The village of South Elgin was awarded a state grant for the construction of a playground accessible to kids with disabilities, for which a groundbreaking will take place next month.
The $400,000 open space and land acquisition development grant from the state's department of natural resources will be matched by the nonprofit FUNdation of South Elgin, FUNdation board member Bill DiFulvio said.
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A major donor is the Hoffer Foundation of South Elgin, which pledged a $350,000 matching grant last year. Local schoolchildren also played a role with fundraising drives, DiFulvio said.
The $1.3 million all-inclusive playground will be built at SEBA Park off State Street along the Fox River.
The FUNdation is working on securing the remaining half-million dollars, DiFulvio said.
"This is enough for us to start the project, but we still need some big hitters out there," he said.
"We hope this will be the impetus for other people to look at it and say they want to be a part of it. This will be really cool."
Playground committee chairwoman Karen Cluchey played a major role in the initiative, DiFulvio said.
South Elgin Director of Parks and Recreation Jim Reuter said there's no date set for the start of construction.
"I would guess that depending on the winter, the grand opening will happen probably spring of 2015," he said.
Village officials were set to discuss a timeline in a meeting this week with landscape architect Bob Ijams of Hitchcock Design Group in Naperville, Reuter said.
Also, they will meet with an excavating company that might join in the project, he said.
"We're still looking for people to donate services and help us not spend as much money," he said.
For example, Hampton, Lenzini and Renwick, Inc. of Elgin donated about $40,000 worth of engineering services, he said.
Because of its unique features, the playground also will be a great place for adults who use wheelchairs or grandparents who want to play with their kids, Reuter said.
"This is going to bring a facility in downtown South Elgin that is not only going to be a local amenity, we think it will be a regional amenity," he said.
An official groundbreaking of the playground will take place at noon May 10 at SEBA Park.
At 2 p.m. that day, a new Jim Hansen Park sign will be dedicated at the corner of Valley Forge and Concord avenues at the former Concord Park, renamed after the village president who died last year.
To contribute to the playground initiative, visit southelgin.com and search for "FUNdation."