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At a dedication ceremony in October 2010, Officials from Friends of the Parks, RNRA, RNBA, RNDOA, the Park District and the A. Montgomery Ward Foundation joined Alderman Reilly and former Alderman Natarus to celebrate the dedication of the former "Park 511" in honor of one of Chicago's great champions of open public space.
Playground expansion is coming!
Long lines of kids waiting for a turn on the swings in Ward Park will soon be a distant memory. As shown in the rendering below, plans for the expanded facility include an array of state-of-the-art features designed to appeal to a wide range of users, including those with disabilities. The additional space will primarily be to the east and south of the existing boundaries and will add approximately 2,000 square feet to the facilty.
Click here to download a high-resolution PDF.
The contractor bidding process will begin soon and construction is expected to begin in spring of 2012 with a construction schedule of approximately 3 months. For public safety, the playground will be closed during construction.
Anyone interested in providing feedback about the plan, may contact Sr. Project Manager Bob Foster via email.
Original Park Concept Plan
The current 3,200 square foot state-of-the-art facility includes 2 gated entrances from within the park, a rubberized "land form" surface, a water feature, a drinking fountain, integrated seating and a wide array of play equipment for kids in the 2-5 and 5-12 age ranges, much of which is accessible to users with disabilities.
Ward Park Dog Friendly Area (DFA)
The north section of Park 511 (north of Erie and west of Larrabee) includes a large triangular fenced area in which dog owners may allow their pets to run and play without leashes, subject to certain restrictions.
This off-leash (or "dog-friendly") area was created to temporarily address a community need until a permanent DFA, that is fully complant with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) requirements, can be constructed. Substantial financial support from the dog-owning community will be needed in order to fund the construction and design of the new DFA.
Prior to approving the construction of a new permanent DFA, the Chicago Park District requires the endorsement of a majority of residents within a five-block radius of the proposed location.
The rules require that we demonstrate the support of a majority of the community within a 5-block radius of the proposed amenity, including dog owners, non-dog owners and other stakeholders. The River North Residents' Association, River North Dog Owners Association and Ward Park Advisory Council are in favor of this project and conducted an online survey to assess comnmunity support.
- Number of respondents: 240
- Number of buildings represented: 30+
- % of dog owners responding: 52.1
- % of non-dog owners responding: 47.9
- % of favorable responses: 72.1
The River North Residents Association welcomes responsible dog owners and supports the development of a new permanent DFA in the north section of Ward Park.
Click here to access the Park District's DFA Guidelines fron April of 2008.
Click here to access the Park District's DFA Permit Plan fron August of 2011.
Click here to access RNRA's suggestions for the creation of onsite dog runs in new River North Developments.
New River North Water Taxi Dock
The "Blue Dog" prepares to dock at the Erie Street water taxi landing located on the Ward Park river walk, just north of Erie Street. Opened in 2009, this was the first ever residential-oriented water taxi stand in downtown Chicago!
Morning Taxi Service: $1 from all docks for
Erie Street to Sears Tower/Union
Station - 7:10 am
Erie Street to Michigan Avenue - 7:50am
Erie Street to Sears Tower/Union Station - 8:30am
Erie Street to Michigan Avenue - 9:10am
Evening Taxi Service: $1.50 with purchase of 10-Ride Pass or $3 one-way:
Michigan Avenue to Erie Street - 4:30pm
Sears Tower/Union Station to Erie Street - 5:10pm
Michigan Avenue to Erie Street - 5:50pm
Sears Tower/Union Station to Erie Street - 6:30pm
Geese Nuisance in Ward Park
The RNRA Park Advisory Council and the Park District have received numerous complaints over the past couple of years about the amount of goose droppings in Ward Park. This is not only unsightly and unhygienic, but also attracts rodents.
Application of Goose Repellent
The Park District arranged for "Flight Control" (FC) to be applied
again this year. FC is an environmentally friendly, non-toxic, spray
repellent that will be applied to the grass areas to discourage geese
from congregating and pooping all over the grass and sidewalks. FC will
not harm humans or wildlife, but causes intestinal discomfort when
treated grass is ingested by geese. It also produces an ultraviolet
reflectance that the geese can see and associate with the unpleasant
While FC is not a cure-all, it can help reduce goose use of grass in targeted areas. It must be reapplied after mowing and heavy rains until the geese learn to forage elsewhere, so please stay off the grass when signs are posted. Thanks!
The RNRA Park Advisory Council (PAC) is responsible for oversight of the association’s open space and outdoor environment agenda, including:
- Park 511 capital improvements and programming
- Neighborhood-wide park and public space development / enhancement initiatives
- Informing and collecting input from the community
- Formulating recommendations, and interfacing with the Chicago Park District and other related agencies and organizations
To learn more or get involved, Click here to contact the PAC Chair, Isabelle Baird.
Hon. Brendan Reilly
Community Meeting Presentations
If you missed the lastCommunity Meeting, click here to access a PDF copy of the slide show.
River North Residents Association
Local Business Association