The piazza of the West Loop
Mary Bartelme Park celebrated
09/21/2012 9:32 PM
Mary Bartleme Park isn’t just a destination for West Loopers. It’s also been a model for contemporary urban park design. That was a bit of park trivia I learned tonight from Alderman Bob Fioretti at the second annual benefit for Bartelme Park at the National Hellenic Museum.
“I remember the week when the fences came down and we opened the park,” Fioretti told me. “People immediately came streaming in. I thought, ‘This is a new model for parks—the traditional fences surrounding parks don’t work anymore.’”
Bartelme Park offered an opportunity for therapy and rejuvenation for the alderman as part of his recovery from cancer.
“I got my strength back by riding my bike and I ride through the park every day,” he said.
It’s also a welcome neighborhood spot for parents, dog owners, sunbathers and yoga classes. Tonight, 150 park supporters attended the benefit, enjoying music, Greek food and wine. It also brought $11,500 to the park’s coffers.
The event is an important source of money for the park, since it doesn’t receive any public funding for special projects and events, according to Armando Chacon, treasurer of the park advisory council.
“This benefit will allow us to continue providing activities in the park, like the Christmas tree and Menorah lighting, and movies in the park,” Chacon said. “The best communities take care of their resources and the West Loop does just that with Mary Bartelme Park.”
Scott Maesel said it’s the best park in the city of Chicago. Maesel may be slightly biased because he’s president of the park advisory council, but he’s also clearly proud of the park.
“It’s the gem of the neighborhood,” Maesel said. Chacon nodded in agreement, calling Mary Bartelme Park “the piazza of the West Loop.”