Community Park in Addison is slated for a major overhaul that will cost roughly $1.7 million and will take several years to complete.
Addison Park District Executive Director Mark McKinnon calls the upgrades "critical."
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"The park hasn't had much work in the last 40 years here, and the ball fields are about what they were 40 years ago," he said. "It's a flood plain area, so when it rains, the ball fields are out of commission for a certain amount of time."
The park at 120 E. Oak Street already features a new playground that opened in May. The new amenity was funded by $100,000 in donation grants from state Sen. Carole Pankau and state Rep. Dennis Reboletti, while the park district footed another $50,000, McKinnon said.
Now, the park district is preparing for another phase of work that will include regrading two of the five ball fields and adding new drainage systems so the fields are more quickly accessible after heavy rains. One of the fields will become multipurpose, so it can be used to accommodate football, soccer and lacrosse. Both will also get new fencing, lighting and bleachers with shade structures.
In addition, workers will add a new tot playground centrally located next to the fields for children ages 2 to 5.
The park will also see an enhanced walking path with exercise stations and a new high-school regulation basketball court. And the senior center courtyard next to the Community Recreation Center will get shuffleboard, bocce ball and horse shoe pits.
McKinnon said the amenities for seniors are important because Addison is "very proud" to have one of the largest senior programs in DuPage County, which attracts about 165 seniors to its weekly club.
The park district plans to take construction bids in December and hopes to break ground in spring. McKinnon said the work should be complete by May 2014.
The work will cost about $800,000 and will be funded in part by a nearly $360,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The park district must pay the remaining costs as a stipulation of the grant, McKinnon said.
Eventually, park officials are aiming for a final phase of work at Community Park that will also cost about $800,000. McKinnon said that would include improvements to the remaining three ball fields, including new lighting and fencing, and creating additional pathways in the park.
The district plans to apply for another lands acquisition grant next year to help fund the work. Once the district learns if the grant is approved, then officials will have a better estimate of when all work at Community Park will be complete.