Hanover Park Park District to build new soccer facility

The Hanover Park Park District will build a long-awaited $2.5 million indoor soccer facility, bringing recreational opportunities to an underserved section of town and providing a home for special-needs athletes.

The box-shaped building means a new recreational venue for the south side of Hanover Park, an area where the offerings have lagged behind those on the north side.

The park district put an indoor soccer field on its wish list five years ago after polling residents clamoring for the sport. The project recently got a leg up when the state announced $7.1 million in grants for recreational improvements across DuPage County.

Hanover Park will receive almost $1.9 million. The district plans to pay for the rest of the estimated cost by issuing bonds.

“Without it, we couldn't build the building,” Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Acks said of the grant. “It takes a lot of pressure off our financing to be able to do this.”

While commissioners have not yet hired an architectural firm, the district hopes to begin construction next spring on the Spring Wood Middle School campus, 5540 Arlington Drive East. The Keeneyville Elementary School District 20 board agreed to transfer the land once the district secured the grant.

A multipurpose field — not quite the full-sized soccer dimensions at the high school level — also will bring lacrosse and basketball players and summer campers, officials say. There will be room for spectators, paving the way for games hosted by the Northwest Special Recreation Association that serve as qualifiers for Special Olympics tournaments.

With members spread across 17 communities, the Rolling Meadows-based nonprofit group will gain an accessible gym for the southwest side of its service area. NWSRA currently jockeys for gym time in park districts, schools and churches during “league night” on Tuesdays. That's a peak time for basketball and volleyball games pitting athletes in special recreation associations across the Chicago area.

“The need for gym space is premium,” NWSRA Executive Director Tracey Crawford said.

Julie Clasen, the group's recreation superintendent, will work with the Hanover Park district to develop programs. Officials hope to draw special-needs students from Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54 and District 20 for daytime classes that pair leisure activities with building sensory, motor and social skills.

Another option would bring together kids with and without disabilities after school.

Clasen anticipates several hundred association members using the Hanover Park site.

“Having a new facility with all the bells and whistles just creates equality for everyone,” she said.

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