After a slew of modifications, designs for the new School Street Playlot in Lake View are coming together just months before construction crews break ground in 2013.
Sitting on four lots of land at 1230 W. School Street, the park is slated to be the largest in Lake View, besides Lincoln Park on the lakeshore. The almost 20,000-square-foot park has been one of Ald. Tom Tunney’s (44th) goals for 10 years, and its on track to soon becoming a reality.
Jackie Earley, president of the School Street Playlot Advisory Council, says her team is already working on another round of design tweaks, but they’re excited to be one step closer to the original goal.
And that includes their fundraising goal. Between Lake View neighbors donating about $200 after a mega-garage sale and the group’s most recent photo fundraiser at the Southport Halloween Stroll, the advisory council is inching its way towards its $200,000 goal to purchase extra features at the park.
“Thanks to everyone who visited us on Southport today,” wrote the group on their Facebook page. “Between our Family Photo Fundraiser and Brick Sales we made over $1000 for your new park! One step closer!!!!”
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But Earley and her team aren’t alone. The School Street Park is estimated to cost upwards of $2.5 million, and area officials have been instrumental in securing the land and cash needed to make it a reality.
Between a large chunk of money set aside over the years from Ald. Tunney, a $500,000 commitment from the Chicago Parks District, another $500,000 commitment from Sen. John Cullerton and a 5,000-square-foot land donation from neighboring business Craftsman Planting & Tinning, the park will be a team effort.
Part of that team is also a whopping $750,000 pledge by the Chicago Cubs. Earley says in the past, whenever Wrigley Field would host a concert, Ald. Tunney would receive a sum of money from the Cubs because of the impact a crowd that size has on the neighborhood. However, in recent years, the ward has not collected that money, asking that it rather be put aside for the School Street Park.
While Earley is already working on the next round of designs, the park will feature things like kid-friendly water sprayers with a soft play surface, shaded picnic and play areas, plenty of landscaping and playground equipment. In the new donated lot, the group plans to keep it open and spacious for future programs and events.
More information on how to volunteer or donate to the project can be found on the School Street Playlot website.