Since the mid-1970s, the community surrounding the Jesse Owens Park attempted to organize for the purpose of bringing improvements to their park. Unfortunately, each group soon became discouraged and disbanded because of the many bureaucratic obstacles they constantly encountered.
The current Jesse Owens Park Advisory Council was organized in October, 2001 with a MISSION of securing the much needed improvements for Jesse Owens Park, the main focus being a new field house. This Jesse Owens Park Advisory Council (JOPAC) became incorporated by the State of Illinois and received 501(c)(3) status from the federal government in 2002.
The members of this organization were dedicated to see this project through to the end, and on September 12, 2009, the "dream became a reality". A new state-of-the-art, green design, field house officially opened in Jesse Owens Park. Also, in September, 2009, we participated in a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony celebrating the new, million dollar, handicapped accessible playground, donated to our park by Allstate Insurance Company. In recognition of Jesse Owens, the playround was constructed to accentuate an olympic theme. Children come from far and near to enjoy the amenities of this playground. Other improvements which we have accomplished since 2001 are: improved lighting in the park, improved park cleaning and mowing, additional trash containers, increased police involvement and perimeter sidewalk replacement. Additionally, JOPAC has furnished needed supplies and equipment for the field house, which would not have been available without our provisions
Beginning the summer of 2011, JOPAC has sponsored a Track Team, the JOPAC Jets. The team consists of girls and boys, ages 6-14,who participate in the World Sport Chicago Summer Track Program. The number of team members increases each year, and has gone from 25 in 2011 to 35 in 2014. The number registered in 2015 is 39.
In 2016, JOPAC sponsored select students in grades 4-8, to view the movie "Race", which was the success story of Jesse Owens. Then in the summer of 2016, JOPAC held a community celebration commemorating the 80th Anniversary of Jesse Owens' Gold Medal victories in the 1936 World Olympics. The event included food, games & prizes, "Olympic" competitions with medals, raffle drawings, and a release of 80 balloons, all free to the public.