Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago Park District Superintendent Timothy J. Mitchell, City officials and community members today celebrated the opening of Park 542 located at Sangamon and Adams streets.
In addition to this Park dedication, the City will have opened two beach houses, 25 new playgrounds, and will invest $14 million for ADA accessibility park improvements by the end of this year.
“Here in Chicago, we are dedicated to carrying out our mission of protecting human health and the environment, which in turn promotes the quality of economic development throughout our city and improves life for all our residents,” Daley said. “Residents of this community will now be able to enjoy a park that is truly a community center.”
At the event, Mayor Daley also reaffirmed the his commitment to greening the city through a collaboration with Chicago Gateway Green organization to form public-private partnerships to increase the overall count of trees and help plant and care for more trees in every neighborhood throughout the city.
Launched in 2008 and funded through the corporate sponsorship of Bank of America, the Tree Partnership Program is a large-scale tree planning initiative that transforms vacant land across Chicago into tree-filled green spaces. With the help of volunteers and socially-responsible corporate partners, the Tree Partnership Program actively works towards the goal of planting 15,000 trees in Chicago by 2015.
Since Mayor Daley took office in 1989, more than 600,000 trees have been planted in Chicago, but every year the city loses thousands of trees to severe weather, pests and disease. Citywide, there are more than 3.5 million trees, which serve to remove pollution from the air, reduce summer cooling costs and increase property values.
Park 542 occupies the site of a former infirmary and combines a sense of history with modern, innovative design elements. Park amenities include a fountain plaza, a children’s play area, a dog park, an open lawn area, a viewing hill, and an enclosed seating area with native landscaping.
The large destination playground on the northeast is ADA accessible, and allows for inventive, non-linear play without traditional playground equipment. The viewing hill mounds up 6’ and provides a stunning view of the entire park with a backdrop of the Chicago skyline. All the storm water on site is captured by the main permeable paved paths and stored on site.
“We are happy to provide this playground to this very active community,” said Timothy J. Mitchell, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO. “More than just a colorful play area, this playground will contribute to the growth and development of those who use it.”
To the south, the sunken dog park, complete with a continuously filling, oversized dog bowl, has ramps, ledges, steps, and artificial canine grass to provide an exercise area. The enclosed seating area flanking the southwest corner provides a contemplative space for the community, alongside the park’s largest planter