As the dedication ribbon fell today, screams and shouts rang out as more than 100 Middleton school children rushed onto their new Skokie playground.
It isn't every day that the Skokie Park District dedicates a renovated playground as unique as the one at McNally Park – a playground that is modern, safe and environmentally friendly — and now will continue to serve the needs of hundreds of neighborhood families from Skokie for years to come.
As part of the park district’s five-year capital plan, it was determined that the 1994 playground structure was in need of replacement. At a public hearing in March this year, Middleton School families, with input by many of the Middleton students, helped select the new playground design. Before installing the new playground, the park’s old playground structure was removed and is now being refurbished by a Rockford company, for reinstallation in a third world country, where children do not have play structures.
The new playground is the first in the Skokie Park District to feature an all rubber play surface. It also features the park district's first “storm water filter” rain garden containing more than 760 wetland plants, which helps filter storm water before it enters the sewer system.
Through a collaboration between government and private institutions, the $350,000 park district project was completed thanks to the generous donations of $50,000 from School District 73.5, and $30,000 from the Ida Crown Jewish Academy.
The park district’s executive director, John Ohrlund spoke to a crowd of nearly 200, including local school and park district dignitaries, formally dedicating the playground. The ribbon was cut by a Middleton student along with board presidents Mike Reid (park) and Gary Dolinko (school), and Rabbi Leonard Matanky of Ida Crown.