MCKINLEY PARK — Several local parks are getting an upgrade, courtesy of a continuing effort that aims to rehabilitate or build playgrounds across the city.
In line for upgrades this summer are Kucinski-Murphy Playlot Park, 1635 W. 33rd Place; McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Road; and McKeon Park, 600 W. 36th St.
Some of the renovation work is already underway. The Kucinski-Murphy playlot, for example, is closed as crews work to install a new playground, which is slated to include features like a triple slide, clubhouse and a balance-testing "Swiggle Stix bridge."
The projects are part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Chicago Plays!" program, which launched in March 2013. Each individual project rehab or construction costs about $125,000, according to a Park District spokeswoman. Citywide, the program's total cost is estimated to be $37.5 million.
The work is expected to wrap up in June.
Emanuel last week visited Kucinski-Murphy Playlot Park to announce the 2014 program.
That park was for decades known as the 33rd Place Playground but was changed in 1999 when neighborhood residents asked to have it renamed to honor Rose Murphy and Vicki Kucinski, childhood friends who were killed in a car wreck on their way back to Chicago from the Woodstock 25th anniversary festival in 1994.
According to a Chicago Tribune story from that year, Murphy, 21, was pursuing a career as a professional flautist and had been a receptionist at Our Lady of Good Counsel, 3528 S. Hermitage Ave. Kucinski, 25, was a graduate of Bowling Green University who volunteered as a youth minister and organized activities for teenagers.
A complete list of parks slated to be refurbished or rebuilt can be found here.