NORTH CENTER — Two weeks ago, neighbors gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the renovated Filbert Playlot. Today, the new equipment that youngsters greeted with squeals of delight is covered in graffiti.
Emily Klingensmith, president of Friends of Filbert, shared the disappointing news with supporters via email.
"It's really unfortunate this has happened," she wrote.
The vandalism has already been reported to 3-1-1, the Park District, the Police Department and the office of Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th). The graffiti was still visible Monday morning. Cigarette butts and empty cigarette packs also littered the playlot's picnic area.
Klingensmith emphasized in her email: "No one over the age of 12 should be in the park unless they are supervising a child who is playing there."
Friends of Filbert formed fewer than three years ago and quickly raised $200,000 to purchase updated equipment for the neglected playlot, located at 1822 W. Larchmont Ave., adjacent to the Irving Park Brown Line station.
At the grand opening ceremony, Klingensmith shared the secret of Friends of Filbert's success with DNAinfo.com: "Get as much of the neighborhood involved as possible. If you roll up your sleeves, if people really go after it...it's do-able."
She's applying that same philosophy to dealing with vandals.
"We need everyone in the community — particularly those who live near the park — to keep an eye on the playlot and call 911 if you see any suspicious activity," she stated in her email. "Thanks in advance for your vigilance."