By Marco Galassini , Marketing & Communications Manager
On May 19 , the Park District of Franklin Park held grand openings for the newly renovated Timber and Hawthorne Parks . Staff , Commissioners and Franklin the Penguin were on hand to present residents with two new neighborhood parks . Following a Park District of Franklin Park tradition , children in attendance assisted in the ribbon-cutting ceremony .
These were the last two parks in the Park District ’ s rotating schedule for renovations . Since 2000 , all 17 parks have been renovated . Timber and Hawthorne Parks were upgraded simultaneously due to their close proximity on Hawthorne Street . The Park District was also awarded an OSLAD Grant from Illinois Department of Natural Resources ( IDNR ) for Timber Park .
Timber Park was redesigned with new equipment , features and made more ADA accessible . The park features a threelevel play structure , chimney swift habitat , child-activated splash feature and a Gaga ball pit . Gaga ball is a game similar to dodgeball that involves a lot of movement and participation . Children can use the pit to create their own games and rules in the spirit of child-led play .
Hawthorne Park was adapted for younger children with a playhouse fort , stepping logs and smaller playground structure . The wooden-themed playground structures are a design from Germany . The site also has garden beds which are dedicated to helping various species of pollinators .
The Park District of Franklin Park has been ecstatic to see so many children and families visit the parks . Since the day the fences came down , children have been playing at both parks every day . We encourage you to visit these new parks and discover the opportunities there . Keep an eye out for chimney swifts !