Hundreds of children and their parents turned out to celebrate the opening of the renovated Penny Park at Lake Street and Ashland Avenue in Evanston this noon.

The park which features wooden playground equipment was built more than a quarter century ago on the site of a shuttered parochial school that had involved many neighbors in the construction process.

Some of the neighbors who raised their hands when Alderman Peter Braithwaite, 2nd Ward, ask for a show of hands from the crowd of people who’d helped build the original version of the park.

City officials decided in 2014 that the original wood play structures had decayed so much that they needed to be rebuilt or replaced. But neighbors objected to plans to replace them with more conventional playground equipment made of plastic — as proposed by the consulting firm that had designed the original park.

Eventually the city found a new firm that designed and built the new, handicap accessible version of the playground using wood that was dedicated today.

City employees grilled hot dogs and passed out potato chips to help the kids refuel after they’d gotten a good workout on the playground equipment.

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Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. This was a poorly planned

    This was a poorly planned event for being advertised so heavily. I only saw two cases of water and only one water fountain. The chips were gone waaayyyy before the hot dogs. Not everyone even got food. Kids were turned away “sorry we are out” was the response given. Tsk tsk Mr. Alderman. Don’t invite your city if you can’t even provide them a bottle of water on a warm day. 

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