ROGERS PARK — A group of neighbors north of Howard Street is petitioning the city for help planting an orchard and vineyard — and installing a sculpture garden — within the "underutilized" Triangle Park.
Eva McCann, a 32-year resident of the neighborhood, is working to drum up support for the proposal.
"This park was originally created to be a quiet, family park where people could come together and have a nice picnic or have a birthday party or something like that," she said. "North of Howard, there aren't a whole lot of quiet places."
Ben Woodard joins DNAinfo Radio to chat about the future of Triangle Park:
McCann, the founding president and current member of the Willye B. White Park advisory council, said the roughly 2-acre park could feature as many as 30 apple, peach, cherry and plum trees, as well as grape vines. The advisory council would take the lead in convincing the city to plant them.
If the city does, she said, the community would take over from there.
"That's the whole idea, that the community would have an investment in this project, and that they would reap the benefits of what they'd invested," she said, adding that local schools could use the orchard as a teaching tool.
Leaders at nearby Gale Math and Science Academy said they liked the idea at a local school council meeting last week.
"I support any positive-loitering use of that park," council member Kyle Hillman said. "I think it only helps the neighborhood."
McCann said her neighbors have complained recently about public drinking and marijuana use at Triangle Park.
"Most of the time it's harmless," she said, "but a lot of people don't like the activity."
So an orchard and vineyard, she said, could attract more people from the neighborhood to a park that's "underutilized."
The only other orchard in the city's park system is at Kilbourn Park in Irving Park on the Northwest Side. Those fruit trees were donated by the Pennsylvania-based Fruit Tree Planting Foundation in 2008.
McCann said she was reaching out to the foundation for more information about how to receive a donation of trees.
A Chicago Park District spokeswoman didn't immediately return a request for comment Tuesday, but McCann said she was informed to apply through the district's community gardening program.
Now she's collecting letters of support and petition signatures.
"I want to get as many people on board as possible," she said.