ENGLEWOOD — Feelings of triumph prevailed as residents and activists broke ground on a new playlot on an Englewood block that’s being transformed lot by lot.
Not even a torrential downpour could kill the positive feelings as work got underway Friday.
The reclaimed vacant lot at 6415 S. Honore St. will be the first new playlot in the area in years, and be a part of what’s being called a Peace Campus on the block.
An abandoned home across the street was already turned into a community center called the Peace House. Next door sits a basketball court.
“We asked residents what they wanted, and it was a place for children to play. They didn’t have that,” said Robbin Carrol, founder of I Grow Chicago, a non-profit organization behind the Peace Campus.
“Today is a big day,” Carrol said.
With the help of I Grow Chicago, residents have quietly transformed the 6400 block of Honore into the Peace Campus, a safe space where neighbors tend to a community garden or meet at the Peace House for yoga. It is a welcomed change from a time when people were too afraid to come outside.
The final design of the playlot was decided by residents and conceptualized by Krueck + Sexton Architects, a Chicago-based firm. Construction will be led by team of local artisans: Erik Peterson, Lara Rosenbush and Bryan Saner, who will work alongside job trainees hired from the neighborhood.
The playlot was made possible by donations from the NFL Foundation and the BLS Foundation of the Jewish Federation.
Miss Gwen, a longtime resident who has been an activist for over 50 years, has seen the neighborhood through its highs and lows. She feels blessed to witness its rebirth.
“I saw Robbin come in and start getting things together,” said Miss Gwen, who runs a self-care focused group for moms in the neighborhood. “I don’t even live on this Honore, but by being over here for 50 years and seeing the neighborhood fall down and somebody else was coming in to pick it up, I had come on in.”
Construction of the playlot is scheduled to be completed next year.
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