After Kerry Wood retired from the Chicago Cubs, he decided to open a state-of-the-art ballpark for Chicago Public League athletes and Chicago residents through his Wood Family Foundation. “Kerry Wood Cubs Field will be a special place for our community for years to come. Having been drafted out of high school, I know the importance of having a place to play. Keeping baseball alive in our city is something that is close to my heart. I’m excited for our kids to play under the lights and start their own dreams. Anything is possible,” Wood said.
Groundbreaking ceremony (Photography by Steve Green, Wood Family Foundation)
Unfortunately, the construction of the ballpark was halted abruptly in 2013 when contamination was discovered due to the site’s former use as a brickyard. After nearly a year of environmental testing and liaison with the Illinois EPA (IEPA), the project is back on track thanks to Governor Quinn agreeing to fund $2 million in clean-up costs.
“This project is a great example of the work we do every day to improve Illinois communities by cleaning up contaminated sites to benefit residents and young people,” IEPA Director Lisa Bonnett said.
Kerry Wood Cubs Field will be built on a property located at 3457 N. Rockwell St. The state’s investment, through the IEPA, will fund the removal of contaminated soil, followed by site grading and leveling.
The Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs Charities, Wood Family Foundation, City of Chicago, Chicago Park District, Chicago Public Schools and Turner Construction will together contribute an additional $5 million to complete the stadium project. When completed, Kerry Wood Cubs Field will have a capacity of 1,100 spectators. It will be owned and operated by the Chicago Park District and be used by Chicago public high school teams, recreational leagues, and the general public.
Artist rendering of Kerry Wood Cubs Field