A wonderful Nichols/Murray shared use gym and class/meetings facility graces Hyde Park on 53rd. Programs

This page is brought to you by the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference, its Parks Committee and website www.hydepark.org, with assistance of Nichols Park Advisory Council, an affiliate committee of HPKCC. Photographs copyright George Rumsey and Gary Ossewaarde.

Nichols Park home. Fieldhouse Dedication and prospectus. Nichols North End planning and construction. The addition and park planning. Views and more


Programs and registration

CPD is now using the PayPal online payment
system. Before you register online for one of our fall classes, we encourage
you to review the new screens and review our Q&A about the new system. You can
do this by copying and pasting the web address below into your web browser:

You can view program offerings online starting February 11. To do this, copy and paste the
web address below into your web browser:

Summer camps 2008:

Nichols. 1355 E. 53rd St. 773 747-2703. Basketball ages 13-17 F 6-8 pm 6/23-8/1 $2 per. Bitty Basketball ages 6-7 M and W 6-7 pm $25. Day Camp ages 6-12 M-F 10 am-4 pm $195 5 weeks. Extended 8 am-6 pm ages 6-12 $325. Hip Hop 6-8 pm $20. Softfall ages 10-12 Tu and Th 6-7 pm $10. Sports ages 8-12 M-F 8-6 p, 3 weeks $75.

Current programs include Pom-Pom cheerleading for ages 5-8. Call the fieldhouse for details, Also Champion Youth Outreach at 847-759-0576, http://www.championyouth.net.

Hip-Hop classes for ages 9 and older. Same org. as above.

After School Park Kids $180
Card Games for over 50 free
Fun and games for ages 3-5 $20
Early Childhood Receation 18-36 mo $10
Jazzercise 18+ $35
Stretching 18+ free
Early Childhood Gymnastics tumbling 2 sessions 3-5 uo, $20
Hip Hop 13-17 $20
Jazz dance 6-12 $60
Line 50+ $10
Musci and MOvement 2 sections 3-5 $20
Basketball fee per visit sections 18+ and 13-17, pus instrutcion section for 10-12 $10
Bitty basketball for 6-9 $40
Cheerleading 6-12 female $40
Flag Football 11-12 $10
Floor Hockey 9-10 and 11-12 $30
Arts and crafts sections for 3-5 and 6-12


The new facility on 53rd in Nichols Park opened January 5, 2004. Initial programming was basic but ample. Heather Kelly, Supervisor, has ideas for additional programming for all ages, and programs were rapidly expanding in spring, as shown at an Open House held March 26, 2004. Kelly and the council welcome more ideas. Spring registration is open, classes started March 29 through early April. Summer registration about to open. This includes for the Summer Sport Camp in August, shared with Midway. Call the fieldhouse at 312 747-2703.

[Note: Nichols needed support to stop erosion of staff in light of increasing program demand from both parents and the Park District. Keeping outstanding staff is sometimes difficult--they want to advance and the district needs the best supervising parks and programs. Limited space is also a problem. Budgets have been increased.
Views and report of Formal dedication Saturday, April 3, 2004, 12 pm. With Mayor Daley.


Tumblers win at Mayor's Holiday Sports Fest, 2nd at Minneapolis in next level, some went to Disney World mid-March. This was followed by a spectacular, well-attended Nichols Gym Showcase in early April.

Part of the Twisters team with Ald. Preckwinkle, at March 19, 2005 dedic. of Bird of Peace

Kelly Smith placed first in level 4 ages 8-10. Nichols also participated in volleyball even though it doesn't yet have teams (coming this winter).

Nichols now offers over 15 classes and programs (see below). The afterschool program is so popular parents often from miles away, waited in line at 4 in the morning to register kids. Spring camp is already almost full so don't delay. Call for summer registration days--camps etc. fill almost at once.

Ald. Toni Preckwinkle and some of the Twisters tumbling-cheerleading team at the Eggstravaganza March 19.

Coverage and prospect, program development and idea-seeking

From the HPKCC Conference Reporter, Spring 2004

By Gary Ossewaarde

The fieldhouse already hosts many programs for tots and children, teens, and adults. Schedule adjustments have already been made. Programs include fitness (soon to include yoga), sports, gymnastics , crafts, and environmental stewardship.

Partnerships include programs with Chicago's museums in the parks, Bally's Fitness, Second City, and Hyde Park Art Center. Residents come in every day to ask for new or more programs and classes in the gym or multipurpose rooms. No such single facility can fill the whole need for a "neighborhood center," but, with other facilities such a the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and the Jewish Community Center, it already serves well.

The program committee of the Nichols Park Advisory Council seeks community input for the programs in the park and sees that the needs are met for ongoing and future Nichols Park Council programs such as the "4th on 53rd Parade and Picnic" and the formal garden and wildflower work by Hyde Park Garden Fair [and Meadowlarks] volunteers. These includes matters as simple as seeing that building facilities are open and accessible when needed. The Program Commitee...asks that program ideas be sent to George Davis at gw.davis@ezi.net.

The Nichols Park Council is busy overseeing the needs of the whole park and making sure the gardens and plaza outside the fieldhouse addition are serviceable, beautiful, and meld well with the older parts of the park. We are proud that most of the members of the Council are also members of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and some are HPKCC board members. The council meets second Thursdays at the Fieldhouse at 7 pm. If you have questions, call Stephanie Franklin at (773) 955-3622.

New Nichols-Murray parks building open and bursting at the seams

Hyde Park Herald, December 24, 2003. By Mike Stevens.

Five years after planning began, the long-anticipated Nichols Park-Murray School addition will open on Jan. 5, 2004. The new 15,000-square-foot facility will offer after-school programs, expanded public park space and community meeting space on afternoons and weekends.

"The...expansion has given us the opportunity to provide organized programming," said Regina Hayes of the park district.

The building, located at the north end of Nichols Park at 53rd street and Kenwood Avenue, boasts a full-size gym and will be staffed by up to 10 employees depending on the season—including a park supervisor, a first for the park. Park supervisor Heather Kelly expects the afterschool programming to draw 40 kids to start. "We're starting off very slow and everything will build," said Kelly.

As a shared park-school facility, the building will be used by Murray students during school hours and will open for public use in the afternoon and weekends. It is one of a growing number of "multi-use faculties" the park district shares with the Board of Education, according to Hayes. "I think it's a stroke of genius," said Murray principal Katherine Konopasek, "Why build two when you can build one?"

As landscape crews hustled last week to prep the grounds for the opening, Hyde Park retiree Kay Nunnally surveyed the site while walking her dog. "Looks like they're doing some nice landscaping," she commented. But members of the Nichols Park Advisory Council respectfully disagree.

They complain that landscaping at the building's northwestern entrance disregards a plan they spent months developing. Council members also point to changes in the size an shape of the planters—seemingly a small issue they admit, but taken together, the changes eliminate almost 1,500 square feet of open space. That space was designed to draw the community into the park, not funnel them through rigid paths, said council president Stephanie Franklin.

"It should be a space that could be used for events. For a little book fair. A mini art fair...like a town square," said Franklin.

In other park news, Nichols Park swing sets believed to have been stolen are only being repaired, according to park officials. Also, locked tennis courts will now remain open after complaints from fearless winter tennis players. The courts were closed after users failed to clean up after their dogs. A regular tennis instructor for the park will be available sometime in the new year. ...

For more information or to sign up for programs at the Murray-Nichols addition, call 312 747-7661, or visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.


2005 park staff budget

Southeast Region park No. 2077. Some staff was lost.

Salary and Wages 2004 $89,105, 2005 $127,021
Personnel Service total- 2004 $93,126, 2005 $144, 021
Special Program- 2004 $11,020, 2005 $10,910
Total Program- 2004 $104,146, 2005 $154,931

Physical Instructor 2004 FTE 0, 2005 1 at $37,778
Park Super of Recreation 1 1 2004 $47,232, 2005 $47,467
Total 2004 $47,232, 2005 $85,245

Attendant seasonal 2004 hrs 0, 2005 302 2004 $0, 2005 $3,1444
Physical Instr seasonal- moved to FTE (above) with envelopment of 780 hrs at $10,000
Rec leader day camp 2004 825 hrs, 2005 1,040 hrs, 2004 $7,395, 2005 $9,705
Rec leader 1,560 hrs same, 2004 $114,476, 2005 $15,082
Spec rec activity 2004 hrs 780, 2005 1,040, 2004 $10,000, 2005 $13,865
Total 2004 hrs 3,945, 2005 hrs 3,942, 2004 $41,871, 2005 $41,776.


Nichols Park Fieldhouse and park Programs

Registration is via www.chicagoparkdistrict.com.

Fall 2006 registration opens online August 14, in person August 19. Programs include after school, Early childhood recreation and gymnastics, dance, Holiday event (Pumpkin Patch Oct. 7), basketball, hockey, wrestling, and decorative arts.

Hours of Operation 1:30 pm-9:30 pm , Saturdays 9-5? 312 747-2703. 1355 E. 53rd St. The fieldhouse will be fully staffed, including 6 recreation leaders in the summer. There will also be security. The facility will be open mornings programs or rentals are scheduled. The gym is not open to the public during school hours and may occasionally be preempted by school events. Initial programs are the basic ones that have proven popular and workable in Region parks but don't duplicate specialized programs in programmed Region parks. More programs have been steadily added; the supervisor, Heather Kelly, and Nichols Park Advisory Council welcome your suggestions. Ms. Kelly will also be seeking volunteers, especially with certifications useful in tutoring and leading/instructing children. Major partnerships, such as with Bally's, Hyde Park Art Center, Second City, and Twisters have been created and some major programs such as Junior Earth Team and Park Voyagers moved to Nichols.

In addition, in season a tennis pro is expected to be assigned to give lessons in the park.

773 747-2703, 312 742-PLAY or www.chicagoparkdistrict.com for registration, information.

A sampler: Spring break camp (combine staff and alternate dominance of open slots with Midway)

Get fit at Nichols Park:

Zen Mu Kwan Martial Arts Thursday 6:30-7:30, Saturday 10:30-12:30 $75 all ages. Call Solomon Smith II at Nichols, 312 747-2703

Cardio-Kickboxing Tuesday, Thursday 6-7 $35 18+

Winter 2005 example

Note: the basketball is now league, not open.
Fees range from free or $2 per session to 30, 75, most is $100 (three months of after school programs)

Spring Break Camp
Clubs- Checkers, Chess, Teen, Teen Gym
Early Childhood Recreation- Play School, Just For Me
Self Defense- Karate
Early Childhood Gymnastics- Twinkle Stars , Tumble Rumble
Dance- Music and Movement (2 sessions), Pre-School Dance
After School Park Kids
Basketball partnerships- Sonny Parker and Men's
Cheerleading- regular and Chicago Twisters
Season Sports- Soccer, AYSO Soccer partnership
Women's Volleyball



Other programs or details- examples of times etc.

Early Childhood Recreation: Cut-N-Paste Class.

Chicago Twisters Allstars

An all-star competition girls cheer and dance team combining cheer, dance, tumbling and stunting .Teamed by age and skill. Coached by NCSSE and NFHS certified/CPR trained coaches. Practices at Nichols Monday and Wednesday 6-8.
www.Chicagotwisters.com, 773 363-3300 for 2004-5 tryout info.


Park Voyagers--and its FREE!

Park Voyagers c/o Museums in the Parks, 104 S. Michigan Ave, Suite 521, Chicago, IL 60603. 323 857-76560, Fax 312 443-9030. www.parkvoyagers.org

Kids- and now families- for creative exploration

The heart is an evening dinner w talk and workshop centered around a museum and a weekend field trip to that museum.

"This spring we've introduced the Pak Voyagers to your children [Phase I: The Afterschool Program-12 weeks]. They've had a great time making art out of recycled materials, experiencing the life cycle of a star, learning about wetlands, prairies and animals native to Chicago, and taking Saturday field trips to three museums.

Next fall, by popular demand, we are introducing a version of Park Voyagers for you and your entire family. Once a month for three months the museums will conduct workshops at your park and host field trips that will give your family inside information about what's going on at Chicago's world-famous museums."

Benefits include free dinner on workshop nights, free transport to the museums, behind-the-scenes, tips on family trips and other incl. of museums in family life schedule.

Also, upon completion, free passes to 9 museums! Invitations to special Park Voyagers activities at the Museum, quarterly newsletter.

Workshops meet once a month at Nichols Park on Thursday evenings, 6-8. Field trips are on the following Saturday 10:30-1:30. One adult must be present at each event. Dates to be set after registration opens.

Registration opens August 16. 312 747-2703.

Watch later for Phases 3 and 4: The Exploration Continues: Once a month 12-months then ongoing, one museum will host a special, families will receive a newsletter, then free passes to the museums.

54 parks are participating thanks to funding from the museums, National Endowment for the Arts, Joyce Foundation, Field Foundation of Illinois, and Kraft Foods.

The nine participating museums (the Museums in the Parks) are Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Historical Society, DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum, Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Shedd Aquarium.


JETS - call 773 742-4967. A Com Ed Exelon partnership; with KidStart

Note: recruitment is normally done through schools, so go to your counselor and fill out the application including essay carefully.Call the number above for more information.

The Junior Earth Team is taking up residence in Nichols Park! JETS brings together teen communities, educates them to make responsible environmental choices, and empowers them to make change in their world. It provides teens aged 14-17 with hands-on conservation and environmental experiences that help them gain an appreciation of their local natural areas and learn about how their choices impact he world around them.

The program uses many methods to create a well-rounded teen experience including adventure recreation, team building, and art all within the environment. By working together we learn to better ourselves and the world around us. We examine political, ethical,a nd social issues as well as ways in which the humanities are related to nature.

Program goals:

This program involves leadership, mentoring, developing projects to benefit the host park.

Where? Humboldt, Jackson, Nichols, Margate, and River Parks

Summer Segment. July 6-August 15 2004. Each summer, the JETs complete a conservation curriculum, travel on exciting field trips, and perform rewarding stewardship projects. JET meets 25 hours per wee, 12:30-5 pm Monday-Friday for 6 weeks, with 100 paid positions available ranging from trainee to apprentice to intern, pay depending on age and experience. (Paid positions are not guaranteed by school-segment completion.)

School-year segment. Groups continue on a smaller scale throughout the school year. Bi-monthly activities are planned, including outdoor recreation, guest presenters, and monthly field trips. Most importantly, teens can earn Chicago Public School service learning credits when they participate in JET trips.


AYSO at Nichols Park: Hyde Park-Kenwood American Youth Soccer Organization (Region 751).

Spring 2004 registration is over; look for the next at Nichols, Ancona School. Visit the local website, AYSO751.org. Hotline 773 324-KICK. Bring to registration birth certif or passport, health ins. card, parent photo ID, parent volunteer enthusiasm!

1100 boys and girls aged 4 1/2 to 19 in the fastest growing aerobic team sport in the country.
AYSO: Safe, Fun, Fair:

AYSO Adult Amateur League. Registers and plays at Jackson Park noon. $30