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Neighborhoods Beckon with Summer Activities

Knowing that Chicago summers are short and winters long can generate some urgency to get outdoors once the weather turns warm. Fortunately, LISC’s neighborhood partners are organizing their usual full schedules of activities, including Hoops in the Hood, the Jazz Festival at Seward Park, food markets and PlayStreets.

Hoops in the Hood engages young people in 14 neighborhoods in an adult-supervised street basketball program that encourages fitness, teamwork and lots of fun. 

Alex Fledderjohn

Hoops in the Hood

Every week from June through August, 14 neighborhoods will close off streets and turn out crowds for Hoops in the Hood, a street basketball program first developed as an anti-violence strategy by The Resurrection Project in 1999. Each week, youth ages 8 to 19 play basketball, participate in arts and other activities, and enjoy a barbeque with their family members. Download the full schedule here.

More than 12,000 have participated in the supervised activities since 2006, practicing teamwork, sportsmanship and nonviolence. The all-stars of each community-based league will square off in the 8th Annual Hoops in the Hood Cross-City Tournament on August 23, 2014 at Seward Park, sponsored by State Farm

Five weeks of jazz

The Jazz Festival at Seward Park brings people together on the Near North Side for a series of five outdoor concerts with well-known local artists and food. The concerts are free and attract people from all over the city, so get there early to pick the perfect spot. The series is hosted by Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. and sponsored by the Near North Unity Program in partnership with AlCarter-Bey and the Chicago Park District. Download the flier with dates and performers. 

The Jazz Festival at Seward Park on the Near North Side will feature five free outdoor concerts with well-known local artists and food. 

                                                                                                                                Eric Young Smith

Fresh food markets

Many neighborhoods across the city hold regular farmers markets and specialty markets, including the Garfield Park Fresh Food Neighborhood Market, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second Saturday of each month (July 12, Aug. 9, Sept. 13) at Lake and Kedzie, next to the Green Line station. That market, sponsored by  the Garfield Park Community Council, is accepting applications for vendors and entertainment.

See the full schedule of neighborhood and downtown markets on the City of Chicago website. 

Sports and games

This year’s PlayStreets program will convert streets around the city into safe, supervised spaces for sports, games and other group activities. Neighborhood partners collaborate with area residents, schools, churches, police, local businesses, and block clubs to develop and execute the programming, often on streets closed to auto traffic. There will be a total of 75 events across 10 neighborhoods, with a goal of serving 12,500 residents. The events are sponsored by the Chicago Department of Public Health. Gads Hill Center, the Active Transportation Alliance, World Sport Chicago and LISC Chicago are coordinating this year’s events on behalf of CDPH, working with more than 20 grassroots community partners. 

PlayStreets this summer will convert streets in 10 neighborhoods into safe, supervised spaces for sports, games and other group activities. Seventy-five events are expected to attract 12,500 residents.

Gordon Walek

Designed to address health disparities in select Chicago neighborhoods, PlayStreets breaks down barriers that prevent families from getting out and exercising. Parents and youth participate together in what looks like a neighborhood playground. At the end of the day neighbors have connected, children played safely, and lots of calories were burnt.

See the City of Chicago website for full schedules for PlayStreets in the North and South Regions. 

"Our partners have created some really enjoyable summer traditions to bring people together," said Keri Blackwell, deputy director at LISC Chicago. "These are great opportunities to have some fun while building stronger relationships among neighbors."

Posted in Placemaking, East Garfield Park, Near North Side


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Local Initiatives Support Corporation Chicago connects neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier.

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