by Michael Jankus (email@example.com)
TREMONT— More than 50 Tremont residents gathered at the corner of Starkweather Ave. and Professor Ave. on May 23 for the Save Lucky Park Rally to speak up for one of Tremont’s most adored green spaces.
Residents of all ages, and at least a dozen of their dogs, met Sunday evening at 7:00 pm to take a photo at Lucky Park and share what the park has meant to them in light of the recent news of its for sale status.
The 3,000-square-foot patch of greenery has been placed on the market by the property owner for $109,000. Tremont West Development Corporation will bid on the space.
Tim Harrison, co-chair of Tremont’s South of Jefferson Block Club and one of the rally’s organizers, recounted the park’s journey through the years and the ways the community has come together to care for the park, improving and maintaining it themselves for decades.
The quaint park is particularly valued by the area’s dog owners, many of whom were present at the rally, as one of the few remaining bits of nature in the neighborhood.
“It’s priceless,” Harrison said. “There’s a lot of units right over here that really don’t have a lot of green space. Dog owners, this is part of their daily routine, they probably can’t imagine what it would be like if they didn’t have something like this.”
Brooke Deines, a Tremont resident since 2008, attended the rally with her dog (Scruffles) and shared some of her own experiences working on Lucky Park with others, saying it “would be a shame” to see that effort put to waste.
Lucky Park’s transformation and upkeep have come as a direct result of community action over the years, and Deines is one of the people to thank for the park’s illumination after sunset.
“These trees were just saplings before these lights had their full effect,” Deines said, “and now they have the full effect with the dappling trees and leaves.”
In the event that the corner property is sold, there is still the matter of passing variances through the South of Jefferson Block Club, the community development corporation, and ultimately, the council representative for Ward 13, Kerry McCormack. Land use regulations would prevent a new owner from coming in and building without the necessary variances.
“So far, it seems like we’re all in lockstep together that we value green space more than development in this case,” Harrison said.
Harrison said the group is only “suggesting the future use” to preserve Lucky Park, not trying to stop any sale proposal. At this time there is no development proposal.
“This isn’t an anti-development thing at all. We’re not opposing anything right now, I’m not opposing a sale,” he said. “I don’t know what the future holds, but ideally our voices are listened to and everybody turns out happy in the end, and there’s a fair resolution for the sale of this property and there’s a fair maintenance of this green space that has existed for decades.”