Mayor Lightfoot makes no-fanfare visit at Smith Park
November 1, 2019

Smith Park Advisory Council president David R. Ramos (center) with Mayor Lightfoot, Alderman Walter Burnett, and others at Smith Park.

As Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot travels around the city, among the stops during her first 100 days in office was Smith Park, 2526 W. Grand Ave., to take in a baseball game. Alderman Walter Burnett Jr. (27th Ward), Chicago Park District staff, and the Smith Park Advisory Council greeted Lightfoot on her visit, made while touring the Near West Side.

David R. Ramos, Smith Park Advisory Council president, was “grateful that Mayor Lightfoot took the time out of her busy schedule to stop at Smith Park. She picked a great day for the final games at the park” this year. “The sun was shining, many families were taking advantage of the park’s activities, and she stayed to watch the tee ball and Little League games. There was no press, no entourage—just the mayor being an ordinary citizen and speaking with families,” said Ramos. 

The advisory council led Lightfoot on a tour, sharing the park’s history. In 1929, when the area was a large sanitation site, the City Bureau of Sanitation transferred the land to the City Bureau of Parks and Recreation along with 250 other land sites. The City named the park after the surrounding 32nd Ward’s alderman, Joseph “Higgins” Smith, who served the area from 1914 through 1933. At the time, the City regularly named parks for current aldermen of the wards in which the sites were located.

Smith Park has “an outdoor pool, field house with a kitchen, tennis courts, three baseball fields, a children’s playground and a ceramic house, and an iconic World War II Army tank,” said Ramos. 

President of the advisory council since 2014, Ramos credited Smith Park’s success to the families, volunteers, coaches, park district staff, and elected officials who work with the Park. “They are the ones who make Smith Park a great place to visit and to raise children,” he explained. 

The advisory council works closely with park supervisor Daniel Hernandez, coordinating programming and yearly activities. Hernandez celebrated his first anniversary as Smith Park supervisor in August; he brings many years of experience working for other parks in the south and north regions. For more information about Smith Park, call (312) 742-7534.