Just a swing away from a lawsuit.
Just a swing away from a lawsuit. Public domain

The first brown leaves dangling from tree branches are an unmistakable sign that fall is coming. But over the past two weeks, visitors to a Chicago park have spotted something a little more unexpected dangling from above: rope swings.

At least two swings made of wood and rope have been reported in different sections of Logan Square Park, as reported on social media and the local news site dnainfo. So far no one knows who hung them up.

The unexpected arrivals have sparked a range of reactions on social media, from enthusiastic parents praising the distraction they provide, to worriers who see the mysterious swings as “lawsuits waiting to happen.”

It is, in fact, illegal to hang anything from public trees in the Windy City. According to Chicago Municipal Code: “no person shall secure, hang, fasten, attach or run any rope, wire, sign, decoration, electrical device or other material upon, around or through any public tree without a permit to do so,” a statute that came up once before in a discussion over illegal hammocks.

A few months ago the same area was home to another mysterious outdoor play apparatus—a black-and-blue trampoline that migrated to a few different locations. Investigations revealed that the trampoline’s owners were moving it around for passersby to enjoy.

There didn’t appear to be any permit involved, but at the end of the day it led to more smiles than lawsuits.