Jackie Guthrie might be the first friendly face you see behind the desk upon entering the Maggie Daley Park field house. “A day in the life of the Maggie Daley Park Supervisor…is an honor,” says Guthrie.
“I am able to work with a team of talented and dedicated staff, supportive community, and each day brings new opportunities. I would argue that I have the best job in the Chicago Park District.”
During her lunch hour, she often strolls through the lakefront greenery to admire how visitors are enjoying the space.
“Some areas of the park are very active, while others are quiet and serene,” says Guthrie, who has been Park Supervisor for over six years.
As Park Supervisor, Guthrie focuses on balancing the needs of the community while also catering to the demands of tourism.
During the park’s transformation over two years in 2013 and 2014, Guthrie was involved in planning and designing the field house. “The Chicago Park District team and the architects were committed to designing the best use of our space,” she explains. “Our team understood the importance of our programs and special event space for the community.”
The facility was designed to accommodate the people who participate in the park district programs as well as the skaters and climbers who use the park’s amenities.
“The use of the space has changed,” says Guthrie. “What once was a big kitchen and shower rooms is now a well thought out space that is program focused.” In addition to offering activities for children, teens, and seniors, the field house has a multipurpose room for meetings and special events. This month, an Easter Egg Hunt is scheduled on March 24 from 10am – 12pm, and Guthrie played a big role in organizing the event. There will be children’s activities in the field house, including holiday crafts and a bounce house, with the egg hunt taking place outside.
The park is also part of a migratory bird path. “In the spring, there are plans for some organized bird walks to take advantage of the nature,” says Guthrie.
Recently, the park even boasted its own unofficial mascot. A calico cat named “Maggie” took up residence in the area until a resident rescued her.
According to Guthrie, the options for outdoor activity in Maggie Daley Park are endless. The new tennis courts at the east end, which will offer reservations and charge fees for usage, are scheduled to open in spring. Plans are in the works to host musical performances and movies in the summer.
“Maggie Daley Park is still developing its personality because it’s so new,” says Guthrie.
— Angela Gagnon, Staff Writer