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Overrun South Side Park to get reclaimed, revitalized

For years, the 65-acre South Side Park has been little-known by residents in the surrounding South Side Flats, South Side Slopes and Arlington neighborhoods. It's become overgrown with invasive species, and its fields, trails, playground and former ice arena have gone all but unused.

To identify the steps needed to reclaim and revitalize the park into a usable greenspace, the South Side Local Development Company (SSLDC) commissioned a study through the environmental engineering firm Skelly & Loy in December 2008.

On Sat., Sept. 12, SSLDC, in partnership with the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association, is hosting the first-ever event in the six-year, half-million dollar Reclaim and Revitalize South Side Park plan--a volunteer-staffed effort to remove invasive plant species that endanger the vitality of plants and wildlife native to the park.

"The majority of the neighborhood and the city is totally unaware that this park is here," says Judy Dyda with SSLDC. "The dual purpose of the event is to begin the process of reclaiming the park, and also to introduce people to the fact that there is this phenomenal greenspace in their backyard, and that with some love and attention, it can be a tremendous neighborhood asset that improves their quality of life and also increases property values."

Saturday's event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., meets at Bandi Schaum Field, off Mission Street, which is off of 18th Street.

Writer: Caralyn Green
Source: Judy Dyda, manager of community planning/Elm Street manager, SSLDC

Photograph courtesy South Side Local Development Company

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