Thursday, September 3, 2009

Accident Waiting To Happen At Broncho Billy

A reader sends in the following photo and emails:
Email #1: "I am writing in case you might be able to include this on the website:  I live behind the Broncho Billy playlot, which as you know is located on the 4400 block of N Magnolia. 
The kids that play basketball at the park have torn a hole in the fence that faces the alley to the east (last year they made more holes, and this is the first one so far this summer).  I have called the appropriate rep from the Chicago Parks and Rec Department FOUR times in the past few weeks (3 voice mails and 1 time we spoke), each time asking him to give me the status.
Needless to say, this is a huge safety issue because kids can run into the alley from the playlot at any moment.  A few days ago I saw about four unattended children around the age of 5 running into the alley through the hole in the fence.  If an unsuspecting motorist hits a kid in the alley, we're all going to be asking ourselves "how could something like this have happened?"

Email #2: "Here is the latest:  Today I finally received a message from Brian Loll from the Chicago Park District.  This is his first follow up after I've left him 6 voice mails over the course of the summer to correct the holes.
He agreed with my previous statements that we need a more permanent solution than a chain link fence, since the kids will continue to cut it.  I suggested a high (wrought) iron fence or something, and he said that would take "Capital Improvement Plan Budget" to do.  He then said he was going to talk to his "Capital Dept."
I urge everyone in the area to call and insist that this (wrought) iron fence happen.  Again, his contact info:  Brian Loll, direct line 312-742-0825.  We can also involve the Alderman (insert laugh track)."


  1. How do you know it was the kids playing basketball? Did you sse them? Call the cops maybe?

  2. That would make a perfect escape route for people who have a reason to flee.

  3. I have seen these elsewhere too. Its the gangs that do this for thier fast exit routes. Call Park district and 311 to report the holes to have them fixed......

  4. As a parent who frequents Broncho Billy, I can attest that it wouldn't take much to figure who cut the fence. The basketball kids(who are too old to be in the park BTW) routinely jump the fence rather than walk around, so clearly they've got the motive.

    Add in the fact that there are routinely dozens of unsupervised children at the park, and this is an accident waiting to happen.

    Speaking of which, these are just the people that Helen claims to want to help, so perhaps she could get involved and I don't know, act like an Alderman?

  5. Does flooding this poor guy's direct line with phone calls really seem fair? It sounds like the guy's hands are tied, agrees there needs to be a permanent solution, yet doesn't have the authority to buy or build an iron fence. He's not the enemy here, so why publicly list his phone number?

    I work in public service too and find this is sometimes a knee jerk reaction people have, and I don't blame them because they just want to see their issue resolved. I've had my name and phone number distributed by petitioners before, and while I did my best to help each and every person that called me, I would have been happy to help the petitioner find a better place to which calls should be directed that would be more effective.

    Calls and letters really can be effective, but in the future, let's try to be more responsible about where we're directing them so that they really are most effective and not an onslaught against the wrong person.

  6. It does...I live behind there and have called 911 when I see drug deals going down in the park. Someone tips off the dealer and he runs out through the alley.

  7. I think its important to note how proactive everyone is being! I tend to agree that flooding the poor guys line is not a great approach, unless you suggest to him that he get the Alderman speaking to his supervisors.

    The calls WILL stop when the issue gets resolved.

    I looked at the picture - Its dangerous no doubt.

  8. It's the drug dealers who are behind the fence vandalism. It's their escape route from the police. We went through this battle to get the fence fixed years ago and it took months, despite repeated phone calls and meetings with the Park District officials.

  9. To Patrick...

    What exactly is it that you City employees do for a living if it's not taking phone calls from those who employ you?????

  10. Sorry to nit-pick but it's one of my pet peeves...

    It's wrought iron not "rod" iron. Da mare has spent millions, to his friends and political contributors, for wrought iron fencing. I would think he'd jump at the chance to give them some of the TIF money he's hiding. All Helen would have to do is ask.

  11. Let me remind you that TIF’s not only take money from the schools but the parks also.

  12. Johnny,
    Did I say I avoid speaking to the public? Certainly not, in fact I clearly said I've always tried to help anyone that's ever called me. However, if I deal with one facet of the agency I work for and someone is calling me about something different, there's only so much help I can provide to them, you see? Would you call the Fire Department if you have a question about O'Hare Airport?

    Please don't twist my words into something that I never said. You really don't know the first thing about me. For starters, I don't even work for the city. All I did was suggest a different approach that could be more effective and you've assumed I'm a city employee who avoids contact with the public. You couldn't be more wrong.

  13. On another childrens park subject, the playlot at 4651 N. Kenmore. This is a 40 ft. DEAD tree that has been there 2 YEARS.. just waiting for a huge branch to fall and hurt, or worse, a child...

    .. we have called this in more times than I can count,and it is still there... so if anyone else can help us out there on this, that would be great,,thank you!

  14. Uptown Superhero, the person who manages Aster Playlot also manages Chase Park. She was very, very helpful in getting the lighting replaced at Aster. She posted her name and phone number here (search under Aster Playlot) and also came to a CAPS meeting. She gets things done - may want to give her a call directly.

  15. She has been contacted about this a number of times. In addition, it is a 40 FOOT DEAD TREE... for God's sake, it isn't difficult to see if she is in charge of the friggin park... so if a kid gets hurt, I look at it as blood on her hands, not ours... we can only complain about it so many times

  16. Hello everyone, we can help move this process along by attending one of the upcoming Chicago Park District Budget Hearings to request that the fence be fixed with a better solution. I have also called the Alderman's office to request that Shiller or someone from her staff attend.

    Please plan to attend if you can! Let's not let a kid get hurt because of this.

    The CPD Budget Hearings are as follows:

    Riis Park, Sept 15th at 6:30pm

    Horner Park, Sept 16th at 6:30pm

  17. Broncho Billy Playlot. Poor urban planning once again in Uptown.

    Playlots are supposed to be for children 12 years and under.

    Broncho Billy has a full sized basketball court. Who's using it?

    Who tears up the chain link fence?
    And why do they do it? Fast get aways.

    A wrought iron fence is not the answer to poor urban planning.

  18. My contact for the park is Bob from Gill Park. I've contacted him numerous times about broken equipment at that park and its been over 2 years trying to get one of the springy pieces of equipment's seats replaced. Hes fixed the fence before and I've suggested the wrought iron fence similar to the front but he claimed there were concerns from the neighbors in the back about backing into a fence that doesn't give. If we want it done we just need to do it ourselves.

    Bob also mentioned that the park's design went against the normal park district guidelines of seperating age groups by not having a basketball court but that the "community" really wanted a court at this site. Heaven forbid that they go to Clarendon Park to play. This park would be so much better if we got rid of the basketball court since it primarily attracts older kids and young men that spend half their time littering, smoking, and drinking around our children.

  19. What about the TWO broken infant/toddler swings. I have called the alderman's office and park district several times to try and get these fixed as well. Now, the chain ladder is also broken. Someone had to cut through the metal in the equipment with some sort of implement to cause the breakage - why?!?!? Irritates me to no end that this beautiful park has been trashed, in what, 2 years. Lack of parental supervision or involvement certainly contributes.

  20. Here's what went on in the planning meetings for the Broncho Billy playlot.

    Several of the mothers were
    concerned that a full sized
    basketball court would be located
    in a playlot for kids under 12. They all felt the basketball court should be located somewhere else.

    Antoine Migliatti's wife (he's the guy who works at Prologue--the alternative high school), who at the time was working for Shiller,
    pushed for the full sized basketball court, as did the principal at Little Stockton, who
    came to one meeting and said,
    "We've never seen any problem with having the basketball court with the children's playlot."

    Guess she missed the bullets that were shot from there and blew out the window in a home across the street.

    The mothers also requested only one exit along Magnolia, for the children's protection, and wanted the playlot locked at night.

    Bob attended all the meetings and did his very best to explain the basketball court should not be co-located with the playlot. But with Shiller and the principal pushing for the basketball court, the mothers who attended felt intimidated.

    We're not going to fix the problem with a wrought iron fence. There should never have been a basketball court smack in the little kids' play lot. Once again poor urban design draws crime.