Friday, August 8, 2014

Another Feather in Archer Heights' Cap, As Catalpa Playot Gets a Re-Design

By Joan Hadac
Editor and Publisher
Tim Hadac
Managing Editor
Southwest Chicago Post

The Archer Heights neighborhood received some good news Thursday evening, as a team
from the Chicago chapter of the ACE Mentor Program of America unveiled plans to help spruce up the Catalpa Playlot, 4324 South Kedvale.

The dozen or so students and their mentors unveiled a treehouse-type structure they had built, and the reaction from local children was immediate and gleeful--climbing up it, sliding down an attached slide and more.

For more information on the program and the program's plans for the playlot, check out

It was announced at Thursday's event that the Chicago Park District will refurbish Catalpa Playlot in 2015, as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "Chicago Plays!" initiative. That said, a Park District official later said that 2015 is not set in stone for Catalpa, and the facelift may occur later.

Catalpa Playlot was established in large part through the hard work of Archer Heights Civic Association Parks & Recreation Chairman (the late) Christine Sendzik and her team. In recent years, though, it has fallen on hard times. Gangbangers and other punks have damaged playground equipment, and those responsible for keeping the playlot in good working order--most notably, the Chicago Park District--have clearly failed.

And Park District officials apparently make no effort to hide that. On Thursday evening,
Catalpa Playlot was marred with graffiti on the entrance sign, water fountain, trash can and more. A swing was broken. A tree dead for several years still stood next to the sidewalk. Overgrown bushes in need of a trim stood near a front corner, jagged-metal remnants of poles that were not properly removed were mere steps from a children's water sprinkler play area--and that was laden with green slime that made the concrete slippery.

Fortunately, the Archer Heights Civic Association was on hand to chronicle all that and vow to follow up with Park District officials.

We trust that the Park District will get their act together and do their job at Catalpa, not just for the taxpayers (and their children) who live there, but to honor the impressive work that the ACE teams, their mentors and their donors have made possible for the betterment of Archer Heights. Their efforts have given a kickstart to a playlot that most certainly needed it, and for that the community---and the Chicago Park District--should be grateful.

Part of the implied message of Thursday's event is that when good people rally around a cause and apply their brains and brawn, just about anything good can happen.

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