While biking through the neighborhood on Tuesday, I was happy to discover the Ronan Park playground getting a much needed upgrade. The actual play set looks new, and the grounds were being filled with material soft enough for children to play in.
This playground was pretty run-down and terrible and at least a couple of decades old. The buildings around this playground are also medium density-plus filled with the poor tenants and immigrant families, so the playground itself is heavily used, as are the benches facing the playground.
All very feel-good but now here comes the cynic: I suspect this playground is getting an upgrade now not because these immigrant families have pressed the appropriate people with some sort of civic action. Rather, the playground is getting an upgrade now because cultural events organized by the NRC bring wealthier tenants to the park, which includes the Alderman. I was unable to find a mention of this construction in any of the 33rd ward newsletters, however, so perhaps Mell has nothing to do with the upgrade and this is just a Chicago Parks District allocation of funds.
Commentators on this post (see below) pointed out this construction project is the result of a city-wide initiative Mayor Rahm Emanuel started last year. An excerpt from the press release that went out at the time, including this quote from Mayor Emanuel,
“The 300 playgrounds we are rebuilding in every neighborhood will be a catalyst for a better quality of life and higher standard of living for every Chicagoan.”
The new “Chicago Plays” Playground Program, which was launched with the speech, is a five-year playground renovation project. The program targets the replacement of equipment at over 300 aging playgrounds throughout the city.Thanks for this, West River Park Neighbors!