Community activist Ann Caruso, a former member of the Armour Square Park Advisory Council, continues to work for improvements to the park located at 3309 S. Shields Ave in the Armour Square/Bridgeport community.
Caruso recently discussed park needs with Art Richardson, region manager of the Chicago Park District.
“He was wonderful,” Caruso said. “He listened to everything I had to say.”
Caruso pointed out that, under the district’s Save Chicago’s Treasures initiative, the district is supposed to put money into parks that have landmark status. Armour Square Park has landmark status, and she wants the district to use funds for capital improvements there.
“Other parks are being fixed,” Caruso noted. “I don’t want to slight any park because I feel anything they do for any park is wonderful, but Armour should be in that category, too.”
She said Richardson told her the district will build a pickleball court in the park.
Michele Lemons, spokesperson for the Chicago Park District, noted both pickleball and tennis courts “are in bid, and construction will be in 2024.”
Caruso also asked for a new or repaired splash pad and sprinkler system for youngsters to play in during hot weather. “It’s always flooding, the sewer is always filling up, there’s water that sits in there stagnant for days, and that’s not good for kids playing in there,” she said.
Lemons said “a water spray feature is planned for 2024 through the ‘Chicago Splash!’ program.”
Caruso also pointed out broken concrete by the ladder leading to the pool, which should be fixed as well, and spoke with Richardson and park supervisor Gina Arredia about the need for the district to replace windows in the fieldhouse.
In November, after Caruso noted the community had asked for a new walking path for about 12 years and Gazette Chicago asked the Park District about it, the district resurfaced the walkway. Caruso generally was pleased but contacted Alderwoman Nicole Lee (11th Ward) about problems with the entrance to the path.
“I told her, ‘Go look and tell me what you think, because I think the front of it looks hideous,’” Caruso recalled. “So she ended up getting that part fixed.”
Lemons noted “a walkthrough with the district and the community is being scheduled to discuss next priorities for improvement and to identify outside funding opportunities.”
Caruso offered a final thought on the park situation, saying, “Putting money into the Ramova and other places is fine, but it is the parks where the kids go. That’s where we need it so the kids can get off their computers and out of their houses.”
To contact Armour Square Park, call (312) 747-6012. For the Chicago Park District, log on to www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call (312) 742-PLAY (7529) For Lee’s office, call (773) 254-6677.
—William S. Bike