By AARON GETTINGER
In an “annual kickoff to summer,” the Chicago Parks Foundation is organizing It’s Your Park Day on Saturday, June 16, in 50 parks citywide and locally in Jackson, Washington, Jessie “Ma” Houston and Kenwood parks and the Midway Plaisance.
The Jackson Park Advisory Council invites volunteers to both a tour and a workday. The tour, “After the White City,” will meet at the La Rabita Children’s Hospital, 6501 S. Promontory Dr., where there is free parking. It will cover the construction of the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Dr., the La Rabita campus and the Jackson and South Shore parks’ golf courses after the 1893 World Columbian Exhibition. At 11 a.m. volunteers will meet at the playlot at 67th Street and Jeffrey Drive and the south end of the parking lot at 67th Street and Lake Shore Drive to work on the park.
At the Houston Playground Park, 5001 S. Cottage Grove Ave., volunteers will pick up trash and spread mulch around trees and fibar around the playground from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. As at all parks, light refreshments will be provided. “It will be a great way to improve the neighborhood and get to know your neighbors,” said Houston PAC President Alex Breland.
At Kenwood Park, 1330 E. 50th St., the park advisory council has planned volunteer activities, including cleanup and mulch spreading, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. They encourage volunteers to bring frisbees and sports equipment for community bonding during the day, however, and participants will be able to watch a Hyde Park–Kenwood legends baseball game as well.
Volunteers will clean up the Midway Plaisance all morning from 9, meeting at the ice rink fieldhouse, 1130 Midway Plaisance N., followed by storytelling artists from 10 a.m. and pickup soccer at 11 a.m. To commemorate the 125th anniversary of the World Columbian Exhibition world’s fair, a free historical walking tour will begin at 11 a.m. Departing from the Midway and Stony Island Avenue, the tour will “start” in 1867 and continue through the present day, discussing Exhibition sites along the way.
Volunteers are encouraged to register in advance for planning purposes and will receive a free T-shirt for their service; registration is at www.chicagoparksfoundation.org/iypd. Families and people of all ages are encouraged to volunteer.