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New Playground Design Selected for Roberts Square Park

By Heather Cherone | December 3, 2013 8:17am
 Roberts Square Park will get a new playground as part of the Chicago Plays! program.
New Playground Design Selected for Roberts Square Park
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JEFFERSON PARK — The worn, outdated and dangerous playground equipment at Roberts Square Park is set to be replaced in the spring — but the park's beloved tire swing will remain.

More than 80 people voted in the Roberts Square Park Advisory Council's online vote between two designs for the new playground, and nearly 75 percent picked the option that kept both the tire swing and the current swing set — which will get new seats and chains.

"My 4-year-old son cast our vote," said John Riordan, the member of the advisory council who tallied up the vote. "He likes the tire swing."

The playground's two banks of swings will remain, since the new swing sets offered by the Friends of the Parks have fewer swings and the advisory council was reluctant to give up seats on the popular piece of equipment, according to its website.

The park, 5200 W. Argyle St., 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 Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation program.

"When we formed the advisory council, we thought it was going to take us three to five years," Riordan said. "We got lucky."

Chicago Plays!, a program administered by Friends of the Parks, plans to renovate 300 playgrounds throughout the city over the next five years.

Construction is set to start in the spring, and will take four to six weeks, Riordan said.

"We're optimistic that we will have a new playground for most of the summer," Riordan said.

In addition to the swings and tire swing, the renovated park will include a Saddle Spinner, to allow kids to whirl themselves around on a single seat, as well as a Double Bobble Rider, which resembles a very small see-saw.

The main play structure will include four slides, a bridge, ladders and activity centers. A free-standing Mobius Climbing wall will give budding daredevils a chance to defy gravity.

The park's wood chips will be replaced with Fibar, a soft, artificial surface that is designed to reduce injuries.

With a new playground on the way, the advisory council will work to expand the community events it has begun holding at the park, including a cleanup in the spring and a Halloween costume parade for both children and their four-legged friends, Riordan said.

In addition, the advisory council is considering adding flower beds to the park near its fruit trees, Riordan said.