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BEACH BLANKET SIT IN... 'There are only two pools within two miles of the beach, Humboldt Park Pool and Smith Park Pool, with a combined capacity of just over 100 swimmers...' Humboldt Park beach protests continue as Park District pools, beaches to open this weekend...

Despite claims by the administratio of Mayor Rahm Emanuel that the famed Humboldt Park Beach can't reopen this weekend when the Chicago Park District opens the city's other beaches and the Park District's swimming pools, protests continue by community activists -- even including Alderman Roberto Maldonado, who is usually an ally of Mayor Emanuel.

One week before they took their protests to the Park District Board, the Humboldt Park protesters held their "Beach Blanket Sit In" at the dry Humboldt Park lagoon in historical Humboldt Park in Chicago. The protesters noted that the draining of the Humboldt Park beach by Mayor Rahm Emanuel follows the closing of public schools in the same community. Substance photo by Kati Gilson. Activists staged another protest and a press conference on June 10, 2015 at the meeting of the Park District Board. The Park District Board members, like the members of the Chicago Board of Education, are all appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Humboldt Park Families Call For Park District to Reopen Historic Community Beach... Prior to Park District Board Meeting Residents Demand Immediate Opening and Long Term Sustainability Plan for Humboldt Park Beach

Grassroots Illinois Action, Blocks Together, Alderman Roberto Maldonados office, and community residents will hold a press conference to demand the Chicago Park District open the now-waterless beach. The press conference will take place prior to the Park District Board of Commissioners meeting where decisions will be made about opening the Humboldt Park Beach this summer. WHAT: Press conference by Grassroots Illinois Action, Blocks Together, and local elected officials to demand Chicago Park District reopen the Humboldt Park Beach. WHEN: Wednesday, June 10, 2015. 3:15pm

WHERE: In front of Chicago Park District 541 N Fairbanks Ct Chicago, IL 60611

WHO: Rousemary Vega, Grassroots Illinois Action, Humboldt Park Resident

Lynda Lopez, Grassroots Illinois Action

Ada Lopez, Longtime Humboldt Park Resident

Kathleen Oskandy , Chief of Staff, Office of Ald. Roberto Maldonado

Dozens of community members from Humboldt Park area

WHY: For 40 years, Humboldt Park Beach has served as one of the greatest summer recreational resources for Humboldt Park, Logan Square and West Town. Less than a month before the rest of Chicagos beaches were set to open, the Chicago Park District (CPD) announced Humboldt Park Beach would be closed for Summer 2015. This announcement came despite the fact that budgetary funding for the beach was approved in December 2014. More than 1800 residents have signed a petition demanding the beach open . Grassroots Illinois Action has received support for reopening the Humboldt Park Beach from Alderman Carlos Rosa (35), Alderman Roberto Maldonado (26), Casa Puertorriquena, and State Senator William Delgado (2).

Humboldt Park Beach brings families, children and teens of all walks of life together at a cool oasis in hot, urban summers. Many families in these areas have limited access to Lake Michigan beaches.

There are only two pools within 2 miles of the beach, Humboldt Park Pool and Smith Park Pool, with a combined capacity of just over 100 swimmers. These pools are not designed for use by young children or non-swimmers. There is only a single water spray feature located within 1 mile of the beach. A dry beach will only increase the number of illegally-opened hydrants. Illegally-opened fire hydrants can gush water at 3000 gallons/minute. Loss of water pressure hurts fire fighting efforts during summer heat waves. Ada Nivia Lopez, daughter of one of the activists instrumental in the creation of the beach, said: "This beach is a family legacy that has been passed down from parents to children for generations. It is an integral part of community life and essential to our children and their children."

Earlier we reported (June 2, 2015):

It was 54 degrees and cloudy, but that did not stop close to 200 children, adults and pets from staging a Sit In at the Humboldt Park Beach to protest the refusal of the Chicago Park District to fill the inland lake in Humboldt Park with water for this beach season. This beach, the only inland one in Chicago, has been a haven for the neighborhood for the past 40 years. A place for children to play, neighbors to meet, chat, cool off and enjoy the outdoors.

Organizer Rousemary Vega stated We are here today because we want our beach

open. Our neighborhood children deserve better than this. According to the Park District Budget Summary, The NFL receives a million dollar break while our kids receive a dry beach. Its absolutely unacceptable and were here to say beach please. The 2015 budget goals includes as revenue sources Special event permits: Increase permit fees by 3%. Improve customer experience by streamlining process for advisory councils and picnics. Increase enforcement efforts to encourage all eligible users to obtain proper permits.

Humboldt Park Beach is Chicago's only inland beach, located on the historic Humboldt Park lagoon. According to the Beach Blanket Sit In Facebook event page, the reasons for and purpose of the sit in are as follows:

We have no water yet, but this community is demanding our beach! Bring your towels, your toys and your voice to say to the Chicago Park District: For 40 years, Humboldt Park Beach has served as one of our neighborhood's best summer resources. The beach brings diverse families, children and teens together from Humboldt Park, Logan Square and West Town as an oasis in hot urban summers.

--For many families a $12 trip to Lake Michigan on public transit, at least 40 minutes each way by bus, isnt a realistic option.

--The Humboldt Park Pool only has room for a limited number swimmers and doesnt have a shallow end for little kids. Only a single water spray feature is within a mile of the beach.

--A dry beach will only increase the number of illegally opened hydrants--wasting water at 3000/ gallons per minute, endangering fire-fighting efforts and costing the city.

--The Chicago Park District already voted to approve a budget that INCLUDED our beach!

Tell the Chicago Park District to put children first: Open Humboldt Park Beach Now!

Create a sustainable plan for more years of beach enjoyment!

While children played, numerous people spoke passionately for their beach. Rashaun Howard, Benjamin Barnes, Johnny Diaz and Hernando Gray came because they are trying to see why there is no water at the beach. They said they need the beach for fun. Gray, who has a seven year old said they come to the beach regularly. They all expressed concerns that riots would break out if the beach remains closed, especially as the temperature increases.

Morgan Halstead talked about the importance of the beach to the community. They have two demands, open the park as scheduled this year and spend next year working on a sustainable beach plan. Amy Vega, Humboldt Park Advisory Council Member, talked about insufficient staffing at the park and that the budget for the water has already been calculated in the the Chicago Park District Budget yet, the Park District Board voted to close the beach. According to the Chicago Park District Summary: The Chicago Park District Aquatics Unit is recognized as the leading provider for Learn to Swim lessons amongst public institutions in the United States. The Unit manages 1,150+ aquatics personnel, 49 outdoor seasonal swimming pools, 27 natatoriums, 26 miles of lakefront including 24 beaches, 1 inland beach, as well as, services 27 Chicago Public School aquatic facilities. The lifeguard service has been acknowledged by the American Red Cross as one of the leading providers of aquatics safety training and education in the Midwest.

The inland beach being the one at Humboldt Park. Also, the 2015 Park District Appropriations Budget: The Chicago Park District Aquatics Unit is recognized as the leading provider for Learn to Swim lessons amongst public institutions in the United States. The Unit manages 1,150+ aquatics personnel, 49 outdoor seasonal swimming pools, 27 natatoriums, 26 miles of lakefront including 24 beaches, 1 inland beach, as well as, services 27 Chicago Public School aquatic facilities. The lifeguard service has been acknowledged by the American Red Cross as one of the leading providers of aquatics safety training and education in the Midwest.

Halstead also talked about the loss of funding from therapy district yet almost every park has gained funding. Considering the average of Humboldt Park, she said this makes no sense. She also said that not all the playgrounds bathrooms are open and those that are open arent cleaned regularly. They have submitted four FYOA (Freedom of information act) requests to get the details on the $1,000,000 that is supposed to be allocated to the beach. She also said putting the beach on Chicago Public Schools schedule, would reduce some cost by having less days. This would follow a truncated schedule like the Chicago Public Schools.

Generally the beach opens on fathers day and closes Labor Day. In comparison Oak Park pools open Memorial Day weekend and close Labor Day weekend.

Janette Gilmartin, Community Psychiatrist and Occupation Therapist is from Scotland. She talked about the necessity of the beach for the community, not only the able bodied residents, but the physically and mentally handicapped as well. She described how difficult it can be for someone suffering from depression or other mental illnesses to make the extra effort to get to a further location. She talked about the importance of having the beach as a refuge during summer months to relieve parents and children from the stifling heat that often plagues apartment dwellers.

Children need to play she said and People need to take care of each other.

Accessibility to other Chicago resources, including Lake Michigan is very difficult for many people in the neighborhood. She talked about the skills the children learn at the beach including making friends, sharing and cooperating. The beach is a great opportunity for the children to develop and practice their social skills. Her young son also spoke. I havent been to this beach in a long time. I think they should have this beach cause sea weed is my favorite food and theres sea weed in this beach.

Later on a child came up with sea weed, in her hand, as proof.

According to the 2015 Chicago Parks District Budget Summary, the 1928 Humboldt Park Field House was restored in 2014 through significant building improvements including roof, concrete, masonary and infrastructure replacement. Humboldt Park houses a solar and wind turbine filtration system to aide in lagoon maintenance.

Many young children spoke about the importance of the beach. Jesus said I never really got to see this beach and I want to see it. He left the microphone in tears. Lincoln, wearing a bright green inner tube said I havent been here in a very long time. Lincoln, is getting ready to start kindergarten. olive, wearing a spiderman hoodie said I like to play in the beach, and Olivia stated I like the beach because I dont know how to swim and I havent had swimming lessons yet.

Jasper said I want to swim in this beach this summer and use my floaties.

Children were busy making sand castles, stomping in the small amount of water in the lake, having snacks and enjoying themselves despite the cool temperature. Cookies and juice were in abundance and not a tear in sight. Evidence of making new friends, sharing, cooperating were in evidence as they made new friends, took turns sharing pails and shovels, helped each other when things went wrong and shared their cookies.

Even the dogs were enjoying the beach, making new friends, digging in the sand and just hanging out with their owners. Social skill development at its finest.

According to the Sun Times, as reported byMaureen ODonnell, they Reached Sunday, parks spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner responded via email, saying the district is considering not opening the Humboldt Park man-made beach this summer because it costs $1 million in treated water that needs to be re-filled when it seeps out. The district wants more sustainable forms of recreation, such as a new soccer field, and the park already has a pool, she said.

Residents say the park already has a soccer field. And, its hard to get into the pool, because its small and has an attendance limit, said Heather Haskins, a college instructor, and her husband, Roger Guerrero, who identified himself as a spice importer. They live in the 1000 block of North St. Louis Avenue with their children, 12 and 7.

Organizers of Sundays protest urged residents to attend an upcoming meeting of the park district to press for re-opening the beach.

In 2014 & 2015, the LIFE GUARD-SEASONAL budget was 6,239 hours 6,239 costing $83,484 in 2014 and $86,653 in 2015. There is also a SHALLOW WATER ATTENDANT (S) for 2014 & 2015 budgeted for 1,080 hours in 2014 and 2015 costing $11,189 in 2014 and $11,613in 2015. They had a SR LIFEGUARD-SEASONAL position in 2014 budgeted at $1200.00 but in the 2015 there is no budget for this position.

Last month, a Park District spokesman told DNAinfo reporter Darryl Holliday all of the city's beaches were "scheduled to open as planned."

But that changed Monday night,May 12, when Park District Director of Planning and Construction Rob Rejman said there are currently no plans to re-open the Humboldt Park beach, which is now dry. Rejman said the cost of water maintenance for the beach, just short of $1 million a year, is high. But he could not provide a breakdown of the total costs associated with keeping the beach open. http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150513/humboldt-park/humboldt-park-beach-likely-wont- open-this-year-neighbors-furious



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