We won't know for sure until the 2010 census, but it sure feels like there's been a baby-boom in Brookland/Michigan Park/Woodridge. A quick survey of local playgrounds turns up a number of dilapidated and sometimes vandalized play areas which don't do much to inspire parents to bring their children out. Healthy and accessible open space and play areas are no small asset for parents raising children in the city. Getting outside, getting exercise, and connecting with the community are only a few of the perks of well attended playgrounds.
A number of local neighbors have begun organizing to do something about the neighborhoods' lack and we invite you to get involved. You don't have to be a parent to care about playgrounds. It's a benefit to us all when children of all ages have safe and healthy places to play.
Three ways to get involved:
Dream a Little Dream: We are soliciting ideas for the ideal park and playground. We are looking to the neighbors to tell us what you want to see in a new playground. The group intends to target a particular site to put our efforts behind, so gathering together the vision of the neighborhood helps. What are your favorite parks and why? What is your child's/nephew's/grandchild's favorite activity? Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday March 6th.
Make Some Noise for Noyes: The group quickly uncovered that the Noyes Park (map) is mired in budget politicking. Two years ago, the Department of Parks and Recreation completed a fantastic set of plans for development of the empty parcel bordered by 10th Street NE and Franklin Street NE. The park includes landscaped area and would be a benefit to all residents, not just families with children. Each year, during the usual round of cuts, this park is waylaid. The 2009 budget is presented in March and finalized in June, so this is our window of opportunity to lobby to keep this park in the budget!
It's valid to note that Ward 5's own Councilmember Tommy Thomas is the chair of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation. Other councilmembers include Carol Schwartz, At-Large, David A. Catania, At-Large, Phil Mendelson, At-Large, and Yvette Alexander, Ward 7.
Here is a sample letter. Please tailor it to reflect your concerns.
I am writing to ask for a moment of your time to email our council
member and mayor to include the funding for Noyes Park (the field at
10th & Franklin) in the 2009 budget.
Detailed plans for this site were drawn up over a year ago. The 2009 budget is being finalized over the next couple of months so it is a good time to support the addition of a beautiful landscaped park and playground to the neighborhood.
Join us for a Cuppa: Join the Brookland Playground Group at the next open meeting, March 8, 11 am, at Cardinals Nest for coffee and planning, 3748 10th Street, NE. The group is new and we are eager to invite input from the neighborhood.
Photo by elfrenetico