Heights Park District to Begin Building Alex Lopez Park
An afternoon ground-breaking ceremony brought out the friends and family of the late Mayor of Chicago Heights.
Everyone from the Mayor of Chicago Heights to the superintendents of school districts 170 and 206 were present for an event that has been eight months in the making.
The Chicago Heights Park District held a special ground-breaking ceremony to begin the construction of Alex Lopez Park.
Located on the field of grass between the Chicago Heights Public Library and the Park District's Recreational Center, the park was named after the late Mayor of Chicago Heights, who passed away late in the summer of 2010.
Park District Supt. Frank Perez thanked St. James Franciscan Health and Prairie State College for contributing funds to the construction of the park, which will include a heavy-duty fence on the Chicago Road border of the area.
"Without their partnership this would not have happened," Perez said. "It really was a community effort."
Lopez's father was in attendance, as well as many of his friends.
During the ground-breaking, Mayor David Gonzalez said he first met Lopez in the early 1990s and was happy to see the late mayor and park district superintendent honored.
"He always had a vision of what's best for the community and he always had the children first," Gonzalez said. "I'm just so honored to have been in his life, as short as it was. I miss him dearly."
Park District President Joseph Stanfa concurred, adding that he believed the project would have happened no matter what.
"If Alex was still alive, we still may be breaking ground for a park, just not in his name," Stanfa said. "We would be doing something here to help kids."
Perez said the Park District hopes to hold another ceremony when the park is completed this summer.