Residents viewing the plan for improvements at Kilmer Park left impressed with the plan, but skeptical about the Buffalo Grove Park District's ability to handle parking near the site.
On Monday, the park board held a public hearing outlining the improvements at the park, located at 655 Golfview Terrace.
The project, which the district hopes to fund with an $800,000 matching grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, includes a basketball court, a pathway encircling the site, a renovated game-quality baseball field (replete with covered dugouts and bleachers), a renovated playground with a new picnic area and tables, a renovated tennis area, and additional areas for badminton and baggo. The badminton area could also be filled with water during the winter for a skating rink.
The site will also offer new Nautilus-quality fitness equipment, including a StairMaster. The pathways would cater to rollerbladers and skateboarders with special areas where they could perform their tricks and intricate maneuvers.
Dan Dalziel, principal with 3D Design Studio, which designed the project, walked the board and guests in the audience through the plan. He also explained some of the nuts and bolts behind obtaining the grant, going out for bid and moving on to the construction phase. There is a July 1 deadline for the grant application, with DNR expected to come out with a short list by October and make its final decision by January or February.
Dalziel was confident the project would meet the requirements for the grant. If the grant is approved, bids would go out in the spring, and construction would be completed by the fall.
The board members were clearly impressed with the design.
"I think this is phenomenal, having so many different amenities in one park. Something for everyone," said park board Commissioner Rick Drazner.
For residents, the main questions were whether the added activities would aggravate existing problems with the park, especially parking.
The most vocal of the residents, Rich Huso, said park users frequently block residents' driveways with their cars and routinely violate parking restrictions.
He said he was told by police officers that the park district did not want vehicles ticketed during baseball games because users are paying fees to use the field. Another time, he had to wait 55 minutes for police to arrive. Huso, a 30-year resident, said that on one Saturday there were seven cars parked illegally.
Park District Executive Director Dan Schimmel said there are no plans for additional parking because it would affect the configuration of the baseball field. He added, however, that there would not be significant additional use of the park, since one baseball field that exists now is being eliminated.
He said the park district did not ask police not to ticket. "That is not something that we have ever done."
He said he would getting in touch with Buffalo Grove police Chief Steve Balinski to clarify the issue.
Schimmel told residents, however, that it would be their responsibility to call police in the future, asking to reach a watch commander if necessary.