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It may have taken a bit longer than everyone would have liked, but the installation of a new fence surrounding the playground equipment in the park at Circle and Randolph streets is a welcome sight.

“It looks good and more importantly it does provide a safe barrier to prevent kids from dashing out into the street,” said Sean Blaylock, a District 91 school board member and neighborhood parent.

Blaylock was one of several parents in the area who had expressed concern following the village’s removal of a chain link fence at the park in June last year. It was widely agreed that the previous fencing was unsightly, but a playground at such a busy intersection must also be safe, village officials and community members said.

A Chicago design firm was hired in July 2007 to draw up plans to install a safe and attractive barrier at the site, but Commissioner Marty Tellalian said that company was simply unresponsive. Those delays pushed the project into the fall season, but the village was unable to get the work done prior to the onset of winter.

“It shouldn’t have taken this long, but I guess I’m just happy that it’s in,” Tellalian said.

On April 25 a subcontractor recommended by McAdams Landscaping – a local outfit that submitted one of the original bids for the project – completed the installation. Forest Park is now working with that company on other improvements for the park, according to Tellalian, who oversees the management of public property.

Public Works Director Bob Kutak said he has ordered six benches for the park and expects to see a small, L-shaped stone wall constructed at the southwest corner near an existing monument commemorating the park.

For the fiscal year, which closed April 30, the village had budgeted $75,000 for various improvements to the municipal parks around town. The fencing cost roughly $10,000, according to Village Administrator Mike Sturino. Enhancements at the other parks are expected in the coming months, he said.

“That’s going to be the first of many little gems,” Sturino said.

The village also operates parks at 16th Street and Circle Avenue, Thomas Avenue and Adams Street, and on the east and west side of the junction of Lehmer Street and Circle Avenue.