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Barnard Park Playground Gets A Face-lift After 26 Years On Longwood Drive

By Howard Ludwig | September 24, 2014 8:12am
 The new Barnard Park at 10431 S. Longwood Drive in Beverly was unveiled on Tuesday after a $125,000 renovation. New playground equipment was installed and more than 25 trees were planted around the often-overlooked park near the Metra tracks.
Barnard Park Renovation Complete
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BEVERLY — Kate Vandergroef was in sixth grade when the playground at Barnard Park was first unveiled in 1989. She returned with her two children on Tuesday to see it redone.

The mother of Rhys, 2, and 9-month-old Carys won't miss the aged swingset at 10431 S. Longwood Drive. Nor will she mourn the playground's dilapidated metal animals perched above rusty, metal springs reserved for only the most daring children to ride upon.

But Barnard Park does hold a special place in her heart. Vandergroef had her first kiss some 20 years ago in the park, which has been rehabbed through the Chicago Park District's Chicago Plays! program.

Barnard Playground is No. 66 of 103 playgrounds set to be built or rehabbed this year. The $125,000 renovation of the roughly 2-acre park began on July 20, according to Park District Supt. Michael Kelly.

"I'm hopeful that this playground is reflective of other parts of the city where once you put in new equipment, you see more people using the park," Kelly said.

Barnard Park is the closest park to the home of Genaya Syverson of Beverly, but the mother of four had avoided it because of the park's proximity to the busy Metra railroad tracks and the run-down playground equipment.

"There were some pieces of equipment that made me a little nervous as a mom," Syverson said.

Her opinion of the park changed on Tuesday along with the opinion of Rebecca Healy of Beverly, who also vowed to frequent to park more often with her three children now that the renovations are complete.

"We had stopped coming because it was kind of dangerous," Healy said.

Ald. Matthew O'Shea (19th) pointed to the roughly 25 trees that were planted around the park as part of the playground rehab. He too believes the new equipment and overall face-lift will attract a bigger crowd to the often-overlooked park.

"I think a lot of people will come back," O'Shea said.

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