MCKINLEY PARK — Residents are encouraged to offer their feedback on two proposed sets of designs for a playground overhaul at the neighborhood's namesake park.
The playground at McKinley Park, which has been called crowded, outdated and dirty by parents, was passed over in the first round of the city-backed program called Chicago Plays! but has since been selected for new equipment.
Part of the Chicago Plays! process requires the park advisory councils to vote on playground equipment and designs for the new playlots.
"There are some similarities to both of [the designs]. They both use the current space much better and have a lot more components. Ultimately they're both great designs," said Heather Breems, a McKinley Park resident who's been rallying to replace the playground for the past year.
Breems said the group is taking the voting process a step further.
Members of the park's advisory council plan to shop around the designs to neighborhood preschool and elementary school students and will set up a voting booth at the group's Oct. 26 Halloween Fun Run at the park.
An online survey is also collecting votes. It can be accessed here.
Once the voting is finished — the deadline is Oct. 29 — neighbors will have to wrangle volunteers to help install Fibar, a wooden material placed under playground equipment. Those efforts are already underway at nearby parks, including Armour Square, McGuane and Donovan.
Unlike a typical playground renovation, in which the Chicago 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 — the Chicago Plays! initiative picked up the entire tab, courtesy of the park district's capital budget.