For my policy class, we were asked to either amend or create an element of our neighborhood ward. Due to the strange ward borderlines, my proposed amendment goes to Ward 43, just down the street from where I go to school, in Ward 42. I sent an email to Alderman Michelle Smith, proposing different ways in which she could help improve my favorite park, without spending much money. The park has clearly come a long way in the past years, but clearly it could still improve, and be a centerpiece of the neighborhood.

Clybourn Park Then

Clybourn Park Now

Here is my email to the alderman…

Dear Michelle Smith of Ward 43 (2523 N.Halstead Ave)

I would like to propose an amendment to help improve a part of your ward. My problem occurs at Clybourn Park, just down the street from us at Clybourn and Sheffield. It affects the residents of this neighborhood, and in nearby areas who want to enjoy a day at the park, or need a place to play basketball.

The park can get very dirty at times, but overall the infrastructure is the biggest problem. Addressing the issue of cleanliness, a city employee once a week for 30 minutes could keep the park very clean. On the issue of infrastructure, it will take more time to fix. The hoop near the gangway (away from the street) is bent awkwardly and needs to be fixed. The hoop near the street needs a safety net or higher fences so that the ball doesn’t go in the street. Not only does this eliminate the risk of losing your basketball, but it keeps kids safe from not having to run into the streets. It also eliminates the potential for a car accident, or even a pedestrian accident. This is the biggest issue facing the park. On another note, there is also a huge brick wall which could use a community mural on it. This could be an initiative to bring more youth into the area, and add some identity to the bland neighborhood.

Improving the park could bring many positive outcomes. Making the park a more attractive place to visit, as stated earlier, would make the area a very distinctive part of the neighborhood. With many local restaurants next door to the park, they would benefit greatly from an influx of more visitors to the area. Next, it would make the area more kid friendly. Starting out with the initiative to paint a mural over the brick wall, that would bring the communities families together, working towards a common goal. Also, having that place to play would be a cornerstone of the community, improving the connections that neighborhood families have with each other. Lastly, the park is already a very unique place. But beautifying it a little bit more would make the area a more attractive place to visit.

This corridor of the ward has extreme potential to be a defining area in the neighborhood. Overall I still love the park but it could be better.

Sincerely, HP


1990s image – – Accessed April 14 2013

Clybourn Park – Original Image taken by HP, GCE Chicago High School