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posted: 7/31/2014 5:30 AM

Mt. Prospect parks building new playground near Dara James Road

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The Mount Prospect Park District is moving forward with plans to create a new playground near Dara James Road in Des Plaines.

The playground will replace an existing one roughly two blocks away, near Leahy Circle in Des Plaines. According to preliminary designs, it will include new play equipment -- swings, slides, climbing structures, etc. -- along with benches and a half-court basketball area.

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The park district recently began collecting bids for the work. RGC Design, the district's landscape architect, has estimated that the project will cost about $227,000.

Officials say they hope to complete the new playground in late fall.

The park board decided to replace the Leahy Circle playground for two reasons, Park District Executive Director Greg Kuhs said. First, the existing equipment is outdated. It was installed in the 1980s and does not meet current safety standards or accessibility requirements.

Second, the Leahy Circle playground sits on land owned by ComEd, while the Dara James site is owned by the park district.

"The Dara James site gives us a lot more control," Kuhs said. "If we tried to update the Leahy Circle playground, we would have to go through a long review process, and there are no guarantees that ComEd would allow us to do what we wanted."

Some park district residents who live near the Leahy Circle playground have expressed disappointment with the plan, saying that the playground has been a popular spot for many families.

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