Forest Park Mayor Rory Hoskins wants the playground at the Howard Mohr Community Center, 7640 Jackson Blvd., to be upgraded and modernized and Village Administrator Moses Amidei is looking into how much an upgrade would cost.
Hoskins says that the playground, which includes an old jungle gym on a woodchip surface is very out of date.
“I think the playground equipment that’s back there has been there since around the ’80s,” Hoskins told the Review. “It’s pretty barren. … The fact that it’s in the same conditions of the ’80s says a lot.”
Community Center Director Karen Dylewski agrees that an upgrade is needed and the present jungle gym is out of date.
“Of course, it’s out of code and everything, but it’s been grandfathered in,” Dylewski said.
Amidei told the Review that he is in the process of getting cost estimates for new playground equipment, a modern rubberized surface, resurfacing the asphalt portion of the playground, and erecting new fencing around the playground area.
He estimated that it would cost at least $200,000. He hopes to bring the issue to the village council sometime in the not-too-distant future.
“I’m probably looking at mid-March at the earliest,” Amidei said. “We’re very, very in the infancy stage of this project, but it’s something that the mayor would like to see.”
Amidei says that the playground does not meet modern standards.
“The jungle gym is in dire need of a refresh,” Amidei said. “Hopefully, we’ll be able to get away from the woodchip surfacing and go to a rubberized surfacing.”
Amidei said the village could pay for improvements to the playground by using federal money from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 or using a state capital grant. He said a source of funding would be something for village commissioners to decide.
Hoskins said better fencing is needed, especially in the rear of the playground area that is adjacent to a wooded area that separates the playground from the CTA Blue Line terminal property.
“I believe that homeless people live in the shrubbery on the other side of the fence,” Hoskins said. “There’s a lot of bottles that suggest that people may be drinking alcohol back there.”
Dylewski also said better fencing is needed.
“We need it done. We need proper fences around it,” Dylewski said.