Mann Park has been the hub of Hegewisch for decades but some say the aging facilities could use a face-lift.

My family frequents the park playground, which could definitely use some TLC and updates. One local mom agrees and recently started an online petition to tell leaders it's time for a change.

Sammantha Brooks, a lifetime resident of Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood where the park is located, said the last time it was revamped was 20 years ago. She remembers because she was 10 and her aunt was on the planning committee.

“I’ve been familiar with the park my whole life,” Brooks said Monday night.

“I took my daughter to Mann Park the other day. She’s 2 and there’s nothing for her. Everything is torn apart."

Another issue is the playground is filled with woodchips, while most other local parks have gone to rubber matting because it’s safer and cleaner, Brooks said.

She would like to see play areas that appeal to different age groups as well as a splash pad similar to the one at Rowan Park on Chicago’s East Side.

In the meantime, she takes her daughter to parks in Indiana, which are more age appropriate and have nicer play areas, she said.

Many of her Hegewisch friends also have young kids and would like to see improvements. That’s why she decided to start the petition.

“Everything that’s supposed to be done around here is pushed to the side … I chose to stay in Hegewisch because it’s where I grew up and it’s where my family is but there’s nothing left for kids.”

Her petition asks the Chicago Park District and 10th Ward Alderman John Pope to update and remodel Mann Park.

“Our park has been neglected and ignored for years, with the last remodel of the playground happening in the early 1990s. Our children deserve clean, safe, updated equipment to enjoy, just like every other park in the city,” the petition reads.

As of Monday night, 88 people had signed, many citing the reasons they believe the park needs updates. Most mention children and grandchildren who need and deserve a wonderful place to play.

It’s been a mostly positive response, Brooks said. “I want to continue to try to collect signatures and get as many people on board as we can. … There’s plenty of room in that playground to make it really kid friendly and fun.”

St. Florian SummerFest

St. Florian will host SummerFest from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 14 in the parish parking lot, 13110 S. Baltimore in Chicago’s Hegewisch neighborhood.

Kids can enjoy games, bounce houses and pony rides from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be food, live music and a DJ. Bands slated to appear include Roadside Prophets and Pan Dulce.

Adults can hang out in the beer garden, play games, participate in raffles and compete in a bean bag tournament.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. She can be reached at

Jeanette is a journalist with The Times Media Co. who has worked as both a reporter and editor. She has a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois at Springfield.