Friday, June 13, 2014

DNA Info: Ryan Harris' Mom Still Waiting for Field House at Park Named for Slain Girl

Sabrina Harris by DNA Info/Josh McGhee
It seems at times that this blog often visits Ryan Harris Park located at 6781 S. Lowe Ave in Englewood. Ryan Harris was 11 years of age when she was murdered in 1998 not far from this park. Harris' mother is now sounding the alarm of an unmet need at the park named for her daughter:
When Sabrina Harris visits the Englewood park renamed after her 11-year-old daughter, who was brutally raped and murdered just a few blocks away, she sees 16 years of broken promises from the city and local politicians.

Ryan Harris Memorial Park, 6781 S. Lowe Ave., was renamed in 1999, almost a year after her daughter's death. Since then, aldermen and the Chicago Park District promised Harris a field house and a restroom facility that have never been built, even though close to $500,000 has been donated toward it.

"I’m wondering what’s the hold up now?" asked Harris at a news conference at the park Thursday morning.

"You all have the funding for the park and for the facilities you all said the park [needed] and it’s been 16 years and I still don’t see it. And I haven’t been contacted as far as when will the structure be allowed to be put up," she said.

According to Harris, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) donated $200,000 to the project and state Sen. Jacqueline Collins (D-Chicago) donated an additional $350,000. Sawyer could not be reached for comment.

Collins did make the donation for bathrooms to be built but has received pushback from the Chicago Park District about building the facilities, a spokeswoman for Collins said.

The Chicago Park District did not immediately return calls about the project.

Before the park was built, Sabrina Harris played around the open lot as a child, but now the park is an emotional journey for her. As she walked around it Thursday she broke down in uncontrollable tears several times. A viaduct, which serves as a backdrop for the park, shields the area where police found her daughter almost 16 years ago in July.
May this park receive the attention it needs and be truly a place for leisure and play with nothing but peace!

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