JEFFERSON PARK — The worn, outdated and dangerous playground equipment at Roberts Square Park will soon be nothing but a distant memory.
The park, which now features a rusted slide with peeling paint as well as a play surface covered with wood chips barely an inch thick in places, won all new equipment through the park district's Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation program.
On its Facebook page, the Roberts Square Advisory Council said its selection was a tremendous win for the neighborhood.
Advisory council Vice President Mike Cummins, who has lived in a house on the southeast corner of Roberts Square Park for 11 years, said he could not be happier.
"This neighborhood has a lot of kids," Cummins said. "It gives a big community a safe place to play that is easy to get to."
Cummins said he would be especially glad to see the play structure with a bouncy bridge and a twisty slide removed.
"You get a couple kids on there, and they can shake the whole structure," Cummins said. "It is a safety concern, for sure."
The advisory council will get to pick between two options for equipment layouts, and the wood chips will be replaced with Fibar, a soft, artificial surface that is designed to reduce injuries. Construction is expected to take about six weeks.
Community groups had to apply to receive the free equipment. Thirty-five parks were selected as part of a long-term mayoral push to replace equipment in all of the city's 300 playgrounds.
Owen Brugh, chief of staff to Ald. John Arena (45th), said his office had not yet been notified of the selection of Roberts Square Park, 5200 W. Argyle St.
In its application, the advisory council said the new equipment was needed to allow children who attend Beaubien Elementary School, which is adjacent to the park, to play there. Beaubien does not have a playground.
The Roberts Square Park was last renovated in 1990, according to the advisory council's application.