TLDR: The Commercial Park Advisory Council (yes,”CPAC”- not to be confused with a political action anything) is a small but mighty group of volunteers raising funds to support our parks, and throwing REALLY AWESOME neighborhood events. What do we really want for the holidays? MORE VOLUNTEERS! (Donations are fabulous and very much appreciated, too!) Contact us to get involved!
Stay in touch with CPAC and subscribe to our RSS feed, found near the bottom of this page. Also follow us on social media! (Read: Facebook, maybe Twitter…)
The Commercial Park Advisory Council meets on the third Monday of the month at 6:30 p.m. Our meetings are currently remote. If you would like to attend, please email us for the meeting link.
2021-2022 CPAC Officers
- President: Michelle Hitsch
- Vice President: Devina Dhawan
- Secretary: Grant Bosnich
- Treasurer: Amy Bilton
A Brief History
Commercial Park Advisory Council
Chicago Park District’s budget is limited, and often fails to cover the items Commercial Park has on its wish list. CPAC is made of up volunteers who meet regularly to support the effective functioning of Commercial Park. CPAC offers community events (such as our Halloween and Holiday Parties); promotes better community utilization of the Chicago Park District’s programs and facilities; provides communication to the Chicago Park District on matters relating to their parks; increases community awareness of Chicago Park District projects; provides the community with a vehicle through which park information can be shared; and assists in locating alternate funding sources to enhance park facilities. CPAC welcomes all of Commercial Park’s patrons to participate in our advisory council.
For an historic timeline of CPAC events, click here!
Commercial Club Playground History
Concerns about the lack of playgrounds in congested parts of the city spurred the Commercial Club of Chicago to create a small park in the West Town neighborhood in 1903. A prominent and influential business organization, the club participated in various projects to improve and beautify the city, including sponsoring Daniel H. Burnham’s seminal 1909 Plan of Chicago. For the playground project, club members donated $10,000, the largest gift for such an effort at the time. The park was named Lincoln Playground, for adjacent Wolcott Avenue, previously known as Lincoln Street. In 1906, the club donated the park to the City of Chicago, stipulating that it be named in honor of the Commercial Club, and that the name never be changed again. The Commercial Club remained active in supporting this and other playgrounds for many years. It donated $1,000 for an ornamental fence around Commercial Club Park in 1908, and made annual $200 gifts to provide prizes for athletic contests and competitions in numerous municipal parks.
When Commercial Club Park first opened to the public, it included playground equipment, sand courts, a shelter house, and a playfield that was flooded for skating in the winter. By 1938, the city had constructed a fieldhouse in the park, providing a gymnasium and play room. The city transferred the site to the Chicago Park District along with more than 250 properties in 1959. In 1980, the park district rehabilitated the fieldhouse and enlarged Commercial Club Park by acquiring and demolishing an adjacent electric sub-station.