Thanks to a generous donation from the Chicago Cubs, the 640 students at Greeley Elementary now have daily access to top-quality playground equipment.
Chicago Cubs Charities recently donated $25,000 to improve the play space at Greeley, which is the closest neighborhood school to historic Wrigley Field. The playground was officially unveiled on Thursday, with Cubs representative Connie Falcone and 46th Ward Alderman James Cappleman joining parents, staff and students for a special ceremony.
After some words of thanks from Greeley principal Carlos Azcoitia, and a boisterous rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” by Greeley’s kindergarten class, the ribbon was cut and the playground officially dedicated.
“We are very grateful to the Chicago Cubs for their generosity,” said Principal Azcoitia. “We would not have been able to reach this goal without their support.”
The quest for a new playground began two years ago when parents and LSC members identified it as an urgent need. Greeley’s play structure was in need of significant repairs, and was not large enough to accommodate the school’s growing population.
“We wanted all of our students to have access to physical activity every day,” said Principal Azcoitia, “but our play structure could not accommodate our rising enrollment. And it was not an ideal play area for our youngest students.”
The plan was to repair the existing structure for use by the older students and create a whole new play area for children in Pre-K and kindergarten. All of this was made possible by Chicago Cubs Charities, which funded both the restoration and expansion of the playground.
“We are thrilled to contribute to Greeley’s mission of promoting health and wellness and encouraging students to maintain a healthy lifestyle,” said Chicago Cubs Charities Vice-President of Development Connie Falcone. “Greeley is right in our neighborhood, and we’re happy to be good neighbors and enhance the Lakeview community.”
The new play area aligns with Chicago Cubs Charities’ mission to promote exercise among children, and with Pillar 1 of CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett’s 5-Year Action Plan, which recognizes the need for physical activity for intellectual and social development.
“We know how important it is that our students be able to run, jump and play in a safe way,” said Principal Azcoitia. “The Full School Day has allowed us to lengthen our recess periods, and thanks to the Cubs, we now have a wonderful environment in which to let our kids play.”