ROGERS PARK — The $450,000 renovation of Touhy Park's playground officially began Friday with a blessing from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
"A whole community comes together in a park and playground," the mayor told reporters at a press conference in which he touted his plan to renovate every Chicago playground within the next five years.
Another four Rogers Park playgrounds are set to get rehabbed.
Touhy Park's renovation, which is expected be completed by the end of the year, had been a long time coming.
The park's advisory council, led by Tony Iniquez, had been pushing the city since 2005 to replace rusted equipment at the park at 7348 N. Paulina St.
"It couldn't be any better. The sun's out, the beautiful Touhy Park. What else do you need?" said Iniquez.
Iniquez organized to put the playground renovation on the 49th Ward's participatory budgeting ballot in 2011, and again in 2012, after the project ended up costing more than expected.
The price tag finally settled at $450,000.
The old equipment has has since been removed to make way for a new soft rubber surface, a seesaw, six swings, two play pieces for children ages 2 through 12 and a new water fountain.
"A new park will mean we no longer have to travel to a trendy neighborhood that has a nice cool park or to Evanston. We'll have it right here," said Kate Englund-Kenealy, 35, who lives nearby with her husband and three children. "It creates neighborhoods where people want to stay permanently and raise their children."