Marvel Comics
series.

Report on the event by Louise McCurry:

The movie crowd was about 250-275, At least 150 students. Families brought picnics. Jimmy John's gave away free sandwiches. Developed many new Midway PAC members and petition signers.
Family games of soccer taking place on the field before the movie and invited them to play AYSO this year.
A great time was had by all. Josh Anderson was a master MC. !
Thank you U of C, CPD, and Alderman Hairston for a great night for our families,
Louise McCurry, HPKCC PARKS, MPAC, AYSO

August 5, Wednesday, dusk. Midway Plaisance movie- "Annie" (2014) . Dusk. Free. Bring a dried or canned food donation for the food pantry at Comer Childrens's hospital. By the skating rink, 5900 S. middle panel between Ellis and Woodlawn.

Annie is a young, happy foster kid who’s also tough enough
to make her way on the streets of New York in 2014. Originally
left by her parents as a baby with the promise that they’d be
back for her someday, it’s been a hard knock life ever since
with her mean foster mom Miss Hannigan. But everything’s
about to change when the hard-nosed tycoon and New York
mayoral candidate Will Stacks makes a thinly-veiled campaign
move and takes her in.

SUNDAYS, 2 pm (changed)- MIDWAY TOUR 100 THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT THE MIDWAY AND THE WORLDS FAIR ON THE MIDWAY- including natural history. From the ice rink. Louise, 773 844-2225. JUNE 14, skip June 21, likely skip July 5.

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News and recent

The new council (spring 2015) is focused on getting the Canandian National to clean up its site and on getting holes dangerous to soccer players filled. A PETITION WILL BE ONE OF THE AVENUES TO GET A RESPONSE FROM THE RAILROAD. On other problems many work orders have been turned in.

June 20 the council and Chicago Parks Foundation cleaned and prepared the north embankment east of Metra for lillies and cleaned several of the south panels of serious abandoned debris.
June 21 we played host to Make Music Chicago.

The emerald ask borer made a bulls-eye hit on the great lines of trees almost a mile long that define the Midway experience. In November 2014 the Park District removed 104 dead or near-dead ash and has committed to plant new trees in the spring. No more than 15 percent will be of any one species or variety-- a long term goal for the park. Species will include a variety of oaks, maples, lindens, hybrid (i.e. disease resistant) elms, ginko, hackberry, horse chestnut, buckeye, catalpa, honey and black locusts and more, as spokesperson Jessica Maxey-Faulkner told Hyde Park Herald. Presumably each species will be fitted to water, light, and other local conditions by the Park District's talented staff and contractors. Lost, of course, will be the splendor of linear monoculture, but that's not to be anymore (should have learned from previous experience with elms-- and chestnuts elsewhere) but this is an opportunity for a pleasing blend and variety.
March 2015: there are still some trees to come down. We hear the replacements may be mostly of one or two species.

*Save the date** Summer Day Camp registration is just around the corner! Online summer program registration begins Mon., April 13 for parks WESTof California Ave. and Tues., April 14 for parks EAST of California Ave at 9 a.m. In person registration begins on Sat., April 18 at most parks. Some parks begin Mon., April 20. View program offerings and create a wish list beginning Mon., March 30. Day camp 2015 starts Jun., 29 and ends Aug., 7. View our registration check list to be best prepared for registration day. Get a chance to win Exclusive Early Access to Summer Registration through Park Points™. Not a member? Sign up NOW and start earning toward this great reward!

By Sam Cholke in DNAinfo.com. http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150421/hyde-park/abandoned-homeless-village-discovered-among-trees-on-midway-plaisance
HYDE PARK - Volunteers spent 12 hours on Sunday dismantling an abandoned homeless village nestled among the trees of the Midway Plaisance. Workers on Sunday found five structures bolted to trees and sunken into the hillside where the Midway meets the Canadian National and Metra railway between 59th and 60th streets. "I started pulling out vegetation, and under every leaf was another suitcase or another blanket," said Louise McCurry, president of the Jackson Park Advisory Council. McCurry, who is helping resurrect the Midway Advisory Council, and others hacked through the brush and found five shacks, mattresses, a ladder, old doors and a slew of "dead critters" next to the tracks.She said crews were able to bring down two of the collapsing structures and found dead rats and other animals inside, but three shacks remain standing. McCurry said the area is likely the source of the rats that she's heard neighbors complaining about. There were signs of homeless people living in the woods in the fall, but the park lacked an advisory council to coordinate cleaning the area up. Whoever was living in the woods now appears to be gone, according to McCurry, who had been watching for the clear sign of vacancy. "The garbage cans were not there," McCurry said. City garbage cans had gone missing from the Midway and Jackson Park, and one could catch glimpses of blue and green bins near the trees last fall. The garbage cans served as a makeshift armoire, according to McCurry and others who have poked around among the trees. "I think what's happening there now is [other] people are dumping their garbage," McCurry said. "It's a horrible mess -; it's become the Hyde Park dumping ground." Crews from Canadian National Railway were scheduled to come remove the debris Tuesday. McCurry is leading an effort to get Hyde Parkers interested in the Midway again, one of the largest parks in the neighborhood. But it's often overlooked for help by community members because the University of Chicago, which lines the Midway, is very active nearby, and Jackson and Washington parks also need help and compete for volunteers' time. McCurry has a core now of four members and the Midway Advisory Council will officially resume its watch over the park at 6 p.m. Monday at the field house, 1130 Midway Plaisance North, when it elects its first officers in more than a decade.

MEETING OF APRIL 27. By Louise McCurry:
Thank you & MIdway PAC updates

We got much accomplished without a quorum but really need you for the next meeting to set our goals, bylaws, committees, and officers.
Next meeting is Wednesday MAY 13 at 6pm at the Midway Ice Rink .

However Sarah Sheehan, from U of C Community Affairs and Liason to the City of Chicago and Kimberly Debuclet Chicago Park District director of Community and Legislative Affairs came and met with Gary and I and we had a very productive meeting.

Sarah will reach out to contacts at the Canadian National about the debris next to their tracks and contact University groups and Woodlawn groups to become Midway PAC and /or volunteers .
Sarah will make contact with Lab School about a classroom adopting the Midway as a class project .

Kim will confirm with the Park District the status of the lease and /or lease extension with CDOT . (Or IDOT. ) This will let us know who is accountable for Midway Repairs.

Gary will get the next meeting info to the Hyde Park Herald, the Hyde Park Kenwood Community Conference and Chamber of Commerce news blasts.
And inquire about getting Flower Show flower bulbs and volunteers to plant them on the street sides of the rail track hills.

Louise will do a panel by panel damage assessment of Midway playing fields so we can get needed repairs done.
And organize a Midway World's Fair Tour of the Midway
And prepare the community petition to name the east hill by the tracks in honor of Casey Jones the famous IC RR conductor of the 1893 World's Fair.


The Midway is the largest park in Hyde Park with a rich Olmsted and World's Fair history., extending from 59th to 61st and from the Sands of Time at Cottage Grove To the Flower Circle at Cornell.
The Midway is used by many sports teams and students, dog walkers, and community groups.
Now is the time for our talented community to preserve and give back to this beautiful historical park.

Please come to the next meeting on May 13 at 6 pm at the Ice Rink and be part of improving our largest Hyde Park park.

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Enjoy the Midway Winter Garden and Reader's Garden.

The University of Chicago Master Plan/Midway Plaisance (click Midway Plaisance Plan and Midway Skating Rink.)

What's Said about the Midway: Letter from Hank Webber to the Hyde Park Herald, Feb. 2003 (a full outline of plans and program), article about the opening of the North Winter Garden.

LinneConstruction on two Midway Plaisance gardens--Readers Garden and Winter Garden, a joint project between the Chicago Park District and the University of Chicago, began September 5, 2002, when the lawn panel bounded by Ellis Avenue, 59th Street, Woodlawn Avenue, and the North Plaisance Drive was fenced off as a construction zone. Key features already there were the Linne Statue (to be focus of the Readers Garden) and the Skating Rink chiller plant (needing screening by the Winter Garden). There are three parts to the project: planting of the new gardens; realigning the walkways; and installing a new chiller enclosure.

The project's first phase [was]... completed by the end of November when the planting of all the woody plant materials [low to high conifers mainly] w[as] finished, and all walkways [were] again... open for use. The Chiller Enclosure [wa]s also... install[ed last] fall. In the spring, the perennials [were] planted, and the project [was] completed June 1, 2003.


Linne- see description below.

Anticipated is a smaller winter garden in the south panel (at 60th) opposite the North Winter Garden.

For information, please contact U of C Plant Dept. Project Manager at (773) 834-1840. [revised from Joyce Griffin, Executive Administrator, Facilities Services, THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO]. [Another contact: David Guyer, Assistant Director, Office of Community Affairs, University of Chicago, 773 834-4549.]

Take a stroll through the Winter Garden. (But expect it to be much more grown and mature than when these pictures were taken.) About the Linne (Linneus) sculpture, above. ( Original information is not handy at this time; Park District's Julia Bachrach or the Art Institute's Ferguson Fund or tour books on outdoor and sculptural Chicago should have it.) By Johan Dyfverman. That here is a replica of his at the Royal Gardens in Stockholm. This replica was relocated from Lincoln Park to the Midway in 1976, because, this author was told, it was subject to vandalism and much of the Swedish population had moved from the vicinity. Relocation was perhaps requested by Swedish organizations, perhaps as a Swedish-American contribution to the U.S. Bicentennial: Vin Linneus belonged to the 18th Century and was a fountainhead of the Enlightenment. Certainly the move had their consent because a large ceremony was held on April 19, 1976 presided over by the King of Sweden, Karl XVI Gustave, and Mayor Daley. Since Linneus was the founder of modern taxonomy and plant nomenclature, it is appropriate that this fine bronze casting and its plinth be located at a great university and become the center of a garden, especially one devoted to reading and enjoyment of winter and summer plants in the midst of the city.

The garden's concept, refreshing people, is 19th century while its design blends turn of the 20th century City Beautiful formalism with curving informality that regained popularity as the 20th century advanced. The garden is supposed to be zeriscapic--using only natural rain--but in 2003 is was continually soaked by the sprinkler system. There were also some problems with pine die-off, corrected by replanting. Olin Partners and Wolff-Clements have a 5-year maintenance contract. Unfortunately, the Park District will not put sprinkling systems in plantings beds.

The district with U of C has largely finished installing and landscaping a second winter garden, to completely open in spring 2009. This is located south of the current one [on a south panel] and is geometric-formal, in line iwtihteh grounds of the Law School (Saarinen and subsequent). Among features are hills, mini walks and a gazebo. The University helped foot the $1.6 million bill for the first Winter Garden and $4 million skating rink.

Summer 2009 will see a new bridge-like gateway Ellis Avenue. This is part of creation of a new mainstreet-spine from the new dorm and future seminary at 61st and Ellis all the way to 55th St. gateway. The street-- and sidewalk even more-- will start to bow out at 60th and 59th, and especially between north and south Midway Plaisance, including with landscaping between stree and walks and new lighting. There will be a thin-picket like fence on either side and a shimmery white material stretching down toward the hollowed out panels to give the illusion of bridge from a distance and illusion of a canal in the Midway from the bridge. This will be funded entirely by the University. Similar treatment for Woodlawn and Dorchester are approved but not yet funded. Under exploration is use of solar panels to power the lighting.

In 2008-9 seveeral panels were being allowed to green-over before soccer is resumed. Major drainage work continues in phases.

 

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Winter Garden

In line with the Midway Framework Plan, the south winter garden is in full bloom. And teh "bridges" are nearly complete at Ellis and at Woodlawn. There were plans for a Children's Interactive Play and Learning Garden, that was to have been located between the Metra/Canadian National tracks and Stony Island Avenue, east of which, just in Jackson Park, is the Perennial Garden. Major concepts for later ("funding opportunities") include a demonstration and community horticultural center, redecorated Metra viaducts, and redecorated cross streets which will suggest the Venetian canal originally envisioned for the Midway by its designer, Frederick Law Olmsted. Just to the west of the Midway in Washington Park is the restored Fountain of Time (1920s) (see pictures in Washington Park) and the Allison Davis Garden (under construction and contract for joint management by the University and the Park District). A large part of the western sunken panels were given drainage (with plans to continue in the central panels this year), raised slightly, and returfed (with limited success) , and the banks planted with tens of thousands of bulbs that should bloom this spring. Landscaping at the skating rink is lovely.

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Picture: Sculpture The Blanik Mountain Knight by Albin Polasek, cast 1949, installed here May 29, 1955. This Sculpture honors Tomas Masaryk (1850-1937), Czech fighter, author, and diplomat, the first president of Czechoslovakia (created after the First World War), who taught briefly at the University in 1902 and 1908. In legend, the knights sleep under Mt. Blanik in Bohemia, waiting to follow St. Wenceslaus into battle in country's hour of need. Thomas' son Jan Masaryk worked in Chicago 1907-13; as foreign minister in 1939 he was thrown out a window or chose to kill himself during the Communist coup of 1949. Czechoslovakia's 2nd president, Edward Benes, lectured at U of C in 1939 after the German takeover.
The sculpture stands at the east end of the main Midway, just west of the Metra tracks at Blackstone Avenue. This area was to have been site of a companion (Creation? Rising Sun?) to Lorado Taft's Fountain of Time just beyond the west end of the Midway. A reflecting pool has more recently been suggested in the Framework Plan process for in front of the platform and pedestal--and some propose a dog walk behind it!

Masaryk statue, east end of Midway Plaisance
Masaryk/Blanik Knight, closer
The Blanik Knight (Masaryk) sculpture in the east panel just west of the tracks. Honors the first president of Czechoslovakia.  

Enjoying the last day of ice skating, 2003. In background: the Warming House/Midway Center (field house) headquarters. Light food, including pizza, is available. There was skating on the Midway almost from the time it opened. January 9, 1957 Hyde Parkers complained to the Park District about the lack of a formal rink on the Midway. Starting in the 70s? the University of the city would flood the panel east of Ellis in cold weather for skating. In the 90s there was a "temporary" rink that left the panel west of Woodlawn in unusable shape each year and whose refrigeration was very messy an noisy. By the late 90s, the University and Park District started planning for a permanent structure with a winter-refrigerated rink and a warming house/park fieldhouse. This opened in 2001.

4 scenes of the Midway Plaisance Skating Rink, the last day of Skating, March, 2003

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Park Programs

Seasonal recreational programs and camps at the Center will be presented here and are available at the park district site, by picking up the quarterly regional &PLAY (see what else is available even at a distance), or calling or e-mailing the Center as at top of page. Wider context: Recreation Directory. A description of a night on the Rink with background context. Spring camp is at Nichols- see schedule there. Summer camp registrations are being taken now and filling up- 3 week-long sessions in August- see below.

Ice skating schedule, reservations 312 745-2470. Fees $4 youth, $5 adults

312 745-2470 or 312 741-PLAY.

Ice Rinks Open this Month
Get out the skates and get ready for winter fun at the Chicago Park District's nine outdoor ice rinks. Most rinks open for the season on Saturday, November 26. Bring your own ice skates and skate for free at all rinks except for The Rink at Wrigley and the indoor rink at McFetridge Sports Center, where admission fees apply. Each site offers skate rentals for various fees and concessions are available at some rinks. Hours vary.

Midway Schedule:

Fee Public skate ($5) Sat 1 pm-9 pm, Sun 12 pm-7 pm.
Free Public skate M-F 12-7 pm.
School out days- Dec 19-Jan 3 2010 12-7.
Lessons ($50). Sat 1/8-1.29 and 2/5-2/26 1w1:30-12:30 and 1-2, Sun 1/9-1/30 and 2/6-2/2710:30-11:30 and 12-1
also Monday 1/10-1/31 or 2/7-2/28 4-5 pm.
Rat Hockey M and W 7-9 $5. (17 and under)
Kids & Dads Sat mornings 9:30-11:30 am, Sun 9-10:30 am.
Holiday: 12/24 12-41.. Christmas closed. New Years, King (1/17), Lincoln (2/11), Presidents (2/21), Pulaski (3/7) 12-7 pm.
Skate with Santa 12/24 4-5 pm.
Disco Night onthe Ice- fast dancing and faster skating- Wed Dec. 29 2010 5-7.
Silver Skates Speed Skating Competition 12/11 4-7 pm.

Reserve the rink for fee: M-F 7-11 pm, Sat 9-11 pm, Sun 7-11 pm $ per hour. 773 745-2470.

Skate sharpening $5, rental $3, Geasr package $1, double for non-Chicago. ID required. Wearing of helmets is required on the rink. SKATE RENTAL IS NOW $6.

Midweek @ The Midway - we hope there will be one for 2015


Midweek @ the Midway - Wednesdays, movies at dusk, sometimes preceded by themed programming such as dance lessons. 1130 E. Midway Plaisance (middle panel between Woodlawn and Ellis), 312 745-2470.

 

Register for camps, etc. online at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com, or in person.

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