The proposed play garden would occupy the now-underused space south of the McKinley Park public library.

Nature Play Garden Planned for Library Green Space

Published August 25, 2016

Maxwell Street Market - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. first and third Sundays

Maxwell Street Market - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. first and third Sundays

Children who play in natural settings benefit from physical activity, are less likely to be overweight and enjoy expanded creativity through diverse play. A coalition of McKinley Park neighborhood and municipal groups are coming together to overhaul the underused green space south of the McKinley Park branch of the Chicago Public Library to create a nature play garden.

Hollow log at JardicentoA hollow log is one of the features at Jardincito play garden.Members of the public are invited to a community meeting on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, to hear plans and offer ideas for the garden, located at 3518-28 S. Wolcott Ave. The meeting takes place 9:30 a.m. to noon in the basement of Bethany Baptist Church at 3532  S. Hoyne Ave.

Neighbor Space, a non-profit land trust that preserves gardens on behalf of Chicago community groups, owns the property, which has fallen into disrepair after being set up as a community green space years ago. Along with representatives of the McKinley Park Advisory Council and the 12th Ward office, Neighbor Space is now working to revitalize the garden and will co-host Saturday's meeting.

Members of the group working to revitalize the garden have been investigating similar properties to gather ideas. In particular, the Neighbor Space-owned park Jardincito, at 2300 S. Whipple St. in Little Village, provides examples of nature play garden elements that could be built in the McKinley Park space.

More information is available on the play garden group's Facebook page and by sending email to

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Maxwell Street Market - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. first and third Sundays