The Schulman family had a lot to celebrate on Tuesday, May 18, when top political leaders, top ranking members of the Chicago Fire Department, local notables, friends and family came together to honor the memory of the late, great Eli Schulman in a reopening ceremony of the park created in his honor, The Eli M. Schulman Playground & Seneca Park.
Located just east of Chicago's historic Water Tower, Seneca Park and the Schulman Playground provide a peaceful oasis and a welcome touch of green amid an increasingly concrete-heavy city. Not since 1990 has the playground been renovated, Now, updates to the play area include a 16% increase in space and softer surfaces for safety. One area mom, Sharyl Mackey, pointed out that it was nice to see some installations created for older children there too.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was led by Alderman Brian Hopkins, whose young daughter presented the countdown. Other speakers included Maureen and Marc Schulman, son of Eli M. Schulman and Chair, Seneca Park & Eli M. Schulman Playground Advisory Council; Michael Kelly, CEO Chicago Park District; Annette Holt, Commissioner, Chicago Fire Department; Grant DePorter, Magnificent Mile Association and Harry Carays; Brian Butler, SOAR VP; Jack Guthman, attorney & trustee, MCA, and others. Recognition was given for Jim Letchinger, CEO, JDL & developer, One Chicago.
The playground and park renovation broke ground in 1988 to honor the late restaurateur Eli M. Schulman, proprietor of the legendary Eli's The Place For Steak, whose restaurant was located across the street on East Chicago Avenue (now the site of Lurie's Children's Hospital).
Notables seen in the crowd included Abra Prentice Wilkin and Jim Wilkin, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas, Mickey Siegel, Sharyl and Mike Mackey, Maria Smithburg, Kate Murray, Rick Kogan and Willa Lang, among others.
The event concluded with a poem by Sally Park, read by Andy White of the Lookingglass Theatre.
Alderman Hopkins said the playground will see more upgrades in the near future.