Chicago’s Playground Initiative Finishes One Year Ahead Of Schedule

CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly announced Saturday the completion of Chicago Plays! playground initiative.

The initiative built and renovated 327 playgrounds across Chicago so that every child, in every neighborhood is within a 10-minute walk of a world-class park or playground.

“We have strengthened the fabric of communities through one of the most aggressive playground rehabilitation programs in the country, bringing more recreational opportunities and play areas to children in every neighborhood,” said Mayor Emanuel, in a statement. “In Chicago, our investments in parks and playgrounds are ensuring that first-rate opportunities for exercise and play are the expectation for every family, not the exception.”

The program launched March of 2013, with Mayor Emanuel announcing more than 300 playgrounds in communities across the city be built, repaired or refurbished over five years.

All 327 playgrounds are now complete, four years later, which is one year ahead of schedule.

“Completing the Chicago Plays! program a year ahead of schedule is a great accomplishment,” said Superintendent Kelly, in a statement. “I would like to thank everyone who helped make this project possible, especially the park advisory councils and community leaders who worked with us.”

The program invested an average of $135,000 in each park location, for a total cost of approximately $44 million, the mayor’s office said. This plan follows the Mayor’s expansion of Chicago’s park system, which has already added 750 acres of new parkland, 256 new playgrounds and more than $800 million in capital investment from neighborhoods and private sources.

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