COUNTRYSIDE – The property on the southeast corner of 55th Place and Peck Avenue was the only one in its vicinity that would regularly flood.
In fact, the village identified the piece of land as a deficiency in its master plan as far back as 1996.
So Sean McDermott, a city alderman for Ward 3, approached Denise Whiting in 2010 and asked if she would sell the property to the city.
Three years later, on June 28, McDermott and Whiting posed during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Andrew Whiting Memorial Park, dedicated to Whiting’s son, Andrew, who committed suicide in April 2006.
The park includes a playground, open-air gazebo and a rain garden along its eastern edge that should help reduce flooding, McDermott said. But it also helps the city address a topic that often goes ignored.
"By naming it after Andrew, we could raise awareness about suicide,” McDermott said. “We need to break down that stigma.”
After selling the property, Whiting moved to a new house in the area.
The park has received positive feedback from parents and grandparents who now don’t have to leave the neighborhood to bring kids to the park, McDermott said.