New Concession Stand At Douglass Park Empowers Young People

Sheila’s @ Douglass18 is a new concession stand that opened at Douglass18, the miniature golf course in Douglass Park. PHOTO BY AMY CARMEN.
Sheila’s @ Douglass18 is a new concession stand that opened at Douglass18, the miniature golf course in Douglass Park. PHOTO BY AMY CARMEN.

New Concession Stand At Douglass Park Empowers Young People

By Tia Carol Jones

North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council created a Quality of Life Plan in 2018. Part of that plan was to develop a project that would serve as a community hub. In 2021, Douglass 18, an 18-hole bird-themed miniature golf course opened at the Douglass Park Cultural Community Center.

Recently, there was a ribbon cutting for the grand opening of Sheila’s @ Douglass 18, a concession stand, which is part of Douglass 18. It is named after Sheila McNary, Arts and Cultural Chair for the North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council.

McNary said North Lawndale was a blank canvas at the time the Quality of Life Plan was created and community stakeholders developed projects that would give the young people opportunities to have safe places to play.

“We wanted to revitalize our community, which had been neglected for over 50 years, and we wanted our children and our people to be able to enjoy spaces in their community, without having to drive outside the community. We wanted to have destination spots where we could have a safe time with our children and people we know,” she said.

Artist Eric Hotchkiss worked with students to create Douglass18 and revitalize the once dilapidated golf course. McNary said the development of Douglass18 is truly making North Lawndale a community.  She wanted a way to maintain the golf course and bring revenue to the golf course. The concession stand received financial support and resources from the Mars Wrigley Foundation's Community Connection Grant, in partnership with LISC. With the concession stand, students ages 16 and older will be able to learn how to run a concession stand, customer service, as well as marketing and how to manage a miniature golf course.

“So, it’s doing what we wanted to do with our Quality of Life Plan. It’s bringing a quality of life to the students and the parents there. We’ll have food and hopefully it will become a destination spot for the community,” McNary said.

There will be nine students who will work at Douglass18, as well as four students from the last season. McNary hopes the young people will have a safe and fun summer, and she hopes they learn how to play miniature golf. She said with the restaurant skills the students are learning, they can go other places to use those skills. Douglass18 has hosted camps during the summer from the Chicago Park District, Lincoln Park Zoo, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. It also hosted fundraisers and a wedding reception, as well as people from out of town have come to the miniature golf course.

“People from out of town come over, they want to see the miniature golf course and they’re impressed, It was well done, the students did a great job,” McNary said.

Douglas18 supports economic growth to the community by bringing people to North Lawndale. It means the money will stay in the community and will benefit the residents. McNary said the goal is for Douglass18 to be a successful business in the community.

“We’ve been wanting things in the park for our children and with this venue, we’ll be able to have parties. I’m so glad we’ll be able to offer this venue to the community, they won’t have to go looking for space outside the community,” she said.

The Anna and Frederick Douglass Park is located at 1401 S. Sacramento. For more information about Douglass18, visit

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