AWARD WINNING FIRE STATION PARK BLOOMS AGAIN
Fire Station Park, administered by the Chicago Department of Transportation and, for many years, a children’s play area with an actual fire engine as its centerpiece, is located on the west side of Larrabee just south of Armitage, behind the Chicago Fire Department building.
In 2005, the park was totally renovated, to include new walkways, new park benches and games tables and several floral garden areas. (The fire engine was removed due to safety concerns). In the rear of the park, a circular cement area was created to display artwork made available by the city’s rotating sculpture program. However, between 2005 and 2010, the planted areas were neglected and the park’s overall appearance deteriorated.
In 2011, former 43rd Ward Alderman Vi Daley made a major financial commitment to revitalize the park and a group of concerned neighbors launched a program to renovate the park. A plan was formulated and resources were identified. The result was a totally renovated park and a true gem for the neighborhood. Fire Station Park was officially dedicated on Saturday September 17, 2011 at a ceremony in the park. The same year, Fire Station Park received recognition from the City of Chicago when its Department of the Environment selected the park as a winner of the 55th Annual Mayor’s Landscape Awards Fire Station Park won 1st Place for Region 2—Community Landscape, which recognizes community groups for their work.
Fire Station Park is now a true neighborhood collaboration. The renovation would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of many neighborhood volunteers and the invaluable support of numerous community organizations and leaders. Not only did residents provide the vision and initial manpower, but mulch paths were created and installed in the park with the help of Green Corps and Home Depot, which also donated the materials. Thanks also goes to Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects, Christy Webber Landscapers, and former Alderman Vi Daley, who was instrumental in securing funding and city support for the park renovation. At the time of the dedication, then LCA President Rodger Owen said: “We are so proud of how Lincoln Central residents came together to take the idea of renovating this little green space and to make it bloom into a beautiful – and now award-winning – community garden.” Help support Fire Station Park!
Each year, the park receives a unique sculpture on loan from a local artist. Each year it is a different sculpture by a different local artist. It has become a highlight of the park. Lincoln Central Association submitted the Fire Station Park renovation as an entry for Region 2. The program divides the city into four regions and awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place are given in each of four categories. The Community Landscape category, which Lincoln Central won, recognizes community groups for their efforts.
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Community volunteers not only helped with the transformation, but are now continuing to weed, water and maintain this beautiful garden. But more help is needed to maintain the park. If you’ve got a green thumb, enjoy being outdoors, or just want to support your neighborhood, there are a number of ways to get involved with the Lincoln Central park committee and to support Fire Station Park, including:
- Planning, planting and maintenance of the perennial, herb and vegetable garden plots
- Planting the annual containers
- Design and construction of edible garden’s fencing and plant support
- Compost maintenance/management
- Coordination of school/senior involvement
- Event Planning
- Educational outreach
In September of both 2014 and 2015, LCA hosted an Evening in the Garden to express our gratitude to those volunteers who work so hard to help keep this park beautiful for our neighborhood. Our 3rd annual An Evening in the Garden is scheduled for the evening of Thursday, September 15. In June of 2015, LCA hosted our first Sunday Summer Sipper in Fire Station Park. Our 2nd Annual Sunday Summer Sipper is scheduled for Sunday June 26.
For information or to volunteer at Fire Station Park, please call Lincoln Central Association at (312) 409-2783 or email Sally Drucker at firestationparkgarden@gmail.
Lincoln Central Association is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and your contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.
Your contributions will help us continue to maintain and beautify Fire Station Park. Please contribute above or download the contribute by mail form and mail your check payable to Lincoln Central Association to:
Lincoln Central Association
P.O. Box 14306
Chicago, IL 60614-0306.