Thursday, April 10, 2008

Can you "play" at a Chicago "park?"

From today's Crain's Chicago Business

A few days ago, a group of 30-something Loop office workers decided to let off a little post-5 p.m. steam. Being a healthy lot, they headed not to a bar, but to the 3-acre public park plopped amid the huge Lakeshore East residential and office complex on East Randolph Street for a pickup soccer game.

A few minutes later, the cops arrived—and busted one and all for violating an ancient and unknown city law that restricts sporting activities to sites specifically designated for sport. As reported by WFLD-TV/Channel 32, the coppers had been summoned by an adjacent condo building’s management, which says it just was trying to protect the wet turf but clearly considers the “public” park to be mostly private.

This begs the question:  Can you "play" in the "park?"

In our neighborhood, there is a bit of a struggle between parents and dog owners over whether pets should be allowed inside the newly constructed Chi Che Wang Park on West Wolfram in West Lakeview.


Under a little known statute in Chicago, dogs are prohibited from any parks that do not have paved walk ways through them.  Chi Che Wang Park is three-acres of lawn with nary a path, toy, object, or impediment inside its boundaries.  It's filled with families and children playing soccer, football, baseball, softball and Frisbee.   On weekends, some organized Soccer Clubs have been setting up full soccer games.  Nets, goals, uniforms, spiked shoes - the whole shebang.

And if a dog sets a toe-step inside, a neighbor usually calls the police.

Hmmm.  I wonder if a vengeful - oops - I mean - observant - area dog owner were to keep his eye out for one of these "sporting" events being held in this "non sporting" venue - could he call the police?  Or will he just get the brush off?