The rotted, rusted, drab and dangerous playlot is set to be transformed into a state-of-the-art playground by the Chicago Park District through the Chicago Plays program, but Edison Park Chamber of Commerce officials want to make it a one-of-a-kind playground and honor Blackhawks CEO John McDonough, an Edison Park native.
"We are excited to be receiving this new playlot for our community, especially one that will be so unique to Chicago," said Melissa McIntyre, the executive director of the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce.
In 2012, Chicago Park District officials shot down a plan to renovate the park at 6755 N. Northwest Hwy. and name it after McDonough, citing a policy that prohibits parks and playgrounds from being named after people until at least a year after they die.
While the Chicago Plays program will contribute $125,000 in new equipment, a fundraising campaign hopes to raise another $100,000, officials said.
The playlot was last renovated in 1984, and on a beautiful spring day last week, was empty.
Ald. Mary O'Connor (41st) said the park would be a "tremendous" addition to the Edison Park community. O'Connor will leave office next month after losing her bid for a second term to Chicago firefighter Anthony Napolitano.
O'Connor said she was pleased the playlot would honor McDonough, whom she called "a legend with deep, deep roots to the community."
McDonough graduated from St. Juliana's School in Edison Park. After the Blackhawks won the National Hockey League championship in 2010 and 2013, McDonough brought the Stanley Cup to Brooks Park for a community celebration.
McDonough joined the Blackhawks in 2007, and has been president and CEO since 2011. He also spent two decades with the Chicago Cubs.
A spokesman for McDonough and the Blackhawks did not return phone messages Thursday.
The first phase of the fundraising campaign offers Blackhawks fans a chance to win what the chamber is calling the Ultimate Fan Package. Tickets for the raffle are $100, and are available at edisonpark.com or by calling 773-631-0063 through April 17. Only 500 tickets will be sold, organizers said.
The winner will get four 100-level tickets to a 2015-16 Chicago Blackhawks home game, four custom Blackhawks jerseys and dinner before the game at the Ketel One Club at the United Center, organizers said.
The winner will watch Blackhawks players warm up from the Zamboni Tunnel, tour the locker room and meet some members of the team, organizers said.
The winner will be announced at the Score One for the Playlot Fundraiser later this month. The event will be scheduled once the team's playoff schedule is finalized, McIntyre said.
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