LINCOLN PARK — Oz Park's playground is getting a much-needed makeover just in time for fall.
The beloved park's Dorothy's Playlot, 2021 N. Burling St., is getting $157,000 worth in "necessary" repairs, according to Ald. Michele Smith (43rd).
Most of that money, which comes from a combination of the aldermanic infrastructure budget, the Chicago Park District and a contribution from the Oz Park Advisory Council, will go toward improving the playground's "deteriorating" surface by installing artificial turf.
The surface of the playground has seen better days:
It'll mark the fourth time the surface has been replaced since the park was built by the community in 1988, according to Judy Johanson, one of the founding council members. The playground was built using donated treated lumber from Lee Lumber with design guidance from Robert Leather.
The rest of the money will go toward a "long list" of fixes like repairing railings and gates, Johanson added.
The money had to come from a combination of sources because the park district told the council in February it would not be able to fund the project alone due to budget cuts, Johanson said.
Smith called it "a good example of different entities coming together to fund a community project."
Johanson and other council members are used to finding the money to make improvements on the park, which is known for its trio of John Kearney-designed "Wizard of Oz" sculptures.
Over the last 20 years, she said, the council has raised more than $1 million towards the park's amenities, including, but not limited to, its sculptures, gardens, yellow bricks and running track.
"The whole park is almost privately funded," Johanson said.
The park will undergo construction for four weeks beginning Monday.
When it's completed, Oz Park will have an "almost new" playlot, Johanson said.
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