Broadway Armory Rededication

Vol. XVIII No. 4 - FALL/WINTER 2007

A lot has been happening inside the Broadway Armory because of the efforts of many leaders in our community and our elected representatives. Just stop by and take a look. In a word, Fantastic.

On Saturday, December 1st, the community came together to celebrate working together. Not surprisingly, the major media chose to ignore the event. The occasion was a celebration of the completion of Phase 1 of the redevelopment of the Broadway Armory which is under the control of the Chicago Park District. Five million dollars was spent making the building both more attractive and more useful. The money was well spent – putting in new flooring and recreating the original skylights. The new colors and floor in the lobby create a warm and welcoming look. New on the first floor is an expanded weight room and a special room set aside for seniors.

The main floor of the gigantic gym, which was once a community roller rink, now has a special active area for gymnastics, as well as space for basketball and volleyball. In the hallways, you will find historic photographs from 1938, when neighbor Fred Leiser ran the roller rink and some other action shots from the 1920s. The second floor Ballroom is completely redecorated with historic lighting, the return of the skylights and a new kitchen and nearby bathrooms. This room will be available for community members to rent for events.

Shepherding this project is Chicago Park District Superintendent Tim Mitchell, who first became active on its behalf in the 1970s under the leadership of Kathy Osterman. Mitchell acted as M.C. for this event, which was hosted by Harry Osterman, Kathy’s son, who is now State Representative for part of Edgewater. He brought pressure to bear in the State of Illinois to get funds to rehab the building. Added to those funds were the funds that U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky was able to dedicate to the project. Alderman Mary Ann Smith worked with all the various groups to create connections for the 48th ward in this valuable project.