Details of new playground for Pleasant Point Park Revealed
By BRIAN NADIG
The construction of a new playground that will feature several natural elements is expected to be completed by late fall at Pleasant Point Park, 6801 W. Imlay St.
“It’s definitely a different concept than we normally do,” Chicago Park District project manager Randy DuRussel told a group of 15 residents at an April 25 community meeting held by Alderman Mary O’Connor (41st). The Pleasant Point Park Advisory Council has been lobbing for improvements at the park for several years.
Plans call for the elevation of the playground to vary, and a small plaza with picnic tables will be at its peak, nearly 6 feet from the ground. Access to the plaza will be from either a stone-like staircase or a handicapped-accessible landscaped pathway.
The park also will have at least one slide that will run down an embankment in the center of the playlot and a dome-shaped apparatus that will have climbing nets and ladders. The playground also will feature an interactive bridge, mushroom-shaped hopping devices, and a large concrete bench that will be designed in the shape of tree branches with features designed to deter use by skateboarders.
The $550,000 cost of the project is being funded through unused private donations which were made to help cover the city’s expense of hosting the NATO summit last summer, O’Connor said. Normally the park district relies on park groups to raise about one-third of the cost of a new playground.
Several parks in the city reportedly are receiving NATO funds. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said that he plans to use the approximately $10 million in unused donations for “NATO legacy” projects.
According to residents, the existing playground was built in the 1980s, with some minor improvements made over the years. The park district had a design for a new playground at the park created about 6 years ago, but the project was never funded, DuRussel said.
Residents at the meeting asked if additional lighting could be installed near the playground and if swings for tots could be added to the project. The park has a swing set that has belt seats for tots, but tentative plans call for the existing swings to be replaced by a multi-user tire swing.
The park’s water feature will feature jet sprays, and the water will flow down an embankment, allowing the creation of a dam. The existing water feature in the park has a continuous spray, and the new one will be activated by a pedal and will automatically turn itself off after a period of time.
The playground surface is covered by wood chips, but plans call for a rubberized surface to be installed under any raised equipment, DuRussel said. He said that measures are being taken to preserve the trees in the park and that new planter boxes will be installed for shrubs and perennials.
The nearly 2-acre park, which is at the southwest corner of Imlay and Newcastle Avenue, was constructed about 80 years ago, and it has a basketball court. In 1999 the park district renamed the park in honor of the former Pleasant Point Improvement Association, but several residents at the meeting said that it is more commonly referred to by its previous name of Imlay Park.