To the Editor:
During the spring and summer, I brought my 4-year-old daughter to Bixler Playlot almost every day. It was our home away from home, and we could be almost guaranteed to meet friends there every time we went. It had a sandbox, water, and a fence to keep her safe.
On Friday morning, I told her we could spend the day at Bixler Playlot, since the weather was forecast to be comfortable. We arrived to find that it was in the process of being bulldozed. My daughter was surprised and confused. So was I, since there had been no advance warning that this would happen. There has been no opportunity for the community of parents and children who use the park to give input or find out what the city has planned for this important community space. We also have no idea how long the park will be closed in the middle of summer, when it is the perfect time to play outside.
The way the Bixler Playlot changes have been handled is extremely frustrating and insulting, given how important it is to so many members of our community. I and many of my fellow parents want an opportunity to talk with those responsible for the destruction of the park to make sure that the following guidelines are honored:
- The shade trees should not be cut down.
- The sandbox and water feature should be kept.
- The fence should be kept.
- Playground equipment should be geared towards children 7 and under.
- The park should be reopened as quickly as possible.
Bixler is a unique space. There is no other park in Hyde Park with the same combination of shade, water, equipment for young children, central location, and a fence. I hope the Chicago Parks Department is willing to listen to how important this park is to our community.