CHICAGO (CBS) — Parents say damage to a Chicago Lawn neighborhood playground is a danger to their kids – so why was it taking so long to repair?
As CBS 2’s Marie Saavedra reported Tuesday night, one social media post and email to an alderman later, there is now a fix.READ MORE: Man Arrested In Countless Social Media Threats Directed At CPS Schools, Days After Shootings Kill 2 Simeon Career Academy Students
“Everything about this park is what you would think of when you think of community,” said Jaime Growth Searle.
The playground inside Marquette Park in Chicago Lawn is a favorite of neighborhood kids and the parents who love them.
“It’s in the middle of daycare and dance lessons and home and the office and everything,” Groth Searle said.
Groth Searle and her husband bring their daughter to the playground when they can, and on Monday, they noticed a big problem.
There was some serious damage to several slides, steps, and spots where the cushioned floor wore out.
“How is there not tape on that? ‘Don’t play on that, kiddo, you’re going to get hurt!’” Groth Searle said. “That’s unacceptable.”
The damage hasn’t stopped the kids, but it did throw her.
“So I posted about it to see if anybody else had noticed,” Groth Searle said. “Like has this been going on for a while? Or is this new damage?”READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Warm Winds Friday
She found several other parents shared her concerns, including one who said they’d complained to the Chicago Park District and others for some time.
Marquette Park is primarily in the 17th Ward, so we called Ald. David Moore. He said it was the first he’d heard of it – but an hour and a half after we talked, we had company.
Chicago Park District crews removed the broken plastic right before our eyes.
“Do you think this would have happened if Marquette Park were up north? Because I don’t,” Groth Searle said. “When you come to the playground, and you’re reminded that you don’t matter in the quality of the play equipment, you’re told from an early age that your voice doesn’t matter.”
It seems Alderman Moore’s voice does, or at least it did this time. He told us the Park District said it made plans for repair here three weeks ago, but it happened only after he called when we alerted him to the damage.
In a statement, the Park District says the damage is “the result of vandalism,” and it is “working to replace the damaged equipment.”
It blamed “supply chain issues… expected to be resolved by mid-fall.”
Groth Searle is glad she didn’t have to wait that long for this to be a safer place to play.MORE NEWS: Hate-Filled Letters Falsely Claiming To Be From A Judge Sent To Minority-Owned North Suburban Restaurants
“This is a special park. It’s worthy of our kids to come and enjoy and play, and it’s worthy of us to sit and reflect,” she said. “It’s worthy of all those things, and I wish we would treat it like it is.”