Berwyn wants parks not parking lots

A group of adults and children, some holding signs ("This Is Our Park!", "Parks Not Parking Lots!", "Save This Park!", and "We ❤ Serenity"), on the sidewalk in front of Berwyn's Serenity Park, a two-story apartment building in the background.
Berwyn, Illinois community members held a rally for the city’s Serenity Park Tuesday morning, December 12, 2023, from 7:30 to 8:30 AM. There was also an evening rally, after dark, at 6 PM, ahead of that night’s City Council meeting.

On Friday, December 8, the Agenda (PDF) for that coming Tuesday’s Berwyn City Council Meeting revealed plans by Mayor Robert J. “Bob” Lovero to convert Serenity Park to a parking lot, terminating the City’s 99-year lease of this land to the Berwyn Park District to keep and maintain as a park.

The community sprang into action, reaching out to the Mayor, City Council members, and other elected officials, and generally spreading the word.

By Sunday, December 10, the Mayor had to withdraw his proposal:

after receiving recent feedback from Berwyn constituents and elected officials regarding the proposed recommendation to replace this site with a public parking lot, Mayor Lovero has made the decision to withdraw this item (F-2) from the agenda.

Planned morning and evening rallies in support of the park went ahead and community members spoke out at City Council about the importance of Serenity Park and green space generally. The December 12 committee of the whole and City Council meeting is on YouTube, linked here starting at the beginning of public comments in the open forum. Community organizers are urging the City and other bodies to work together to ensure parks are protected for the future.

Although Serenity Park was saved, for now at least, and with work begun for a long-term solution, development of a smaller parking lot on the site of a previously residential property near the Depot District was approved.


The December 12, 2023 Berwyn, Illinois committee of the whole and City Council meetings YouTube-archived live stream, cued to the near-beginning of the City Council meeting just before the start of the open forum in which residents spoke out about Serenity Park and other issues.