A South Side alderman wants to develop a new park next year to honor Hadiya Pendleton, a King College Prep student who was gunned down while seeking shelter from a rainstorm just days after she attended President Barack Obama's second inauguration.
Kevin Lampie, a spokesperson for Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd), said the alderman wants to expand, redevelop and rename the Buckthorn Playlot, in the 4300 block of South Calumet Avenue, after the slain 15-year-old.
Dowell wants a walking trail, a spray pool for children, exercise areas, new lighting and landscaping, and updated playground equipment, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Lampie didn't have a dedication date for the $1.2 million project.
A Chicago Park District spokeswoman told the Sun-Times Friday morning that the district had not yet received a formal request to change the park’s name, but that an advisory council meeting held Thursday night may have been the first step in that process.
Pendleton lived in the ward and was shot in January 2013 at Vivian Gordon Harsh Park, about a mile away from Buckthorn. Her death became a national symbol of Chicago gun violence and drew reaction from The White House. First Lady Michelle Obama attended the girl's funeral, and President Barack Obama mentioned her in his State of the Union Address and later made a special visit to Chicago to address Chicago crime.
"What happened to Hadiya is not unique. It's not unique to Chicago. It's not unique to this country. Too many of our children are being taken away from us," he said in a Feb. 15, 2013 speech at Hyde Park Academy High School.
Two men were charged in connection with Pendleton's death. Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said the shooting stemmed from an ongoing gang war in the neighborhood and said the alleged gunman, Michael Ward, said Pendleton "had nothing to do with it" and "she was just there."
Ward and Kenneth Williams both pleaded not guilty.