Thursday, March 22, 2012

"State of Winnemac Park" & Park Advisory Council Meeting

On Monday, March 19th, over 20 neighbors attended an informal meeting led by members of the previous Winnemac Park Advisory Board and Winnemac Park Supervisor Lisa Ragucci. 

Members of the Board gave a brief history of the Park and their organization, which was formed by neighbors around 15 years ago. At that time, there was no Park Supervisor, few trees and the playlot equipment was outdated. With the Board's efforts, the Park was transformed to the neighborhood treasure it is today. 

Park Supervisor Lisa Ragucci then presented an overview of Spring park programs. Programs start the first week of April. You can find a list of these programs at the Park District's web site You will need to create an account and sign in. For Location, choose "Winnemac Park". The pool at Amundsen High School has re-opened, although too late to have programs listed on the Park District website.  Pool programs for all ages also start the first week of April. Please note online registration has closed and you will need to register in person or by phone.  You may also contact Lisa at or at (312) 742-5101 to confirm park information.

The Park Supervisor explained the ongoing issue of the muddy lawn in the south east part of the Park is due to digging by the City Water Department to perform repairs on existing underground pipes.  They have yet to restore the area to its previous condition. There was discussion of installing a shallow flood retention ditch to handle water overflow during heavy downpours in that area. In the wintertime, it could be used as a toddler sledding "hill".

A discussion of possible improvements to the park took place with the sobering news of hefty price tags associated with most suggestions. The layout of the existing playlot swingset was designed to have one additional section (called a "pod"). A swing would cost $6,000. A dedicated dog park runs around $350,000.  A new fieldhouse would cost substantially more. 

Vandalism at the Park is an ongoing concern. Past attempts to install and maintain a community sign board were quickly defaced by vandals. Communication about Park activities to the neighborhood will need to be via internet and flyers. 

The possibility of starting a youth baseball program was also discussed. The ball fields are used by the schools, so scheduling may be an issue.

Photo: Scott Bloom

The Advisory Board is looking for volunteers to take over the reins of the organization and lead it into the future. Please contact if you have interest.

More information about Chicago Park District Advisory Councils can be found at

The Advisory Board is also looking for a Prairie Community Volunteer Coordinator as the previous coordinator has moved away.

One immediate concern is the need for volunteers to pull thistle in the prairie plots.  There is 47th Ward wide community service day planned for Saturday, April 21 and a Winnemac Park community service day planned for Sunday, May 6. Please consider helping out.