300 neighborhood parks to be renovated under Chicago Plays! - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

300 neighborhood parks to be renovated under Chicago Plays!

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Mayor Emanuel believes that one of the answers to solving Chicago's mounting violence problem is revitalizing the city – giving residents, especially the kids, better quality of life – starting with city parks.

The mayor and Chicago Park District Superintendent Michael P. Kelly broke ground Thursday, at Harding Playground at 3921 W. Division Street. The West Side park is one of the first 50 to be completely renovated with modern equipment and new landscaping.

Under the Chicago Plays! playground renovation program, 300 parks across the city will be repaired and refurbished over the next five years.

"Throughout Chicago's neighborhoods, we continue to invest in better public spaces and build stronger communities," Emanuel said. "The Chicago Plays playgrounds rebuilding program is just one example of efforts to build a new Chicago, and create a better quality of life and urban experience for every Chicagoan."

The Friends of the Park organization helped evaluate which equipment at which playgrounds needed to be replaced first – based on greatest need - in partnership with the Chicago Park District.

"Community members are an important part of understanding the neighborhood assets, how the space functions, and critical issues," Kelly said. "The input from residents is a giant step toward building community involvement with their local park."

Harding Playground and 49 other parks will be completely rebuilt by fall of 2013.

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