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7 Chicago Public Spaces Each To Receive $1.5 Million In Upgrades As Winners Of 'Chicago Works Community Challenge'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Seven Chicago public spaces are getting upgrades worth millions.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Tuesday announced the winners of the Chicago Works Community Challenge. Four parks, two Chicago Public Schools facilities, and one Chicago Public Library branch were each selected for projects worth $1.5 million each.

Community members sent proposals for upgrades.

One of the winners described why a racquetball court facelift at Rainbow Beach Park along the lakefront in South Shore will be a game-changer.

"The revitalization of the court facilities will help us, and it will start by empowering the youth we see - the investment initiative renovating an aging building that will ultimately provide a safe space to host youth, and programs like Racquets at Rainbow," said Carolyn Vazquez, a racquetball advocate and volunteer coach at the park.

The winning proposals were selected in each region of the city. They include:

Matthew Gallistel Language Academy, 10347 S. Ewing Ave. (Far South)
This proposal was submitted by Gallistel school counselor Rogelio Lopez. It will upgrade an antiquated playground with contemporary climbing equipment, landscaping, and recreation areas, and also create new spaces for outdoor teaching and community socializing.

Rainbow Beach Park, 3111 E. 77th St. (South)
This proposal was submitted by Vazquez. It will repair an outdoor handball and racquetball complex with new play surfaces, seating areas, and landscaping. The clubhouse will also be upgraded with improvements to its roof, plumbing, windows, ADA-accessible entrances, and artwork.

Claremont STEM Academy Playground, 2300 W. 64th St. (Southwest)
This proposal was submitted by Layla Treuhaft-Ali, a middle school teacher at the school. It will turn the school's unimproved lawn spaces into a playground with recreation structures for students and neighbors – and outdoor learning opportunities.

Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave. (West)
This proposal was submitted by Samantha Jordan, an Austin neighborhood resident and artist. The plan calls for an outdoor stage at the park for performances and movies, improvements to basketball and tennis courts, landscaping and accessibility improvements, and improvements to natural spaces.

Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave. (North)
This proposal was submitted by Pamela Stauffer, on behalf of the Warren Park Advisory Council. It calls for improvements for activities such as cricket, horseshoes, bocce, and pickleball.

Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave. (Northwest)
This proposal was submitted by Casey Guerra on behalf of the Kelvyn Park Advisory Council. It calls for repairs to the roof of the park fieldhouse and auditorium, overdue building upgrades such as ADA accessibility.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, 3436 S. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. (Central)
This proposal was submitted by Douglas/Bronzeville parent Janell Nelson. The plan calls for renovating the children's section of the library, with a greater focus on Dr. King's legacy in Chicago. The plan also calls for beautifying public spaces both outside and inside the library.

Work on the projects is expected to start late this year or early next.

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