Mayor Richard M. Daley, along with community members, today officially dedicated the new campus park at Stewart Elementary School, 4525 North Kenmore Avenue.
This $1.64 million project was funded by the Wilson Yards Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and Open Space Impact Fees.
For a long time in Chicago, the typical elementary school was surrounded by concrete and asphalt playgrounds and parking lots, Mayor Daley said. Our campus parks program grew out of the unconventional idea that we can surround our schools with green, open spaces filled with grass, trees and flowers.
The Stewart Campus Park includes:
- Two sets of playground equipment with rubberized ground surface — one set for children ages 2 to 5 and another for children ages 5 to 12.
- New landscaping
- A multi-purpose field
- New open space
- Fencing for safety
- A trash compactor
Making improvements like these sends a powerful message to our communities that the school system cares about the condition of the buildings and the people who use them every day. We are essentially building parks on the grounds of our schools to improve the quality of life for our children and the entire community, Daley said.
The Campus Parks program is a $50 million dollar joint effort among the Public Building Commission of Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District.
Since we began our efforts to re-make the Chicago Public Schools, we have built or fully renovated 46 schools, expanded 66 others and added up-to-date laboratories, libraries and gymnasiums, Daley said. Just as important, we have torn out more than 100 asphalt playgrounds and turned them into campus parks like this one for students and neighborhood residents. These places draw residents rather than keep them at arms length, and serve as neighborhood anchors in ways public school buildings ought to.