WICKER PARK — It's no sinkhole, but a crack in the pavement inside a park that's been getting deeper over the years is large enough to stand in and deep enough to force people in wheelchairs and those pushing strollers to maneuver around it.
Located about about 50 yards south of the southwest entrance to Wicker Park near the built-in chess tables at 1425 N. Damen Ave., the crack has frustrated Wicker Park resident Leroy Garry, 72.
Pointing to the patch of broken sidewalk on a recent afternoon, Garry said, "The alderman ain't gonna fix it, they ain't gonna fix s---."
Garry, who travels in a wheelchair, said he's made requests to fix the crack directly to Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) during bingo games at the Wicker Park Apartments and Annex, a CHA building for senior citizens at 1414 N. Damen Ave. where Garry lives.
Garry said that crack has been there since he moved to Wicker Park in 2005 and has "gotten worse every summer."
Rocio Varela, a staffer for Moreno, said a work order has been processed to fix the crack, though she was unable to confirm a date for the repair.
Meanwhile, Charley Quinton, 59, said that he's tripped on the crack before.
"Everybody trips on it," Quinton said.
Moreno said Tuesday that he talked with Doug Wood, secretary of the volunteer-run Wicker Park Advisory Council, about the fact that the "Park District has committed to fixing [the crack] in the next few weeks."
Betty King, a resident of the Wicker Park Apartments, said Tuesday that on Monday she'd seen a man in what "looked like a city van" measuring the crack.
"Maybe they are finally fixing it," King said.
Another park regular, Enrique Martinez, said, "I'll believe it when I see it."
Jessica Maxey-Faulkner, a Park District spokeswoman, said that her understanding is that the crack is scheduled to be repaired when the chess tables are replaced.
In February, the four cement gaming tables with bucket seats ignited controversy when a 15-member park advisory council voted nearly unanimously to remove them.
The vote prompted Moreno to call for a community meeting to discuss the future of the tables and crime and safety issues in the park.
At the March meeting, Moreno told residents he's not tied to keeping the chess tables, as long as there is a suitable replacement for them.
In May, members of the park advisory council selected locations for four new tables, two of which will be in the same location as the existing tables. Wood said the tables will be carousal-style, backless and have bench-style seating.