Englewood nonprofit I Grow Chicago will break ground Friday on a new playground in an effort to transform vacant lots into peaceful community spaces.
The lot, 6415 S. Honore St., sits in the middle of a block with many vacant homes, said Robbin Carroll, I Grow Chicago founder. Also on the block is the I Grow “Peace House,” a reclaimed abandoned house that now serves as a community center.
“What we’re really trying to do, in a block that’s been pretty much abandoned, is allow for connection and belonging and community space for gathering again,” Carroll said.
Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) will speak at the ground breaking. Construction is expected to be finished by the end of October.
Carroll said I Grow held three community forums to discuss the playground and what community members wanted to include in the new space. The playground will use repurposed materials from abandoned houses in order to stay true to the character of the neighborhood, she said.
Even the fenceposts of the park will pay homage to the neighborhood, she said. Each one will be painted with pictures of influential community members to serve as “pillars” of the community.
Carroll said she hopes the new playground will help bring joy and a sense of community back to the neighborhood.
“For a long time we’ve been wanting to do this, but I think that it’s taken us as a community a long time to feel safe enough to be able to do it,” she said. “I hope we inspire others to do the same on their blocks.”