BRIDGEPORT — The playgrounds at McGuane and Armour Square Parks are getting replaced with new equipment, courtesy of a new city program.
It’s part of the Chicago Plays! initiative, which aims to replace 50 playgrounds a year over the next five years.
The work at McGuane Park, 2901 S. Poplar Ave., and Armour Square Park, 3309 S. Shields Ave., is expected to start in the fall, likewise for 33 more city parks that were notified of the awards on Wednesday.
Representatives from Friends of the Parks — which partnered with the Chicago Park District for the program — credited the McGuane and Armour Square community groups for their “commitment and enthusiasm” in campaigning for new playground equipment.
Groups seeking funding for a playground makeover needed to collect petition signatures (a minimum of 50), a letter of support from their alderman and provide a conditions report and community impact statement.
Unlike typical playground renovations — in which the Park District foots a third of the bill, with the remainder split between the alderman's office and private interests such as park advisory councils — Chicago Plays! is picking up the entire tab, courtesy of the Park District's capital budget.
While residents will get to select playground equipment and designs — it'll come in one of two standard options for small, medium and large playlots — the surface for the playgrounds will be uniformly Fibar, a soft, engineered product that resembles wood chips, said Maria Stone of Friends of the Parks.
A community meeting where residents can vote on the design plans will take place later this summer, a Friends of the Parks spokeswoman said.
The planned overhaul came as good news to Pauline, a Bridgeport mom who was watching her daughter on the aging swingset at McGuane Park. She declined to give her last name.
The playground, she said, is "old and it kinda smells, especially after it rains. But I always get parking and I love the shade. So this is perfect."
DNAinfo.com Chicago reporter Patty Wetli contributed to this report.