CITY HALL — A City Council committee on Thursday approved the expansion of a Bronzeville park named for Hadiya Pendleton, the King College Prep student killed in a South Side shooting shortly after she performed in President Obama's second inaugural two years ago.
"This park is in celebration of the life of Hadiya Pendleton," said 3rd Ward Ald. Pat Dowell, who sponsored the measure. "The area needs an amenity like a park."
Dowell said the expanded Pendleton Park, in the general area of 43rd Street and Calumet Avenue, would replace a playlot she considered an eyesore and community safety concern.
Yet Kathleen Williams and a few other local residents argued against the expansion.
Williams said it would force some people to go through the park on their way to the CTA station on 43rd Street.
"It's a safety issue for residents," Williams said. "Safety would definitely be jeopardized going through that park at night."
She said the loss of parking spaces in the park expansion would also create "a great disturbance to the residents and homeowners," adding that she'd prefer a housing development on that site to "stabilize the community."
Dowell countered that cul-de-sacs at both ends of the park would allow for street parking.
"The parking issue is not an issue," Dowell said, adding that she had held community meetings on the park and its expansion, and "this park enjoys lots of support throughout the community."
Pendleton was shot and killed as an bystander two years ago in an incident that got national attention. President Barack Obama spoke on her death, and most recently his wife, Michelle Obama, gave the commencement address for Pendleton's former classmates on their graduation from King College Prep.
The park expansion passed without aldermanic opposition and heads to the full City Council for final vote next month.
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