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Jackson Park Community Football Team Holds What They Fear Will Be Their Final Homecoming Game On Field Where Obama Library Set To Be Built

The Wolfpack is a community football team that plays on the field in Jackson Park where the Obama Library will be located, at 61st and Stony Island.

On Sunday at 2:30 p.m. they will be playing their 20th - and what might be their last - homecoming game there.

The Wolfpack is a member of the Obama Library Community Benefits Agreement Coalition.

"Once our field is displaced there will greater demand for less field space, which could push us out of the park," said Wolfpack head coach Ernest Radcliff.

"That is why we are asking for a written Community Benefits Agreement that will put in writing the commitment to replace and improve the parkland and sports fields that we have used for two decades.

"Just like a church, that field is our sanctuary, its where we do mentoring with youth and parents."

Thousands of youth have participated in the Wolfpack Athletic Program over its 20-year history.

The Homecoming will include games for 7- to 9-year-olds starting at 10 a.m., 10- to 11-year-olds starting at 11:30 a.m., 12- to 13-year-olds starting at 1 p.m., and the main event for 13- to 14-year-olds starting at 2:30 p.m.

They are calling this 20th, and maybe last, homecoming in Jackson Park "The Last Ride."


The Wolfpack is a member of the Obama Library CBA Coalition, which is led by the Bronzeville Regional Collective (BRC), Kenwood Oakland Community Org. (KOCO), Prayer and Action Collective (PAC), Southside Together Organizing Power (STOP) - with Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

Allied with Alliance of the Southeast (ASE), Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC), Chicago Jobs Council (CJC), Chicago Women in Trades (CWIT), Metropolitan Tenants Organization (MTO), Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ), the Wolfpack, Woodlawn East Community And Neighbors (WECAN).


See also:

* CBS 2: Obama Library May Displace Young Athletes In Jackson Park.


* Tribune: In Jackson Park, Private Money Begins To Reshape A Public Jewel:

Young football players from some of the city's most violent neighborhoods huddled with their coach in Jackson Park, their white helmets and red jerseys glowing beneath the playing field's high-intensity lamps.

Champions in their local league, the 13- and 14-year-olds in the Wolfpack team had four days to practice for a regional competition in Tennessee. "I don't have time to be playing around," coach Ernest Radcliffe told his team at a recent practice. "If you don't listen, you go home. Hey, let's go. One lap."

For Radcliffe, who has been molding athletes at this site for nearly two decades, the clock is ticking - not just for the next trophy but for the future of his youth sports program.

In a few years, the field where the Wolfpack practices and other parts of Jackson Park are expected to be taken over by a wave of development, including, most notably, the Obama presidential library.



* Why No Community Benefits Agreement For The Obama Library?

* Rhymefest Leads Obama Library CBA Effort.


Comments welcome.


Posted on September 22, 2017

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