FOTP and Chicago Park District Partner on Playground Renovation Program

Mayor Rahm Emanuel along with the Chicago Park District in partnership with Friends of the Parks launched Chicago Plays! Playground Renovation Program. To a crowd of community leaders, Park Advisory Council members, and legislators in the Harrison Park (1824 S. Wood) field house the Mayor revealed an aggressive initiative to replace 50 playgrounds a year over the next 5 years.

There are 523 playgrounds located within the Chicago Park District. 250 of these parks have been identified as more than 15 years old and in need of replacement. In a partnership with the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks will launch a community application to select 35 parks in 2013 to replace the playground equipment in these parks. In addition to the 15 playgrounds already planned this year a total of 50 playgrounds will be replaced.

The program will work by selecting 35 playgrounds through an application based process that will allow community organizations to nominate those playgrounds that are most in need. The program is open to community and neighborhood organizations such as Park Advisory Councils, Adopt-a-Park groups, scouting troops, block clubs, neighborhood associations, churches, Chamber of Commerce or any other community focused organization.

The program is only open to community organizations because both Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Park District believe that a new playground is an investment into the community and that residents should aid in the care and maintenance of neighborhood parks and playgrounds. Existing community organizations have the benefit of in-place community infrastructure that will facilitate residents adopting their playground and helping to maintain and keep clean the facility. Following the application process playgrounds will be chosen for renovation based on need, community input, and geographic equity.

As a partner in Chicago Plays, Friends of the Parks will manage the community engagement and outreach components of the program. One of our largest roles will be the management of the application process and acting as a technical assistance provider for community organizations. Additionally, during the redevelopment process Friends of the Parks will manage a series of workdays at ten of the playgrounds as well as providing continual technical assistance for communities that wish to organize volunteer opportunities.

Friends of the Parks and the Chicago Park District will host three information community meetings to go over the application process and expectations of the community.

  • South Region:  Saturday, March 23 at 10:00am:  Washington Park Refectory, 450 E. 55th Street
  • Central Region:  Monday, March 25 at 6:00pm:  Harrison Park, 1824 S. Wood Street
  • North Region:  Tuesday, March 26 at 6:00pm:  Independence Park Bungalow, 3900 N. Hamlin Street

For more information about Chicago Plays! Contact Maria Dmyterko Stone or Tim Jeffries at 312-857-2757 or by email at

Chicago Plays! Application

Map of playgrounds in Chicago