Thanks to persistent lobbying efforts of the Maplewood & Lucy Flower Park Advisory Council, West Bucktown's own Lucy Flower playlot has been approved for a makeover in 2013!
The Chicago Park District will foot the bill for for the lion's share of the estimated $425,000 it will take to upgrade the park’s aging playground equipment and add a small water feature. Another $140,000 will come from 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno, who has generously allocated a portion of his infrastructure menu funds over the next three years.
"I'm incredibly happy to help the neighbors around Lucy Flower Park, who are relentless allies in our never-ending effort to improve the community,” said Moreno. “I'm confident the remaining funds can be raised by utilizing the talent and generosity already demonstrated by the people from this part of the 1st Ward."
The West Bucktown community is responsible for kicking in $70,000. We are pleased to announce that we recently met this fundraising goal and will be turning over a check to the Chicago Park District on August 1! At that point, the construction project will be bid out, and if all goes well, we hope to be breaking ground in September. Donations and brick orders are still being accepted through July 31, and everyone who contributes $50 or more will be automatically included in the Lucy Flower "Seeds of Change" recognition program (see sidebar). You can donate online using your credit card or PayPal account, or if you prefer to pay by check, please make it payable to "Friends of the Park/Lucy Flower" and mail it to: MLFPAC, c/o Darcie Trier, 1647 N. Maplewood Ave., Chicago, IL 60647. Thank you for your support!
Leave Your Mark on the Park!
Help pave the way to a new and improved Lucy Flower Park by participating in our Buy-A-Brick program! This is a great way to demonstrate a visible and lasting show of support for the redevelopment of this wonderful playlot!
WEST BUCKTOWN'S HIDDEN GEM
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Much smaller in size and with none of the Park District programs of its big sister, Maplewood Park, Lucy Flower has long been considered the “hidden gem” of West Bucktown. That’s because what it lacks in square footage and organized activity, it more than makes up for with mature trees, plenty of summertime shade, and an intimate setting that makes it particularly attractive to families with small children.
In the last two years, Lucy Flower has received grant money to install raised beds and planter boxes, upgrade the water supply, and beautify the park with plants and flowers. The Lucy Flower Garden Club was formed, several "community clean-up days" were organized, and a free Children’s Garden Club was held at the park every other Saturday during the summer months.
But despite all of this progress, Lucy Flower is among the 37% of Chicago Park District playgrounds that still fall short of meeting national safety standards. Not surprisingly, one of the biggest issues at Lucy Flower is the use of wood chips in the playground area. Not only are the chips dirty and unsanitary, as well as difficult to navigate for people with disabilities, they are also not as shock absorbent as newer surfaces made from rubber or rubber-like materials. And that translates into the potential for more injured children.
To help make the case with the Chicago Park District to have Lucy Flower renovated, the Maplewood & Lucy Flower Park Advisory Council took a survey* last spring to see what types of improvements mattered most to West Bucktown residents. While new playground equipment was expected to rank high on the list, we were pleased to see that respondents also valued beautification efforts and the installation of a water feature.
The Park District recently unveiled final design plans for the renovation of Lucy Flower (see below) that include a soft play surface, modern playground equipment with age-appropriate features, two new benches, three picnic tables, and a small water feature. The designs also retain the existing sandbox and raised flower beds.We are excited about the transformation our little park is about to undertake, and we are grateful to the Park District for working so closely with us to make it happen!
*A link to this survey was posted at Maplewood and Lucy Flower Parks, emailed to everyone on the WBNA distribution list, and posted on the WBNA Facebook page. We regret that we do not have the volunteer manpower to personally contact each and every resident of West Bucktown. We continue to work to serve and represent the wonderful diversity of our neighborhood — but you can help us help you! Is your condo association or multi-unit building interested in receiving info? Please let us know who to contact. And if you want to be certain you always get the inside scoop, please click here to join the WBNA mailing list.
Lucy Flower photo Gallery
Just look at all the beautiful things that can happen when a community comes together to help a little park blossom and grow!