The Chicago Park District on Wednesday sponsored a groundbreaking event at the southeast corner of Devon and McCormick for Park 526, which will be located on the site of the former abandoned parking lot that for twelve years blighted the western gateway to West Rogers Park.
While the formal presentations by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Park District, the Alderman and remarks Alderman Silverstein invited me to give on behalf of the community were cancelled due to wind gusts in excess of 55 mph, the good news augured by the occasion will be with us for years to come.
Plans for a beautifully designed greenbelt with recreational opportunities for people of all ages are officially underway. Credit for this new neighborhood amenity goes to the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District for offering to make the site available to the Chicago Park District -- and to our Alderman for her commitment to making good things happen in our community. MWRD Executive Director David St. Pierre, responding to growing frustration with blighted conditions at Devon and McCormick, made the offer that Ald. Silverstein shepherded to fruition at a community meeting organized in 2015 by Jewish Community Council of West Rogers Park.
We are fortunate that our neighborhood has been the beneficiary of ongoing investments by families and individuals who are improving their homes; by communal and religious institutions that are upgrading and building anew; and by our city, which is completing the Devon Avenue streetscape, working toward a 2019 opening of a new CPL branch building at Pratt and Western, and now the building of Park 526.
I clearly remember, as do others, visiting the neighborhood’s beloved Kiddieland decades ago. While Kiddieland came and went, the park -- by whatever name it will ultimately be known -- will be here to stay.
As a neighborhood resident who often runs, bikes and walks the trail that passes through the site of Park 526, I along with countless others of all backgrounds look forward to the recreation and enjoyment it will bring to the community.
WRP is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the city. Our work in coalition with other ethnic and religious groups on this and other projects bodes well for our future.