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Article updated: 2/19/2013 10:47 AM

Arlington Heights starting work on Frontier Park this spring

By Melissa Silverberg

Construction on the first phase of a major renovation project at Frontier Park in Arlington Heights will start this spring with help from a state grant, officials said.

But until additional funding arrives, the rest of the project is on hold.

The Arlington Heights Village Board last week approved the Frontier Park master plan, which has been in the planning stages for at least three years, said Steve Scholten, the district's executive director.

"We've been waiting quite a while for this, so we're very excited," he said. "There are some nice changes coming to the park, and we're anxious to get moving."

Phase one improvements include relocating the existing baseball diamond to the northwest corner of the park, where a second baseball field will be added. An additional soccer field and tennis court also will be added with lights for playing at night.

The district will install lit pathways and a sidewalk around the perimeter of the park, update playground equipment and construct a new picnic shelter.

Other work includes regrading of the north half of the site, constructing three new detention basins and relocating the 49 community garden plots to an area along the north property line of the park. A single-family home owned by the district at 2004 N. Fernandez Ave. will be demolished so the land can be incorporated into the park as open green space.

Much of the funding for the first phase is coming from a $400,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Scholten said. The rest of the $3.2 million project will be paid for by the park district.

Bids will be going out in the next few weeks, with construction starting later this spring and expected to be completed by spring of 2014, he added.

Residents have given input on the plan at four public meetings with the park district since February 2010.

Later phases of the Frontier plan include installing two more lit soccer fields, an ice rink, a larger parking lot and building a new 85,000-square-foot community center with an indoor soccer field. That work is on hold until the park district has the funding.

Two referendums would have issued $48 million or $39 million in bonds, respectively, to fund park renovations last year, and the park district doesn't yet have plans to put the matter on the ballot for a third time.

The park district had the village approve the entire master plan this month, however, so that when funding is available they will be able to move forward quickly, Scholten said.

Each of the district's other community parks has received similar external upgrades in recent years, so Scholten said the phase one work will bring Frontier up to par with the others.

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