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Fosco Park Revamp Falls Short for Some Community Members

Community Forum- 2nd Ward-4/9/07
Image by biverson via Flickr

The Chicago Park District and Ald. Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward) unveiled plans for a new Fosco Park at 1313 S. Throop St., but not all the residents at the May 2 meeting were pleased.

The plans presented at the meeting for the revamped Fosco Park included a large green space, an assortment of trees and park benches along the park’s four-foot fence.

“Four feet does not even address the concerns,” said Mike Kelly, a 2nd Ward resident.

“You might as well save your money, that isn’t going to keep anyone out.”

Some residents of the 2nd Ward are worried about their safety in the park.

Currently, Fosco Park has security cameras on its inside facilities, but none on the outside. Residents at the meeting expressed the need for security cameras that not only monitor but also record activity in the park. Fioretti said that would be possible.

The park will  feature high canopy trees, so everything will be clearly visible throughout. Due to the fact of it’s high volume traffic, there will be no entry into the park from Racine Avenue.  The Chicago Park District wants this area to be safe for children’s play.

“I feel as though this only caters to a certain age group,” said Linda Sharp, a 2nd Ward resident.

“If you want crime to go down, you have to give the kids something to do, and I don’t see a whole lot they can do with a patch of green space.”

Sharp and others in the audience said they would prefer a field or a skate park that way the kids had activities.

Stretching a little less than an acre, the new Fosco Park will include park benches and other amenities, but no sports fields.

Joseph Bornstein, project manager for the Chicago Park District, said there is no space for a regulation ball field.

Some in the audience suggested removable sports fields and bleachers, but that’s up for debate. The budget is limited for this park and Bornstein said that bleachers may not be a reasonable expenditure, but he’s “open to what the people want.”

To save money and get the project underway, the Chicago Park District decided to use one contractor for both the cleaning and the building of the area.

The park district worked closely with the Chicago Housing Authority on the park’s design. Bornstein presented three possible layouts for the acre of land to the audience and allowed them to take a vote.

Despite the upheaval over sporting field space and community safety, the vote was unanimous. Residents voted on the third design, which feature the most open green space in a circular design.

“This park will be here long after we’re gone,” said Fioretti.

“So we need to think about what’s best for the future generations.”

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