Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The New McKiernan Park

Bits and pieces from the Southtownstar article.

A new playground is being installed at McKiernan Park, 10714 S. Sawer Ave.

The new playgrounds will be completed in about six weeks. Thanks to a donation from Team Reil, a playground company based in northwest suburban Union. The company is also installing artificial turf beneath the playground, eliminating muddy shoes or those messy woodchips one often finds in parks.

The value of the project has been placed at $500,000 by a grateful Chicago Park District, spokeswoman Michele Jones said.

The new playground could lead to more of the same around the city. At least that's the hope of John Cederlund, the president of Team Reil, which represents Missouri-based Miracle Recreation. Miracle makes the playground equipment being installed while Team Reil specializes in fake grass.

Two years ago, Cederlund approached park district officials with the offer of a free playground. Eventually, word got to Ald. Ginger Rugai (19th), who liked the idea.

Cederlund knows that the gesture is appreciated, and hopes it translates to more business for his company. If not, that's OK, too, he said.

"Chicago is too big an account to not try to get back. A lot of influential people live there," Cederlund said of the politically-connected 19th Ward. "All in all, it's great for the kids. This will be nice for them, and we're happy about it. Everybody is happy about it," Cederlund said.
The park district is certainly happy because it's getting a new playground for free.

McKiernan will be the first park in the city to have artificial grass, she said. Cederlund said the product is durable and, perhaps best of all, needs no watering.

Rugai provided $80,000 in city funds to pay for the demolition and a sub-surface drainage system that had to be installed before construction, Jones said. The old playground equipment "was fairly dated," Jones said.

There will be two separate playground structures, Jones said. One is for children ages 5 and younger. The other is for children ages 5 to 12.

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