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It's not secret that we think the Irving schoolyard project, led by the school's PTO, is a sensational plan and effort by parents. We wholeheartedly agree that it's long past time for the ugly asphalt surface to go. The District 97 board and administration have also backed the project and agreed to commit roughly a half-million dollars to help make it a reality. We're impressed by the movement of parents to raise money for the project through grants and private donors.
After a half-dozen years of pre-planning by parents and the school district, it seems a no-brainer to bring the Park District of Oak Park into the fold, as they have been with so many other schools. The schools have requested a healthy sum from the park district — $769,000. But for years all of our taxing bodies have talked a good line about working more closely together and sharing resources. If, or better yet when, it comes to pass, the Irving Schoolyard Project — with its fitness area, athletic fields and "outdoor classroom" space — could be a gem for all Oak Parkers. The bulk of funding the roughly $2 million project likely will still be shouldered by the PTO's efforts, but an investment from the park district looks to be the right move to us.