Earlier today, Mayor Richard Daley, Ald. Eugene Schulter (47th), Chicago Park District Superintendent/CEO Tim Mitchell, and community members gathered at Chase Park (4701 N. Ashland Ave.) to dedicate a brand new playground.
The 7,481 square foot playground renovation features new equipment, rubberized soft surfacing (for wheelchair accessibility), two sets of swings, and separate play areas for preschool-aged kids and older kids.
The $500,000 renovation was funded through $150,000 from the Chicago Park District’s capital budget, $200,000 in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds, $50,000 from Allstate Foundation with assistance from the Chase Park Advisory Council (working with the Midnight Circus program), and $100,000 in State funding.
Daley stressed the importance of “building community anchors” in the midst of ongoing change in our neighborhoods. “There are two keys in each community,” he said. “Schools and parks.”
At the end of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Daley answered questions, some of which touched on his plan for dealing with the more than $654 million city budget deficit. The Mayor insisted that he doesn’t want to pursue tax and fee increases. “You cannot raise a fee. You cannot raise taxes,” he said.
Three city budging hearings are scheduled for next month: Sept 9 at South Shore Cultural Center; Sept. 10 at Westinghouse College Preparatory High School; and Sept. 16 at North-Grand High School.