Hairston announces community meeting to clarify parkland proposals

Staff Writer

Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) has set a date for when Chicago Park District officials will speak with community members about recent and proposed changes to Jackson and Washington parks.

The meeting aims to assuage the concerns of park goers who have felt, in recent months, that park revamps are going forward with little input from the community.

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Tuesday, May 31, at La Rabida Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Dr.

In addition to park district officials, representatives from the non-profit organization Project 120 will be in attendance. Project 120 has been responsible for many of the latest revitalization efforts within Jackson and Washington parks.

At a 5th Ward meeting on Tuesday, May 24, Hairston took issue with Project 120’s decision-making power.

“Some people outside of the community have decided it’s best that they make decisions for us,” Hairston said. “But their vision is not our vision and their vision is not my vision.”

Hairston explained that, at the May 31 meeting, Park District officials will present a timeline of recently finished and forthcoming projects in Jackson and Washington parks.

“Nothing is going to happen in these parks unless we are a part of it,” Hairston told her constituents.

The alderman also stressed that with the Obama Presidential Center coming to the South Side, residents will have to become more involved in park governance processes if they are to have any say in future plans.

She said, “We really need to be involved, we can’t sit back and let others make the decisions that impact our communities the most.”