BUCKTOWN — A small neighborhood park in Bucktown has reopened with new playground equipment after neighbors worked with local officials to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for much-needed improvements.
Ehrler Park, 2230 W. Cortland St., is now open with new playground equipment, a rubber playing surface and other upgrades. It’s the first time the park has been renovated in 20 years, according to the Park District’s website.
In 2019, the park’s advisory council launched a fundraising campaign to pay for improvements. The equipment and other facilities had deteriorated, leading to safety issues, said Dan Sandler, park advisory council member.
Through a GoFundMe, the council raised more than $60,000 with the help of neighbors and local businesses.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) also kicked in $150,000 from his ward menu money, according to his office, with the Park District funding the rest of the $486,000 project, officials said.
“We are here because we are with great members of the community: the alderman and members of the park advisory council who were so instrumental in raising money to help us build these wonderful renovations,” said Park District CEO Rosa Escareño at a ribbon cutting Friday.
A few final steps in the project, like replacing water fountains, are being completed.
Sandler said he hopes the new playground will be just the first step in a larger renovation of Ehrler Park. The council is still raising money through its GoFundMe to install a turf field, along with other landscaping.
Still, Sandler said after years of organizing and fundraising, he’s relieved and excited about the progress they’ve made.
“It was like a long process. The park finished faster than they thought, than we thought. It came out beautiful. I think you could tell by the people here that everyone wanted it to happen,” he said.
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