Ben Allison Park playground made its official debut on Saturday, September 16. After a short ribbon cutting, Board President Kevin Graf and fellow commissioners invited families in attendance to try out the new, fun features. There are plenty of opportunities to spin, swing and climb at the new playground.
Unique features include a friendship swing and hillscape climber. A fly wheel spinner and omnispin spinner give kids opportunities to spin together. Also special to this playground is the safety surfacing, which was reimagined into a playful, leaf design.
The park, located at 444 S West Avenue, was originally developed in 1950 and renamed for former Elmhurst mayor, Benjamin Allison, in 1964. Allison’s son and namesake also served on the Park Board from 1977-1989. Several members of the Allison family attended the ribbon cutting to celebrate the park’s redevelopment, with the youngest generation trying out the new playground features.
The playground was last updated in 2002 and was due for replacement. In 2022, feedback was gathered from the community regarding the park’s redevelopment and in November 2022, a Master Plan for the Ben Allison playground was approved by the Park Board. Construction work began this summer, with the previous playground being recycled by Kids Around the World, a non-profit that refurbishes and reinstalls playground equipment for underserved communities around the world.
The plan brought a new playground to the park but also focused on safety and accessibility. A new entrance point near the crosswalk provides a safer crossing than the previous mid-block entrance. The tee-ball field has a new backstop and an updated orientation, further from the street. Also, new paths connecting the sled hill, tee-ball field, and playground improve access to the whole park.