New amphitheater among proposed upgrades at Buffalo Grove's Rylko Park

An outdoor performance venue that could be used for Buffalo Grove Days concerts and an expansion of the popular Spray 'N Play area are among possible upgrades at Mike Rylko Community Park in Buffalo Grove.

But those renovations would require grant money from the state, a possible contribution from the village and a bond issue.

Buffalo Grove Park District officials approached the village board Monday with a preliminary plan to make over about 4.1 acres of the approximately 76.5-acre park at 951 McHenry Road. Early estimates put the plan's cost at $6 million, officials said.

Tim Howe, the district's director of parks and planning, and Superintendent of Development Mike Maloney detailed the plans for village trustees, who later referred the proposal to the planning and zoning commission for further review.

Buffalo Grove Community Development Director Nicole Woods said the village would need to approve the plan, amend a special use for the property and possibly allow code and sign variations.

The stage of the proposed amphitheater would be the same size as the one used by the park district at its Community Arts Center, 225 McHenry Road.

Howe said the Spray 'N Play is "something that is used a lot by our public," which suggests a need for expansion.

"Our playground is past its life cycle, so we would like to move it away from the softball fields and make it a larger and more of a destination playground," he added.

Other improvements would be made to the park's paths and the lighting, and trees also would be added.

Reaction on the village board ranged from enthusiastic to guarded.

"I'm excited about the prospect. I think it's good for Buffalo Grove in all kinds of respects," Trustee Lester Ottenheimer III said.

Howe said the park district has been told it will receive roughly $3 million from the state. With other funding, including the village contribution and the sale of bonds, "we could definitely make the rest work," he said, adding that the district does not intend to raise taxes for the project.

But Trustee Gregory Pike had concerns about financing.

"At the village, we try to keep property taxes flat. It would be nice to know, in the park district, that you're going to keep the taxes flat" as well, he said.

Trustee Andrew Stein praised the project but noted that not all village residents live within the park district's borders.

"But everyone who lives in Buffalo Grove is going to be affected equally when it comes to financing this," he said.

If the village does invest in the project, Stein said he would like the district to consider charging all Buffalo Grove residents the same rates for park programs.

The Buffalo Grove Park District is proposing improvements for Mike Rylko Park that include a new amphitheater and an expansion of the Spray 'N Play area. Courtesy of the Buffalo Grove Park District
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.