Monday, October 13, 2008

Morgan Park Playground First Frozen, Now in Limbo

CM Erica Gilmore attended Salemtown's last association meeting and heard some feedback including that on seeming delays in completion of Morgan Park amenities, in particular the new playground. CM Gilmore followed up with Parks Department Director Roy Wilson with our concerns and she received the following response:

Good afternoon Council Lady,

We do have a playground design complete. The funding for this playground was part of the capital plan passed in August 2007, which was frozen in January 2008. We did anticipate that funds would become available to allow completion of the playground this year, but they have not yet. I believe most are aware of the current bond fund situation.

We have successfully completed the renovation of the community center, which had been previously funded, and the outdoor amenities were to follow or be completed concurrently.

The rusted ball field fences were removed, and the beginnings of the greenway trail (paved surface) was completed, with the plantings, benches, etc., to follow along with the playground and other site improvements. We have not cancelled any planned improvements, but must await the availability of funding to complete these items.
I sincerely hope that parks improvements around the city have all been frozen likewise, because I would find it distressing to no end to find out that other parks in wealthier or less racially diverse neighborhoods had received improvements in 2008, especially if those improvements were originally behind Morgan Park's in the pipeline.

If you want to do something constructive in this situation, you can write Mayor Dean ( and encourage him to release the funds from the capital budget already set aside for the Morgan Park playground.

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