Tropicana Park in Hoffman Estates has officially been transformed from a dilapidated pool hangout to a modern community space with features that will appeal to residents of every age.
The Hoffman Estates Park District is hosting a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at noon on Saturday, Oct. 27, for the new park, located at 680 Audubon Drive, near Higgins and Plum Grove roads.
Dean Bostrom, executive director of the park district, said the new park was a long time in the making.
"We were able to create a park that (the residents) are pretty excited about," he said.
The park district took ownership of the park, which amounts to less than an acre, in 2007, after the Tropicana Swim Club offered to donate it, saying it could not maintain it anymore. The space included a pool and clubhouse that opened in 1960 and was popular through the 1990s. But the facilities were in such disrepair that the park district decided it would be best to demolish them, plant grass and wait until funding was available before moving forward with a project that would involve the input of neighbors.
"We were able to take a liability and make it once again an asset," Bostrom said of the end result.
The cost of the project amounted to about $225,000, but $112,500 was funded by the state's Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant program, Bostrom said.
Neighbors requested that the park have two bocce ball courts, which were installed in addition to a volleyball court, horseshoe pit, chess table, benches, picnic tables and a drinking fountain. Children will especially enjoy the park's new playground equipment and a "splash pad," which will spray water in the summer and carry on the park's history of providing a place to cool off in the heat.
An area under the park's fabric shade shelter includes about 700 ceramic tiles painted by community members, including children from Fairview Elementary School.
There are plans to install about 300 more tiles in the spring and residents are invited to decorate them during a Halloween Bash from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Triphahn Center or during a tile decorating session from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, at the Triphahn Center.
Bostrom said he feels the project reflects the park district's ongoing efforts to respond to the community's needs.
The residents "had a problem, they came to us and every step along the way we've been able to work together," Bostrom said. "It's special."