Chatham: It's Time to Save Brown Memorial Park

sidney brown
Last year I wrote a blog post about the parks in the 6th ward and one was Brown Memorial Park. Brown Memorial Park was established as the last parcel of a large lot of land formerly owned by the Nation of Islam. The land was foreclosed and sold in parcels.

The Chicago Park District purchased nearly 7 acres of a 14 acre for the playground in 1967. When park development began the following year, the site was picketed by angry residents, who had expected a park double the size. Though the park district was unable to acquire the additional land, improvements went forward. In 1990, the park district named the site for Sidney Brown (1951-1983), the first African-American firefighter to die in the line of duty in Chicago. Brown, who began his career as a firefighter in 1978, served with Engine Company 75 on the city's south side. As a "hydrant man" who connected hoses to fire hydrants, he was often the last firefighter to enter an engulfed building. Brown died on August 9, 1983, when he rushed into a burning house, hoping to save three children believed to be trapped there.

Brown Memorial Park(636 E. 86th St) has been in a state of disrepair, the basketball courts were removed, the tennis courts are beat and the only major improvement the Chicago Park District has planned is to build a playlot that is fully funded at this point. The playlot is woefully insufficient as the park has no fieldhouse and no bathroom facilities.

The community has had enough and is planning a meeting to address the current situation of Brown Memorial Park. The meeting information:

May 2, 2012
Wednesday
6:30 pm
Cole Park Fielhouse
361 E. 85th

For more information contact Rev. Dr. Marc Robertson at upliftsomeone@sbcglobal.net

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