The Politics of Parks

On Twitter this weekend, there was quite an outrage over Mayor Emanuel's decision to build a park in memory of Maggie Daley that will cost the city an estimated $55 million.

The outrage stemmed from the announcement coming on the heels of another very violent weekend in Chicago where over 30 people were shot."How can the mayor stand by smiling when Chicago is living up to its fame of having more gun related deaths than troops in Afghanistan?," said the twitterverse vehemently and correctly.

At the same time, it is very hard to be angry over a park. They are nice things to have in cities, which are losing public spaces at a very quick rate in this modern era.

Consider this idea though. The average police officer salary in Chicago is $75,00o. With those $55 million, an extra 700 beat cops could be hired to police the areas most likely to have gang violence, and possibly put a dent in the number of shootings. So, some of that anger over the park isn't misplaced or overblown.

Can the park budget take a hit and cost half of the estimated price tag? That way 350 cops could be out there helping counter the violence. I'd say most Chicagoans would be okay with that compromise.


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