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updated: 6/10/2014 4:53 PM

Bloomingdale seeking funding for park improvvements

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  • Proposed improvements to Circle Park in Bloomingdale include upgrading a roller hockey rink so it could be used for ice skating during the winter. John Hower, left, of Itasca, Mike Ferrante, center, of Bloomingdale, and James Trout of Roselle, were using the rink on Tuesday.

       Proposed improvements to Circle Park in Bloomingdale include upgrading a roller hockey rink so it could be used for ice skating during the winter. John Hower, left, of Itasca, Mike Ferrante, center, of Bloomingdale, and James Trout of Roselle, were using the rink on Tuesday.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Bloomingdale Park District officials already were planning to replace the playground equipment at Circle Parke when they decided to seek grant money from the state to pay for additional improvements.

       Bloomingdale Park District officials already were planning to replace the playground equipment at Circle Parke when they decided to seek grant money from the state to pay for additional improvements.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Bloomingdale Park District is going to apply for a state grant to raise money to pay for improvements to Circle Park in Bloomingdale.

       Bloomingdale Park District is going to apply for a state grant to raise money to pay for improvements to Circle Park in Bloomingdale.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

 
 

One of the most used parks in Bloomingdale could get about $377,000 in amenities and upgrades if the park district is able to secure grant money from the state.

The Bloomingdale Park District is going to apply for the Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant to help pay for the various improvements to Circle Park, which is located along Fairfield Way.

Park district officials already had set aside money to replace the park's playground equipment when they decided to try to make further enhancements.

"Either way, we're going to put the playground in," Executive Director Carrie Fullerton said. "But we'd love to get the grant and make the park even better than it already is."

Circle Park is the third-most popular park in Bloomingdale's park system, according to Fullerton. The 20-acre site includes athletic fields for baseball, soccer and football.

The list of proposed improvements include a nature playground, a picnic shelter and a small skate spot.

If the park district's grant application is approved, it would receive $188,649 from the state. That money would pay for half the cost of the project. The district would pay the other half.

But before the district submits its application, a special park board meeting will be held next week to get public input about the plan. That meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday at the Johnston Recreation Center, 172 S. Circle Ave.

During the meeting, Fullerton will make a brief presentation and then give residents the chance to make comments and ask questions. District staff members and park board members will be available to answer questions.

"We want to hear what the community thinks about it," Fullerton said. "We want to know if there's anything they would really like to see in the park that's not there."

As for the planned improvements, the nature playground would have natural materials incorporated into its design and be more of an interpretive playground.

"Children would be able to have a nature-type of experience in that playground," Fullerton said.

Circle Park has an existing picnic shelter and concession building. Still, officials say the district needs more picnic shelters. So plans call for another to be added.

The skate spot wouldn't be a full skate park, but it would give children a small area to ride their skateboards.

Other proposed upgrades would include outdoor fitness equipment for adults, rain gardens, increased interpretive nature areas and signs, and improvements to the stormwater system.

Fullerton said park officials also want to improve a roller hockey rink so it can be used as an ice rink during the winter.

"We would love to have the ability to freeze that in the winter," she said. "Right now, we don't have that ability."

When the weather conditions are right, the district creates an ice arena at Westlake Park, 307 Edgewater Drive. However, the area doesn't have bathrooms or a place where people can change their skates.

Those issues would be resolved if there was ice skating at Circle Park because the park is next to the recreation center.

Bloomingdale Park District has until July 1 to submit its grant application to the state. If the district receives the grant money, it will have two years to complete the project.

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