About 50 people attended a pair of Lindenhurst Park District public input meetings to hear about the development of Oak Ridge Park, an 18-acre park near the Heritage Trails and Providence Woods subdivisions.
Park district director Tom Lippert said the meetings on Monday and Tuesday were meant to inform residents about two proposed Phase I plans for the site. The plans include extending an existing pedestrian pathway off Independence Boulevard, so in the future it may connect to an underpass across Grass Lake Road, and adding recreational amenities. The amenities include a water play area, 9-hole Frisbee golf course, soccer field, open play area, shelters, restrooms and 60-car parking lot.
"The active recreational aspects that we're including and the public open space is very, very important," Lippert said. "I think those are areas we can improve on, and (this project) just gives us more opportunity to provide recreational programming for our community."
The pathway would connect the park to Heritage Trail Park, Millburn West School, McDonald Woods Forest Preserve and Forest View Park. It would be in keeping with the 2008 Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Comprehensive Plan.
The project would take about two years to complete, Lippert said.
The two conceptual plans differ mainly in where they place the park entrance. The first creates an entrance off Grass Lake Road, which would require widening the road and adding a turn lane, and the second creates an entrance off Independence Boulevard.
Lippert said the plans received a positive response both nights. On the first night, a question involved safety at the finished park. Police department officials reassured them of their cooperation.
The park district will apply for a $400,000 matching grant from the Open Space Land Acquisitions grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which is due by July 1. Most of the matched funding would come from capital improvement funds and a soccer program maintenance fee, Lippert said. He estimated the entire project will cost about $1 million.
The state department denied a park district grant application last year, citing a lack of funding but also pointed out a need for more recreational rather than infrastructure additions.
Lippert said he is encouraged by the fact the same department administered the land acquisition grant that earned the park district the land originally.
"It's not the first time around, or, frankly, the second time around, that (the department) has seen the value of this property and what it could mean for the community," he said.