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Monument Park to Get New Playground Equipment

  Monument Park was recently added to the list of parks that will be renovated this year.
Monument Park
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EDISON PARK — Popular with Edison Park's toddlers for its close-up view of trains rumbling along Metra's Union Pacific/Northwest Line, Monument Park will get a much-needed face-lift this spring.

The park, which is also known as the Train Park, won all new equipment through the park district's Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation program, said Edison Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Melissa Panizzi.

"Regardless of what they put there it will be an improvement," Panizzi said.

The small park, 6679 N. Avondale Ave., features only a playlot and a sandbox as well as a grassy field used annually during Edison Park Fest. The nearest fieldhouse is at Olympia Park, three blocks away.

"This is going to make a lot of children very happy," said Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st).

A number of parks in the 41st Ward are set to be overhauled in 2014 as part of the Chicago Plays! program, including Wildwood Park in Wildwood, Grandparents Playlot Park in the O'Hare neighborhood and Summerdale Park in Norwood Park.

Parks through the 41st Ward had been seriously neglected, O'Connor said.

Edison Park residents have until Jan. 14 to select one of two options for the playground, Panizzi said. In both options, the sandbox — loathed by parents for being a less-than-hygienic place to play — will be replaced by a train, she said.

"The kids who are playing at the park always stop whatever they are doing and rush to see the train when it goes by," Panizzi said. "This way they can watch the train while playing on a train."

The playground has not been updated since 1990, according to the Chicago Park District's website.

The park gets its name from a black-and-white granite pillar monument built in 1918, honoring "Our Boys Who Served In The Army and Navy of the U.S.A. During the World War." The pillar is topped by a limestone eagle from the old Cook County Courthouse, which was demolished before 1911, according to the Chicago Park District's website.

Option two is ahead in the voting, Panizzi said. It features a main play structure with two slides, a bridge, ladders and activity centers. 

The toddler-sized train in option one is red and yellow, while in option two it is blue.

In both options, the existing swing set will remain, with new seats, and the size of the playground will remain the same.

Option one, which like the second design features blue, beige and green equipment, also includes a We-Saw, a multiseat seesaw.

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

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, Panizzi said.

Votes can be cast by emailing info@edisonpark.com or by calling 773-631-0063.