27th Ward Residents,
On September 8, 2020 the Richard T. Crane (RTC) Medical Prep High School Track and Athletic Field was closed due to repeated safety violations of the Restore Illinois - Phase 4 Plan. There were repeated instances where visitors were not wearing masks, practicing social distancing, or adhering to the other safety precautions and protocols. The track and field at RTC Medical Preparatory High School is owned and maintained by the Board of Education/Chicago Public Schools.
In March 2020, all CPS playgrounds and playlots were closed due to COVID-19. As a courtesy to the community, I kept the track and field open throughout the shutdown and Phases 2-4. After a while, the area became a space for neighbors who wanted to jog or exercise on the field. I understand that the field was utilized by many to promote healthy activities, however the use of the space for personal and group training, dog walking, picnics, and other recreational activities is not permitted. Utilizing the space to conduct organized fitness activities, events and large practices requires a permit and must be accompanied with a valid Certificate of Insurance and approval by the Chicago Public Schools Department of Risk Management.
I would be happy to reopen the field if it is utilized in a way that keeps everyone safe and the area free of debris, animal excrement, and vandalism. As a community, it is imperative that we work together to keep the areas in our neighborhood beautiful so we can continue to use them for many years to come. I'm open to working with a group of community members to create signage and develop hours for usage for the field. Please note, that when the school reopens fully the use of the space will be primarily for the students. Again, the closure of the track and athletic field was to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone. Hopefully, we can all work together to make this area a safe space for our community.
Fareeda Shabazz Anderson