Promoting health and recreation near a Chicago datacenter
Northlake, Illinois is home to a Microsoft datacenter. The city hoped to promote foot traffic in the community, attract residents to the area, and increase recreation. In partnership with Microsoft, Northlake advanced those goals by developing unique outdoor opportunities in one of its parks.
Providing walking trails and outdoor exercise equipment
On October 22, 2019, the Northlake Fitness Center officially opened at Northlake’s Grant Park. Microsoft donated funding toward the creation of this outdoor fitness center and for its associated resistance equipment. A pergola to provide shade was built by the public works department using repurposed steel from various demolition projects.
The fitness center dedication brought together the community, including the Microsoft datacenter’s campus director, the Northlake mayor, and various other city officials, along with many residents.
Improving quality of life for Northlake area residents
One of Northlake’s main priorities is to improve the local economy and drive business revenue. The rate of new families and younger residents moving to town has been declining. The mayor of Northlake hopes that foot traffic driven by this new fitness center and surrounding walking trails will extend to nearby businesses.
Additionally, the park provides accessible recreation to underserved community groups, including the Latinx community and elderly citizens. The park may also increase the desirability of nearby properties. Drawing people to the community will encourage economic development—and ensure a consistent pipeline of potential datacenter employees for Microsoft.
Becoming a respected community business partner
The city also received $65,000 in revenue from the contractors working on Microsoft’s expansion. Work on the park itself utilized local labor, contributing to the city’s economy.
“Work on this project and having the park has really made the city happy to have Microsoft in their community. They’ve really become an advocate for Microsoft.”—Derick Winston, Microsoft Datacenter Operations Manager