DePaul Again Exploring Lincoln Park Arena

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Mar 29, 2012 2:00PM

depaul_blue_demons_logo.jpg Despite the great hoops talent across Chicago, local universities have not been able to benefit from pursuing these basketball greats to attend. The ability to recruit in Chicago is at the forefront of the University of Illinois' search for a new head coach. And it's also a reason that DePaul continues to explore the idea of building a basketball arena near its Lincoln Park campus.

The once proud Blue Demons program has fallen on hard times of late, regularly finishing near the bottom of the Big East standings. One of the reasons cited for DePaul's inability to attract top talent is the school's home arena. Currently, the Blue Demons play about 15 miles from their Lincoln Park campus, at AllState Arena in suburban Rosemont.

A newly developed strategic plan that involves building a new 10,000-12,000 seat arena near the school’s Lincoln Park campus has been created, and will be voted on by the university’s board of trustees at their May meeting. If the vote passes, the university would hire consultants to conduct feasibility studies.

Earlier this week, CSN Chicago reported that among the parcels of land under consideration for such a large undertaking include the A. Finkl and Sons property near Clybourn and the Morton Salt property on Elston. Both would put the new stadium close to the Lincoln Park campus and demonstrate DePaul's re-commitment to Chicago.

On Wednesday, FOX Chicago's Lou Canellis suggested that DePaul's plans focused on more centrally located spot in the middle of their campus, at the intersection of Fullerton and Sheffield. The university already owns a parking lot and surrounding land on the northwest corner of the intersection. While more transit accessible via the Fullerton L stop, that location would also drop a giant structure into an already congested neighborhood.

But will a new arena be enough to return the Blue Demons program to it's Ray Meyer glory days? We think the program has bigger issues that its home arena, but having the team so removed from the students and alumni fan base can't help. And given that their desire is to attract top city talent to the school, it could help by making DePaul's games more accessible to players' friends and family.