La Grange playground could be replaced months ahead of schedule
Updated: September 10, 2012 12:29PM
LA GRANGE — New playground equipment has been ordered and could be installed as early as Aug. 13 at Elm Park in La Grange, after vandals set fire to plastic slides, walkways and swings July 8.
Park District of La Grange officials released a statement Friday that new equipment is on its way to the park on Elm Avenue between Brainard and Stone avenues, though an exact timetable isn’t known.
Park Board President Mary Ellen Penicook credits Executive Director Dean Bissias with arranging for new equipment months ahead of his initial time line for replacing the playground.
“Dean is really amazing. He has made some magic happen,” Penicook said. “He’s been on top of this and working with the insurance adjuster, village and the playground equipment company.”
Bissias said a playground manufacturer mentioned at a conference that production could be interrupted for a special order, “so I called them on it, and they were able to squeeze the job in.”
Once the equipment arrives by Aug. 13 or so, installation will take one to two weeks, Bissias said.
“Hopefully we’ll be up and running by the Labor Day weekend,” he said.
Bissias said he plans to recommend to the Park Board that wood chips at the playground be replaced with a rubberized surface, similar to the one recently in stalled in Denning Park, 4903 S. Gilbert Ave.,and the surface of the indoor playground at the Recreation Center, 536 East Ave.
Penicook said the damaged equipment, blocked from public use, was removed Aug. 2, following a lengthy analysis by the insurance adjuster. Up to 85 percent of the playground equipment will be replaced, and the design is similar to the prior configuration.
Damage was initially estimated at $75,000, though replacement costs were thought to be higher, pending a determination from insurance authorities.
Fire officials listed the cause of the blaze as undetermined, and police haven’t released findings of an investigation. Park officials released a statement soon after the fire that two people were seen in the park the night of the fire. No arrests have been made.