Future bright for hall of fame
07/18/2012 10:00 PM
Weíve been worried about the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame for a while. The Little Italy landmark has been in trouble with its bank for some time now, and the prospect of it being shut down was saddening.
But with powerful backers like sports mogul Jerry Colangelo ó the man whom the museumís building is named after ó it didnít succumb to foreclosure and successfully emerged from bankruptcy.
Now, plans are emerging for how the museum will raise capital and move forward, and one key step is the selling of the hallís home.
An Iranian businessman is poised to buy the building and lease it back to the museum. Community leaders say the buyer is quite fond of founder George Randazzo and the hall, and fully intends to keep the museum there.
However, itís not clear yet just what the future of the museum will look like, even though itíll stay in the same place. Something new could take over the ground floor, relegating the museum to an upper level.
Whatever happens, we hope the museum can retain its luster. University Village Association founder Oscar DíAngelo called the museum the crown jewel of Taylor Street. Strong words, but not far off. Itís a valuable piece of the community that should be preserved.
With this weekís piece on pie-in-the-sky visions for the south branch of the Chicago River, we couldnít help but think back to Pilsen and Little Villageís pair of soon-to-be-vacated power plants.
As Mayor Rahm Emanuel looks at ways to revitalize the cityís other major body of water, these two sites represent a prime opportunity to turn the river into something great.
These two underserved communities could host one of the cityís greatest new amenities, if the mayor pushes to create a bold plan.
The north branch of the river is already getting boathouses and serious looks, but no oneís looked south of Chinatown and Ping Tom Park yet. Extend the dream a bit further. Keep working. Letís make the river into something we can be proud of.