EAST CHICAGO | Parks officials have begun laying mulch at playgrounds and installing nets on basketball rims throughout the city.
Superintendent Francisco Rosado told the Park Board on Tuesday that mulch has been put down at Edward Valve, Washington and Veterans Parks and the process has started at Marktown Park.
"I've got 510 cubic yards and we'll be putting it in the parks as we go along," Rosado said.
It remains to be seen if the city has enough mulch to cover all parks, as it took 108 cubic yards to fill the three parks already completed, Rosado said.
Board member Gilberto Cantu had expressed concern in May over a lack of mulch in parks to create safe landing areas.
Basketball nets have been installed on rims at Callahan, Kosciuszko, Linear, Nunez and Sunnyside parks.
"Every park that has basketball rims up, we'll be putting the nets up," Rosado said.
Sixth District Councilwoman Gilda Orange last month had inquired about the lack of nets in city parks.
Rosado said then that in previous years the nets were stolen as soon as they were installed.
Orange attended the Park Board meeting on Tuesday and asked that a specific plan be presented to the City Council regarding how $331,000 collected recently by the state from defendants in an anti-racketeering case is to be spent.
Mayor Anthony Copeland has said the money would go toward city parks. and last month Rosado said Copeland had chosen Callahan, Goodman, Nunez, Veterans and Washington as the parks that will be upgraded.
Orange said the City Council will not appropriate funds without knowing precisely how the money will be used.
The condition of some park restroom facilities also was discussed. Cantu mentioned the facility at Callahan Park, referring to it as an "eyesore."
Rosado said he would obtain an estimate from a contractor to have the closed structure demolished.
Board President Lilia Ramos inquired about the restrooms at Kosciuszko Park that she said have been vandalized in the past.
Rosado said he had had suggested earlier in the year that the storage garage/restroom facility at the park be torn down, but that further inspection found the building to be in decent shape structurally and so prices are being sought to determine the cost of renovation.
"I think we probably should look and see if it's gonna be cost-effective to go ahead and just demolish that and keep porta potties," Ramos said.
Rosado reported on a porta potty at Sunnyside Park that he said was blown to pieces on July Fourth.
"It had to be like a half a stick of dynamite in it," Rosado said. "There's a piece of metal that impaled itself in a tree a good six to 10 feet away, so luckily there was nobody within that range."