Lauren Moltz

Lauren Moltz

(Board Chair)

Promontory Point at 55th Street and the lake, fondly known as The Point, is one of my favorite parks in Chicago. Designed by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and surrounded by beloved limestone step stones leading into Lake Michigan, it is a serene place to walk, run, bike, picnic, swim, look at the view or have your first kiss, as many have. I have walked around The Point through all seasons and all hours and it never ceases to amaze me with its quiet beauty.

Fred Bates

Fred Bates

(Vice-Chair)

Fred lived in the parks from his time of first arriving in Chicago in the fourth grade. He has fond memories of encountering the remnants of a Japanese Garden on wooded island in Jackson Park which has led to a lifelong interest in Japanese gardens and catching crayfish in Washington Park lagoon.

Deborah Strauss

Deborah Strauss

(Director, Executive Committee)

Bixler Playlot! Bixler is not glamorous, but it’s very much appreciated by parents of young children, especially in a crowded city neighborhood without back yards. As a play space and as a gathering place (for both children and parents) it’s a daily destination for dozens of families.

Thurman Foreman

Thurman Foreman

(Treasurer)

Thurman likes Jackson Park because it's big, by the water, and quite scenic. He also enjoys that you can fish, golf, and bird watch in Jackson Park.

Troy McMillan

Troy McMillan

(Secretary)

Troy became a supporter of Friends of the Parks as a rider in the LATE Ride and says "What's more fun than riding with your friends through the parks, streets, and lakefront of Chicago Long After Twilight Ends?"

Patricia Ballman

Patricia Ballman

(Director)

Charlie Billups

Charlie Billups

(Director)

Tom Drebenstedt

Tom Drebenstedt

(Director)

Nancy Juda

Nancy Juda

(Director)

Kathryn Kennedy

Kathryn Kennedy

(Director)

Sho Pettaway

Sho Pettaway

(Director)

Janet Reali

Janet Reali

(Director)

My favorite park is Lincoln Park for so many reasons -- the fabulous free zoo, the Green City market, the beautiful flowers and the view of the Chicago skyline from the lagoon.

Marcy Rodriguez

Marcy Rodriguez

(Director)

Maria Saldana

Maria Saldana

(Director)

L. Anton Seals, Jr.

L. Anton Seals, Jr.

(Director)

Pat Sharkey

Pat Sharkey

(Director)

Gavin Tun

Gavin Tun

(Director)

My favorite park is Mandrake Park.
We've lived in this area within a few blocks of Mandrake park for 12 years now, but I was familiar with it from my park district days since '96.

In our view, Bronzeville in general and our immediate area of North Kenwood, Oakland, and Grand Boulevard have been communities on the rise for the last decade and the park has been a transformative catalyst in the development of the surrounding communities. Mandrake has had its share of problems with shootings, loitering, littering and other negative elements associated with changing neighborhoods, but we have been able to leverage the transformative power of positive activities in the park to generate a positive impact on the community. The park has enjoyed significant recent improvements through the Traubert Pritzker foundation with a full rebuild of the football/soccer field complete with lighting and scoreboards as well as a new running/jogging track. Filled with positive programming including music in the parks (partially funded by FOTP seed grants), we have made this park into a real community asset.

Challenges are - it took a long time to get a viable PAC in place. During the transitions in between PAC's, our community organization OBNA (Oakwood Boulevard Neighborhood Association) provided bridge leadership until the most recent PAC was elected in September. We'll see how that goes, because the current president of the PAC is running for alderman, but hopefully there will be a succession plan.

We love the park because it is within a 5 minute walk form our house (depending on if you're going to east or west Mandrake). It offers active areas for sports programming as well as for walkers, joggers, fitness and yoga people. We've held music in the parks, movies in the parks, block club events, breast cancer walks, etc. It has a small comfort station and a children's playground, and now with the Abraham Lincoln Center serving as a sort of field house, we also have indoor programming capabilities. It is easily accessible to the community residents (walking) but also by bus or automobile. The park is also 5 minutes from the magnificent south lakefront, so it is equal to or better than those north side parks with close proximity to the lakefront (I'm not biased).