Horner Park Advisory Council Struggles With Park District Planning

By Sam Charles | Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Members of the Horner Park Advisory Council, including Vice President Larry Brown, left, were irked by the lack of communication between HPAC and the CPD in regard to new trees being planted. Credit: Sam Charles

Besides revisiting plans for a potential enclosed dog park at last Monday evening’s meeting, the Horner Park Advisory Council addressed a variety of plans for its immediate future while keeping a close eye on its current endeavors.

The Council’s current finances, a newly redesigned website and a discrepancy with the Chicago Park District’s tree-planting procedures were among the most-discussed topics during the Nov. 5 meeting, held on the second floor of the Horner Park field house. Though not all the news discussed was positive, Council’s activity level left a good impression with members.

“One of the things that keeps advisory councils like this is different projects,” said Council member John O’Connell. “If you can bring in projects, that brings in people.”

According to the minutes from the Oct. 1 HPAC meeting, the council currently holds $20,754.84, a combination of checking, savings and PayPal.

Tom McManamon, the Horner Park Supervisor, brought to light an incident where the CPD failed to alert him of plans to plant more than 40 trees throughout Horner.

Moore Landscaping, a private contractor, did the planting. CPD’s new policy, council member Theresa Hicks said, is to award all tree-planting contracts to private entities.

“Moore Landscaping does a lot of privatization for the Chicago Park District,” McManamon said.

Larry Brown, HPAC’s vice president, expressed concern at the lack of communication between CPD and HPAC when the issue was brought to his attention.

“CPD is not working with this organization nor talking with the park supervisor,” Brown said. “That’s scary. What if we had a project that was about to come to fruition in an area that we planted trees?”

McManamon also raised the prospect of Horner hosting a baseball clinic next spring to coincide with the MLB’s Spring Training.

The council’s website, recently redesigned by council member Sarah Reiser, was universally praised by other council members who believe it could help residents become more involved with the park and more aware of HPAC’s plans.

A discussion in regard to the murky potential negotiations with the CTA to lease the space adjacent to the Jacob Playlot on Virginia and Leland Aves. was tabled until the next meeting because of time constraints.

The next meeting is to be held on Dec. 3, but the Council has yet to decide where. They are considering hosting the meeting at an area business to possibly attract more area residents.

For a recap of the council’s most recent discussion of the potential dog park, click here.

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