PORTAGE PARK — Chopin Park will get a new playground that supporters hope will be the first step in revitalizing the Far Northwest Side park.
Pam Kleinert, who helped formed the park advisory council that pushed for Chopin Park to be included in the Chicago Plays! program, said she was thrilled the park was selected.
"The plans are gorgeous," Kleinert said.
The eight-acre park in the southeast corner of Portage Park at 3420 N. Long Ave. also features a field house, four baseball diamonds, a soccer and football field, three tennis courts, four horseshoe pits and a volleyball court.
The new playground will feature a main play structure with two slides, a bridge, ladders and activity centers. It will be blue, green, yellow and maroon.
The existing swing set will remain, with new seats, and the size of the playground will remain the same, Kleinert said.
The playground will also feature a Saddle Spinner, which allows kids to use their weight to spin themselves around, a stand-up seesaw and a Double Bobble Rider, which allows tots to rock in all directions.
The advisory council is developing plans to raise enough money to replace the park's water feature, Kleinert said.
"It's off to the side, so we are on our own to replace that," Kleinert said.
The new playground may be built in the spring or fall at the eight-acre park named for the Polish-born French composer and pianist Frederic Francois Chopin, Kleinert said.
"Either way, it will be great," Kleinert said.
Kleinert said she was confident that improvements to the park would "snowball" and benefit the entire neighborhood by encouraging families to get more involved in nearby institutions such as Rineberg Elementary School.
"It will bring in new families, younger families who want to get involved and make the park more attractive," Kleinert said.
The park's wood chips will be replaced with Fibar, a soft, artificial surface that is designed to reduce injuries.
Chicago Plays! plans to renovate 300 parks during the next five years.
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