Chicago Park District seeking community input on plans to build a better Park District and ensure a safe and respectful recreation and work environment for all employees and patrons
The Chicago Park District today announced that it will host three Town Hall Meetings in March to share information and gather community input on its efforts to build a better Park District, including through the creation of the new Office of Prevention and Accountability (OPA). During the Town Hall Meetings, Chicago Park District Interim General Superintendent & CEO Rosa Escareño and other officials will deliver a presentation on the Office of Prevention and Accountability, answer questions and garner feedback about the District’s efforts to create an equitable, inclusive, safe and respectful work and recreation environment. These Town Halls are part of the Park District’s renewed commitment to transparency and public accountability.
The Town Hall Meeting schedule is as follows:
In-person: Monday, March 21st, 6pm at Horner Park, 2741 W. Montrose Avenue
In-person: Thursday, March 24th, 6pm at Fosco Park, 1312 S. Racine Avenue
Virtual: Monday, March 29th, 6pm (Virtual Meeting link available here)
“Creating a safe and respectful work and recreation environment for our employees and patrons is vital to our success as an organization, and community input is vital to this process,” said Chicago Park District Interim General Superintendent and CEO Rosa Escareño. “The Office of Prevention and Accountability is an important part of our plan to rebuild trust, and I urge all interested residents to attend one of the Town Hall Meetings to make your voice heard and help us finalize this important new office.”
The new Office of Prevention and Accountability will be empowered to prevent misconduct and hold wrongdoers accountable through fair, independent and thorough investigations into allegations of misconduct by park employees and patrons. This new office, which is a cornerstone of the Park District’s plan to rebuild trust with our employees and the community, will be created through code amendments that were introduced to the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners in January 2022. The upcoming Town Halls coincide with the public comment period during which the Park District is seeking public input on this proposed legislation. Input will be taken into account as the Park District works to finalize the legislation in advance of an expected vote by the Park District Board of Commissioners at the April meeting.
“Open dialogue and inclusion of public input are critical components in our efforts to build a Chicago Park District rooted in safety and accountability,” said Myetie Hamilton, Chicago Park District Board President. “We are committed to working hand-in-hand with the community and we welcome an open discussion on this new Office and all of the work we are undertaking at the Park District.”
The creation of the Office of Prevention and Accountability is just one part of the Park District’s renewed commitment to transparency, accountability, safety and respect. Superintendent Escareño continues to support the ongoing, independent investigation into misconduct within the Aquatics Department, and the Park District has followed the recommendations of the Office of Inspector General and taken appropriate disciplinary action in every instance where allegations of misconduct were sustained. The Park District also conducted a comprehensive new training session for the entire Aquatics Department and initiated a review of policies and procedures and leadership structure to address systemic issues and bring more transparency and accountability to the Park District.
All interested members of the public are encouraged to attend a Town Hall to learn about these efforts, ask questions and provide input. Town Halls are free and open to the public – no registration is required! For more information, click here.