Suffredin- For a Better Cook County  

Forest Preserves
Public Safety
Cook County Budget
Forest Pres. Budget
Property Tax Appeal
Health & Hospitals
Land Bank Authority
Policy Resolutions
Unsung Heroine


  Office phone numbers:  

The Cook County Code of Ordinances are the current laws of Cook County.


Search current and proposed Cook County Legislation in Larry's exclusive legislative library.

  Cook County Hospital fills more outpatient prescriptions every day than are filled at 26 Walgreen's drug store combined.

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments

Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments

  • Staff Editor

New amenities include nature play area, exercise stairs

Dan Ryan Woods has been a popular location for family gatherings and a place to connect to nature on the South Side of Chicago for generations. This morning, the Forest Preserves of Cook County and partners celebrated investments of more than $3.5 million in new amenities at the site since 2013.

Cook County Board and Forest Preserves of Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, joined by Senator Bill Cunningham, Representatives Kelly Burke and Fran Hurley, Commissioners John P. Daley and Stanley Moore, and officials from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Forest Preserve Foundation and the Forest Preserves of Cook County, spoke and toured Dan Ryan Woods during the ceremony.

“There is a lot of history here. For more than 100 years, Dan Ryan Woods has been a forest preserve. Our administration has worked with many partners on a Master Plan to reimagine Dan Ryan Woods and write a new chapter,” President Preckwinkle said. “These great new amenities here in Dan Ryan Woods reflect our commitment to ensuring that everyone across the county has the opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the nearly 70,000 acres of the Forest Preserves and all they offer.”

Since 2013, Dan Ryan Woods, a signature Gateway Site for the Forest Preserves of Cook County, has renovated and reopened the historic Dan Ryan Pavilion to the public as a venue for indoor special events; transformed a former maintenance building into the new Dan Ryan Visitors Center where local residents can purchase picnic permits; repaired limestone aqueducts south of 87st Street built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s; and added walking paths and new signs to tell the history of this special place and to help visitors more easily find their way around.

The most recent additions are popular new exercise stairs near the sledding hill and a multi-faceted nature play area, where children of all ages can make thunder or make music, climb the netting, lounge in a leaning hammock, or look out over the landscape in the Treehouse. Young people in the Forest Preserves’ Youth Outdoor Ambassadors program have developed new nature play programming for kids, based in adventure, creativity, and citizen science, for the site, as well.

The Gateway Master Plan identifies special sites at Forest Preserves locations throughout the county to encourage people to take advantage of these natural open spaces. The Forest Preserves has targeted Gateway sites for enhancements to help convey a sense of welcome, interest, safety and beauty. Opportunities to create a “sense of place” include increasing natural area restoration, integrating art and sculptures, and developing a policy on interpretation that communicates natural and cultural assets within the Forest Preserves.

“Dan Ryan Woods is a 257-acre preserve that includes open woodlands and native grasses and wildflowers, a great place to get away into nature right here on the South Side. Our mission at the Forest Preserves also includes offering opportunities for recreation in our natural spaces. Dan Ryan Woods is one of our most popular preserves—every year we issue more than 500 permits for picnics and other special events here. These investments bring even more to the site for visitors,” Forest Preserves General Superintendent Arnold Randall said.

Randall also thanked the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and its Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program for providing major funding for the work, and the Forest Preserve Foundation and the National Recreation Foundation for their generous support of the construction of the site and the nature play programming.

On Friday, August 2, the Forest Preserves will be hosting the Dan Ryan Woods VIP Play event, a local celebration with staff on hand, refreshments and fun nature activities. The event is free to attend, and will be hosted from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

For more information on the Gateway Master Plan, visit For more information on the Forest Preserves, visit

Recent Headlines

Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli on Gun Violence, Police Database.
Monday, August 26, 2019

Assessor: Homes values, sale prices up in Schaumburg Township
Tuesday, August 20, 2019
Daily Herald

Home improvement grant designed to get the lead out
Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Cook County census panel seeks outreach help for hard-to-count communities
Monday, August 19, 2019

Cook County Land Bank Authority Announces Opening of Registration to Give Away a Free Home
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
The Chicago Crusader

Friday, August 09, 2019
Illinois Policy

America’s most interesting sheriff
Friday, August 09, 2019

Top Cook County Jail chess players take on the world
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Public defender takes shots at Chicago Police gun offender webpage
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Commentary: Data alone won’t stop Chicago gun violence; Cook County needs a public ‘Violence Reduction Dashboard’
Wednesday, August 07, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Cook County Jail detainees take on inmates around the world in online chess tournament
Tuesday, August 06, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Here’s What You Need To Know About The Ongoing Bail Debate In Chicago
Monday, August 05, 2019
WBEZ Chicago Public Radio

Cook County Jail hosts international chess tournament
Monday, August 05, 2019
WGN Chicago

Cook County property taxes are due today, Aug. 1.
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Special to

Forest Preserves of Cook County Celebrate Dan Ryan Woods Investments
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Defender

Cook County TIFs generate $1.2 billion
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Sun-Times

Changes coming to Cook County assessor’s office
Thursday, August 01, 2019
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

In Chicago, TIF Revenues Soaring
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A controversial tax subsidy program will generate a record $1.2 billion in revenue. Here’s what the number means for Chicago.
Wednesday, July 31, 2019
Chicago Tribune

Group to rally in support of Kim Foxx as challengers emerge
Tuesday, July 30, 2019
Crain's Chicago Business

all news items

Paid for by Larry Suffredin and not at taxpayer expense. A Haymarket Production.