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updated: 9/17/2013 1:11 AM

Arlington Hts. residents voice concerns about Camelot Park renovations

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Although Camelot Park already closed for the beginning of what will be a $6 million renovation, some residents came to the Arlington Heights village board on Monday to speak out against the park district project.

The board unanimously approved plans from the Arlington Heights Park District for part of the Camelot renovations that will use public land such as a parking variance and a special use to allow the community center on public land.

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Brian Huckstadt, director of parks and planning for the park district said there were at least six community meetings over several years and that concerns from residents were taken into consideration.

But some residents disagreed.

"I'm very disappointed that the people of Camelot Park were not listened to," said Marion Sherman Behzad, who lives across from the park. "They had all these meetings, but the decision was already made."

Behzad said she is concerned that there will be so little green space left at the park after the expansion.

"I have attended every single meeting and there were a great many people who did not want this to happen," Behzad said. "Please just leave us a park, not a big recreation theme park."

The park facility closed last week for the $5.83 million project, which is funded in part by a $2.5 million grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, according to the Arlington Heights Park District.

The project will more than double the size of the community center building, adding 13,842 square feet of space including a new gymnasium with an elevated walking track, a new preschool room, and a new main entry way and lobby, as well as more programming space and additional parking. The current facility at Camelot Park, 1005 E. Suffield Drive, is more than 40 years old. The facility is expected to reopen in fall 2014, according to the district.

"Do not conduct surveys, do not conduct neighborhood meetings if you're not going to listen to the voice of the people," said neighbor Linda Claytor.

Claytor said she would have supported renovations to the existing building, a dog park, fixing the intersection leading into the park but not building a large new building expansion.

"We've done as little touching of green space as possible to keep the green space in the park," Huckstadt said.

Before voting unanimously to approve the project, village trustees distanced themselves from the actual planning and funding of the project, which was done by the park district.

"What we have before us is a very narrow question," said Trustee Thomas Glasgow.

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