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Dan Ryan Woods slides to be razed

Thursday, May 03, 2007
Daily Southtown
by Jonathan Lipman Staff writer

The Dan Ryan Woods toboggan slides will be torn down under a contract approved Wednesday by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.
District officials said an independent study released in March concluded the wooden slides in the South Side forest preserve -- more rickety than the concrete slides at Swallow Cliff near Palos Park -- were in such disrepair that the cheapest way to remedy the situation was to start by tearing them down. The Dan Ryan slides have been closed since 2000 and the Swallow Cliff since 2004.
Commissioner Forrest Claypool (D-Chicago) argued that tearing down the slides before the county has decided on a plan to fix them will destroy any momentum to repair the slides anywhere.
"Once one of these toboggan slides comes down, it's not coming back up again," Claypool said. "We can do it if we commit to it."
Commissioner John Daley (D-Chicago), who represents the area around the slides, said he had talked with local elected officials and all of them were concerned about the safety hazard the broken-down slides represent to children.
By removing the slides and grading the land now, district officials said, they hope to have a sledding hill ready for this winter.
The district plans to release a request for proposals in the next month on ways to fix up and reopen the popular slides with artificial surfaces that would make tobogganing possible with little or no snow.
Supt. Steve Bylina said he didn't want to wait for those proposals before starting the demolition of the Dan Ryan slides because a combined contract may be more expensive. The $87,000 contract approved Wednesday was below estimates.
"It may be pay me now versus pay me later," Bylina said. "This location is in such disrepair -- you cannot repair them other than removing them and starting anew."
The board approved the deal 14 to 3, with Commissioners Claypool, Mike Quigley and Roberto Maldonado opposing.


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