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TRINITY SIGNS LEASE AGREEMENT WITH MWRD

Since 1984, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) has envisioned that its inland waterways would be transformed into open spaces for recreation and community benefits. That vision is about to be fulfilled for Palos Heights and surrounding suburbs with the signing of a 50-year lease between the MWRD of Greater Chicago and Trinity Christian College. The lease agreement encompasses 78 acres bounded by Route 83 (College Drive) and the Calumet-Sag Channel, and stretches more than a mile and a half between Ridgeland and Central avenues. The College plans to develop several athletics fields on the site. 

The waterway strategy resolution of 1985 was revisited in 2003 by several regional organizations, including the Southland Convention & Visitors' Bureau and the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association, and the vision was once again endorsed: to develop the entire Cal-Sag corridor for recreation and tourism. Trinity's plans for the leased property provide initially for three soccer fields, two baseball and two softball diamonds, and extensive walking paths. Future development will include an additional soccer field, three more softball and one more baseball diamond, a quarter-mile oval track, a three-mile cross-country track, and tennis courts. The first phase of the project is anticipated to take twelve months to complete.

"Our goal is to provide our athletics program first-rate practice and performance fields. In doing so, we hope to make this property into a wonderful asset for the whole community," said Trinity President Steven Timmermans. "We see the development of the area for recreational purposes as a positive way to support the resolution to encourage recreation and tourism for the region." 

Discussions about the lease opportunity began more than four years ago, when a group of current and former Trinity trustees and friends of the College gathered to investigate ways of gaining needed space for Trinity's expanding athletics programs. Chaired by former board president Ken Mels and co-chair Marvin Aardema, a current Trinity trustee, the committee worked with the MWRD to create the proposal for the land. Businessman George Schaaf, Schaaf Window Co. Inc., Tinley Park, has committed to funding the development of the property.

"This will greatly enhance our ability to attract top athletes to Trinity," said Pete Hamstra, vice president for advancement and admissions. "With limited space on the current 50-acre campus for athletics fields, this new complex will add to our athletics program while allowing the main campus to retain open green spaces." 

"It's a win-win for everyone," said Mels. "We hope to raise funds to provide for the ongoing maintenance of the site, with the goal of not having any impact on tuition fees."



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