Barrie Park Reopening
Two hours before the speeches began at the official Barrie Park re-opening Saturday, a smaller group of officials met by a young Bald Cypress tree on the east side of the park. They were there to honor the memory of a woman who had done more than most to help assure that the end result of all the turmoil and emotions surrounding the Barrie Park remediation was a positive one.

Patricia Thompson Madden was the vice chair of the Barrie Park Citizen’s Advisory Committee. In that role she was a tireless advocate for protecting the best interests of the neighborhood around the park, and the people who lived there. However, Madden wasn’t able to be there for this long-awaited day. She died in August, 2003.

Madden’s son, Rob Baron, stood by the tree, decked out in a tuxedo (he was taking time away from a wedding in which he was standing up). After expressing his appreciation to the park district and village, he paused and reached down at his feet. Lifting a cloth, he exposed the message on the bronze plaque at the base of the eight foot tree.

“My legacy is here,” the plaque reads, along with Madden’s name and dates of birth and passing.

“My mom felt very strongly about the park and what we were doing here,” said Baron. “She spent a lot of her final years working very hard on this process. And she felt very strongly in particular that this process needed to be geared toward the neighbors and the community that lived here.

“I’m just deeply honored that the park district and the village chose to dedicate a tree in this park that she felt so strongly about.”

Join the discussion on social media!