On Tuesday the Chicago Community Development Commission unanimously voted in favor of a ground lease agreement that will allow the Boys & Girls Club of America to build a new 18,000-square-foot community and youth education center near the border of West Garfield Park and West Humbolt Park. 

The new facility will be located next to the Joint Public Safety Training Campus—an $85 million police and fire training academy under construction along the 4400 block of West Chicago Avenue. The city will lease the property for the Boys & Girls Club for $1 per year for 55 years and has the option for two 10-year extensions.

The $8 million privately-funded building will rise two stories and includes a welcome center, art and science classrooms, an NBA-sized gymnasium, a public plaza, and a small commercial kitchen. Local youth participated in a series of community workshops to determine the kinds of programs the club will offer, such as after-school services, daycare, summer camps, fitness classes, and more.

Chicago Department of Planning and Development

Chicago Planning Commissioner Maurice Cox commended the project for being the first new Boys & Girls Club in a generation and the collaborative planning process. "I was most impressed watching young people shape the facility that they will call their own," said Cox.

The ground lease for the project will next go before the Chicago City Council for final approval. The new Boys & Girls Club is expected to open in the second quarter of 2023. The site will also be home to two restaurants, a Peach's and a Culver's, which will open by the end of 2022. 

Chicago Department of Planning and Development