Calumet Memorial Park District nets $350K grant

2013-06-20T00:00:00Z Calumet Memorial Park District nets $350K grantGeorge Grenchik Times Columnist
June 20, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Well, it’s the good old summertime. Although technically, not until Friday when we have the summer solstice, the single longest day of the year in terms of daylight. Bummer alert ... starting Saturday the hours of daylight will become incrementally fewer.

But as I’m writing this (Tuesday) it surely doesn’t seem like summer, as it’s barely in the 60s. “Global warming” is a misnomer, but “climate change” is a reality.

Summer means some umpiring work for me in the long standing men’s 16-inch softball league of the Calumet Memorial Park District where real men don’t wear gloves. Two games: one in blinding sun and noticeable heat; the second in a off and on again cold rain. Go figure.

Things are happening in Calumet City parks. Make sure you peruse your copy of the park district's “Playbook - Summer 2013” which was mailed to all Cal City addresses. If you need another, they are available at the fieldhouse at Memorial Park or at the Sandridge Center.

There is good news concerning the park district involving cold hard cash: $350,000 worth from — get this — our very own, financially challenged state.

There are detailed plans that needed to be made, public meetings that had to be held, Springfield trips that needed to occur, and procedural hoops that needed to be jumped through. All that was done successfully and the Calumet Memorial Park District was awarded a grant to redevelop Downey Park in the northwest quadrant of Calumet City.

It’s a park I know well, having spent several summers working for the district full time there back in the day when Downey was often referred to as “Rocket Sled” park for its tall, distinctive red, white, and blue slide.

I also know that Downey Park can use some sprucing up. And since the grant from the state is a matching grant, that means there will be $700,000 of “sprucing up” money available.

It’s a good deal for the residents of what was called Torrence Park and really, for all of Calumet City. Congrats to the district for the work involved in getting that money to our city.


Peace and comfort to the family of Geraldine (Gerry) Mikolajczak on her passing. Gerry and her husband, Terry, were the longtime owners of Joe’s Video in Calumet City which, before that, was Joe’s Electric, which had been in the Mikolajczak family for many years.

I remember Terry and Gerry winning the St. Victor church lottery years back and using that cash to help convert Joe’s Electric to Joe’s Video. Rest in peace, Gerry.

Also passing recently was Debbie Fishel. I got to know Debbie by teaching her children. Debbie was the kind of parent who helps make a school great — the room mother lady, the special treat day lady, the Cub Scout lady, the there-when-you-need-her lady.

And she did that under a number of trying circumstances, the biggest of which was a frightening house fire in the early '90s from which she and her then quite young four children barely escaped.

You might also know Debbie if you frequented the old White Hen on the corner of Burnham and Sibley where she was the manager for many years.

Peace and comfort to the family.


A memorial Mass for Monsignor Leo Mahon is at 4 p.m. Saturday at St. Victor Church, 553 Hirsch Ave., with a gathering after in the church hall. For info call (708) 862-1568.

St. Andrew’s summer fest is on June 29 and 30. For info call (708) 862-4165.

Thanks for reading.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. George Grenchik is a longtime Calumet City resident and retired instructor at Bishop Noll Institute in Hammond. He can be reached at

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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