This small playground is located in the Grand Boulevard Community. The 2.14 acre park features a jungle gym and merry-go-round play apparatus, benches, a water fountain, interactive water feature and contemporary sculptures The park was formerly named Buckthorn Park.
In February 2015, two years after the tragic death of Kenwood teenager Hadiya Pendleton, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners received a request to rename Buckthorn Park in honor of Hadiya. Following a 45-day public notice, the decision to rename the park was unanimous among the Board.
While there is no structured programming taking place at this location, we invite you to check out our great programs offered at nearby Taylor Park.
The Chicago Park District transformed this once-vacant lot to parkland in 1969, and officially named it Buckthorn Park in 1974. The park was one of a number of properties named for trees and plants at this time. There are roughly 100 species of buckthorns, comprising both trees and shrubs. All are small in size, with spiny branches and fruit that resembles small berries. The berries are eaten by birds, thus dispersing the seeds.
In April of 2015, the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners renamed Buckthorn Park in honor of Hadiya Pendleton. At the time, plans were underway to expand the small playlot from less than a quarter acre in size to a 2 plus acre park. The City closed a portion of Calumet Avenue Street to connect the park expansion in 2015. In 2016, the City transferred land to the Park District for the expansion of the park.
The Chicago Park District hired Planning Resources Inc. to design the enlarged park in a manner that honor the cultural heritage of Bronzeville and pay tribute to the park’s namesake. Plans included a new playground, interactive water feature, a walking path, and fitness stations. Many of the park's features such as a “musical staff path,” sculptural seating to emulate books and musical instruments, and inscriptions in planters and knee walls symbolize Bronzeville’s cultural heritage.
The new park is considered a fitting tribute to Chicagoan Hadiya Pendleton (1997 – 2013). An honor student at King College Prep High School, Hadiya Pendleton was killed as the result of a senseless act of violence. While sitting under a shelter in nearby Vivian Gordon Harsh Park in January of 2013, Hadiya and her friends came under fire by gang members who had mistaken them as rivals.
Only a few weeks earlier, Hadiya had performed as a drum majorette in President Obama’s second inauguration. Hadiya’s murder has brought national attention to the widespread gun violence plaguing communities throughout America. Her parents Nathaniel and Cleopatra Pendleton attended President Obama’s State of the Union Address in which he spoke passionately about the need for gun control.
Michelle Obama has also made powerful speeches in which Hadiya served as an important symbol for the need to stop this violence. In a speech to students at Chicago’s Harper High School, the First Lady implored the audience to consider Hadiya a role model. She urged them to use their own lives to give meaning to Hadiya’s life.
Every 3rd Wednesday @ 630pm @ Taylor Park.