The Latin School of Chicago approached the Park District several years ago and negotiated a controversial deal. The Latin School would contribute funds to build a new soccer field on park land in exchange for the right to use it for at certain times. The overture was one of many in recent years that have been effectively eating away at the public status of the parks. But the private school that already has so much had to have more.
The school had long played its soccer matches in the public parks, but was tired of using grounds it considered so poor.
Now, two million dollars later, there is a really beautiful lighted playing field in a plum location in south Lincoln Park that the Latin School uses for its athletic program. The Park District also uses the field for children’s recreational programs in the summer, and in the evenings it’s not unusual to see men dressed for soccer getting out of cabs and heading over to the field.
Political deals loom large in our culture, casting a shadow on otherwise innocent scenes. Beautiful in itself, the playing field nonetheless reminds us of something uneven.