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Mayor Emanuel and Speaker Madigan celebrate open of $550K Lawler Park playground

Mayor Emanuel joins Speaker Madigan and community members to celebrate the opening of a newly restored playground at Lawler Park.
Mayor Emanuel joins Speaker Madigan and community members to celebrate the opening of a newly restored playground at Lawler Park.
Photo Credit: City of Chicago // Brooke Collins

All politics is local and some politics are really local as Mayor Rahm Emanuel celebrated the opening yesterday of a new playground and two spray features at Lawler Park, 5210 W. 64th Street. Joining Mayor Emanuel were Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael Kelly, 13th Ward Alderman Marty Quinn and many members of the Clearing community.

The celebration was a time out from the rough and tumble world of Illinois politics. It is not known if Mayor Emanuel and Speaker Madigan discussed the issues of the day, particularly "pension reform," something both politicians want. For Mayor Emanuel, it means easing the year-to-year budget deficits at the Chicago Public Schools.

For Speaker Madigan, it means financial stability for the state of Illinois.

The Saturday afternoon celebration was a nice reprieve for both gentlemen.

The new playground is part of the "Building a New Chicago program," which is a comprehensive $7.3 billion infrastructure renewal program put forward by Mayor Emanuel. In the tradition of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, the Mayor announced a comprehensive plan to build and improve parks throughout the city, so that every Chicagoan is within a ten minute walk of a park.

"Parks and green spaces play a key role in improving the quality of life for Chicagoans and serve as anchors of strong communities," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "I am excited to celebrate the opening of the new Lawler Park playground and I look forward to the seeing the positive affects it has for the children and families of Chicago."

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan was also excited about the completion of the project. "Lawler Park has been an important asset for many decades. These improvements will add to the vitality of our neighborhood."

"The Emanuel Administration continues to give community improvements a top priority. "The Lawler Park project continues that commitment,” added Alderman Marty Quinn.

The cost of the project was pegged at $550,000 and includes for Lawler Park a new playground, spray features, pathway improvements, lighting and landscaping. The new, state-of-the-art playground meets or exceeds ADA accessibility guidelines, including ramps where possible. The walking paths surrounding the playground have also been repaved with new concrete.

"The Chicago Park District takes great pride in creating new play areas to meet the needs of the communities that they serve," said Michael Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. "Our goal is to provide safe places for children to play and enjoy the outdoors."

Lawler Park is part of Chicago Park District’s current five-year capital improvement plan identifies more than 800 projects located in all of the city’s wards. Program highlights include the construction of 20 new playgrounds that will impact 100,000 children between the ages of 2-14 years.

Send John Presta an email and your story ideas or suggestions, johnpresta@att.net.

John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African American studies, published by The Elevator Group, Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books. John has volunteered for many political campaigns. John is an unpaid volunteer and social media advisor at Robin Kelly for Congress.