Chicago Plays! is in the process of refurbishing hundreds of the city's parks and playgrounds. // Photo: Shutterstock
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Chicago Upgrades 325 Neighborhood Parks

Chicago, which has more than 8,000 acres of parkland and 580 parks, will be building or refurbishing 325 neighborhood playgrounds over the next few years, according to a press release by the City of Chicago.

The program, called Chicago Plays!, is spending $37.5 million, or about $125,000 for each park. This year alone, 103 playgrounds will be refurbished with modern equipment and new landscaping, starting on the South Side, the city says.

New playgrounds are currently being built in north and Southside Chicago neighborhoods, with a long list of more on the way, according to the release.

The newest playgrounds on the list include Lindblom Park and Murray Park (both in the West Englewood neighborhood), along with Kucinski-Murphy Park (in the McKinley Park neighborhood)—all to be completed between June and November. Up next, with playground groundbreakings that occurred on May 17, are Lazarus, Paschen and Matanky Parks (all in Rogers Park).

If all goes as planned, within the next few years, all Chicagoans will be just a 10-minute walk of a park or playground, according to the release.

Although many of Chicago’s neighborhood playgrounds are getting a refresh, it’s always important to consider playground equipment safety every time you go to the park.

After all, each year, more than 200,000 kids go to emergency rooms with injuries associated with playground equipment (most stemming from a fall), according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Here are some tips from the CPSC for staying safe on the playground:

  1. Check the area underneath the playground equipment for proper padding, to help break a fall. The ground should have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, or sand, or be padded with mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials.
  2. Walk the playground periphery looking for any dangerous hardware, like protruding bolts or hooks.
  3. Be alert to any tripping zones, such as tree stumps, large rocks or exposed concrete.
  4. Check any elevated parts of the playground for guardrails to prevent falls.

 

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