Chicago parks and cultural programs will receive a multimillion dollar boost from leftover NATO funds.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Sunday $2 million dollars from NATO Legacy Funds would be used to build and improve existing neighborhood parks and playgrounds, according to a press release from the Mayor's office.
“The legacy of NATO will live on in Chicago through these direct investments into the communities and programs that need them most," Emanuel stated in the release.
The funds are a surplus from the private donations raised to cover the costs of hosting the two day NATO Summit in Chicago last year.
"What better way to use these remaining funds than to put them into bettering our communities, schools and parks," Emanuel said.
The money will be used to build a new park playground in North Lawndale at the Frazier school and improve existing parks by upgrading lights and turf, the release stated.
The mayor said the money will also go towards improvements at the Puerto Rican Cultural Center and expanding the Circus in the Parks program.
It's estimated that $33 million was raised to cover the $27.5 million dollar bill left over from the summit. Emanuel has already used $9 million in NATO Legacy funds towards community programs and park investments, according to the release.
The move is part of Emanuel's plan to help ensure every Chicagoan is within walking distance from a park.