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Hamlin Park Makes Bid for New Playground at Park District Budget Meeting

By Patty Wetli | Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hamlin Park playground in need of an upgrade. Credit: Patty Wetli

Hamlin Park (3052 N. Hoyne Ave.) has a great pool, great ball fields and great programming. What it doesn’t have is a great playground, a situation the Hamlin Park Advisory Council aims to remedy. Having already raised $15,000 toward a renovation, the group’s president, Jody Boutell, made a pitch to the Chicago Park District to put Hamlin on its radar.

Boutell spoke Monday night at a 2013 CPD budget hearing held at Chase Park, a forum designed to collect feedback and wish lists from the community and “take it back to the powers that be,” according to Deborah Maddox, Area 6 Manager/North Region.

The cost of a playground renovation, which can run upwards of $500,000 depending on the design and equipment selected, is typically shared between the community and CPD. Boutell’s presentation was aimed at demonstrating both the need for a revamp and residents’ commitment to the project, all in the hopes of adding Hamlin to CPD’s capital campaign.

On the need front, Boutell cited outdated equipment, unsanitary conditions (dogs freely relieve themselves in the playground’s wood chips), and a general lack of yard space in which children can play. On the commitment front, well, an Easter egg hunt, expected to attract 50 neighbors, drew 600. And then there’s that $15,000, contributed just since April. (HPAC could double its coffers through ticket sales for Circus in the Parks.) “We learned that this community really wants to be involved,” said Boutell.

With a 2014 groundbreaking date in her sights — “We think we’ll be there in two years” — Boutell requested a project manager, someone to help guide HPAC through the renovation process. Maddox and Jim Rey, Park Operations Manager/North Region, concurred that HPAC was far enough along in the process to warrant consideration from CPD. “You’re starting off in the right direction,” said Rey.

Now let’s see if the powers that be agree.

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