Gender Segregation Nixed at McKinley Park Pool

Published April 10, 2018

The McKinley Park Advisory Council has worked with representatives from the Chicago Park District to eliminate the practice of gender-segregated swimming times at the McKinley Park pool. At the council meeting on Monday, April 9, representatives from the Chicago Park District attended to work out ideas for scheduling and types of swimming sessions that wouldn't prevent so many families from enjoying the pool on summer afternoons.

Council Treasurer Heather Breems and Secretary Katie Flores said they plan to attend the April 11 board meeting of the Chicago Park District to confirm the removal of gendered swimming times, starting with the upcoming 2018 swimming season. At the meeting, they also plan to advocate for other park interests, including investigation of using the ice skating rink in the summertime as a roller skating rink.

McKinley Park Advisory Council Treasurer Heather BreemsTreasurer Heather BreemsOther council business included a discussion of some major repairs that are coming to the field house this summer thanks to a grant from the City of Chicago's Save Chicago's Treasures initiative. Work will include roof repair, new windows, exterior concrete repair, restoration of window shutters and other building fixes. The process should start in August and conclude in early November and has been scheduled so as to not disrupt any park programs or events.McKinley Park Advisory Council Secretary Katie FloresSecretary Katie Flores

In addition to lining up the summer's concert series and farmers market, which is now at 10 vendors and growing, the council has scheduled a number of special stewardship activities for the spring and summer. Coming up on April 22 is the Earth Day Planting event, which seeks to get all plantings in the ground for the new five acre natural area in McKinley Park. Over 120 volunteers have signed up so far for this all-hands-on-deck volunteering event.

Other special events tied to the park's monthly stewardship days include birdwatching with Andy Van Laan on the May 19 Stewardship Day, a celebration of It's Your Park Day tied to the June 16 Stewardship Day and a special "Get to Know Your Lagoon" ecology class by John and Samantha Belcik on the July 21 Stewardship Day.

Council member Dayna Calderon is again spearheading organization for live performances in McKinley Park, including the June 21 Make Music Chicago event, which will again bring multiple music stages and performances to the park for a one night celebration. Local musicians and groups are still needed to fill performance slots for Make Music Chicago and the summer concert music series alongside the farmers market: Any interested performers should contact Calderon through her Facebook page or by sending email to the council at

Calderon is also heading up a project to paint murals on the old park bath house next to the swimming pool. The beautification and culture committee of the McKinley Park Development Council is a partner in this project, which seeks to both cover all four walls of the bath house with original murals and expand the program to other mural sites in the neighborhood.

In general, volunteers are needed across the board to help support and staff these events and programs, council officers said, as well as other great McKinley Park programs. To get involved, send email to for more information.

The McKinley Park Advisory Council normally meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at the McKinley Park field house. The next McKinley Park Advisory Council Meeting is Monday, May 14.

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