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Garfield Park Community Council

Year founded



Mike Tomas

Executive Director

NCP staff

Contact information

300 N. Central Park Ave. Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 638-1766 phone
(773) 638-1777 fax

Organization mission

To strengthen community through the unique combination of the Garfield Park Conservatory Campus, other botanical resources, and the engagement of community members. With its innovative programs, the council enhances the environmental, social and economic vitality of Chicago's West Side and encourages the larger community to explore the fundamental connection between plants and human life.

Vision for the future

To foment a "green revolution," based around the park and the conservatory, which could include a "green town" business district along Lake Street, bringing about an organic redevelopment of the neighborhood that transcends gentrification.

Accomplishments to date

The Dale Chihuly art glass show drew nearly 600,000 visitors in 2001-02, which resulted in Rushing and park district conservatories director Lisa Roberts being named “Chicagoans of the Year” by Chicago magazine. More recent exhibits such as GIANTS: African Dinosaurs (2003-04) and "Chapungu: Custom & Legend, A Culture in Stone," also had great success, and the conservatory received $1.65 million from the National Science Foundation to develop the new "Sugar from the Sun" educational exhibit.

The Garfield Market, the council's first leap into community-building and economic development, provided a seasonal business incubator and performance space. The Green Teens youth development program is teaching high school students environmentally based job skills. The alliance has worked with local aldermen to obtain written agreements to set aside three city-owned vacant lots, in perpetuity, as community managed open spaces.

The council also has provided support and assistance for neighborhood projects such as a retail and urban design plan for Madison Street, an ex-offender job training program, and a youth exchange with students from Ghanba. After suporting more than 600 East Garfield Park residents in developing the neighborhood's quality of life plan, the council is leading the East Garfield Park Neighborhood Development Council to see the plan taken into action.

To download the East Garfield quality of life plan, click here, or for an executive summary, click here .

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