Naperville seeks grant for Southwest Community Park construction
Development of a large-scale park in southwest Naperville is expected to cost $11 million, but the park district is taking steps to get some of that money from a grant.
District employees on Tuesday are heading to Springfield to make a pitch for why Southwest Community Park deserves an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development grant from a state program that promotes the conservation of land as public parks.
Eric Shutes, director of planning, said the district is seeking a matching grant of $400,000 -- the maximum allowed for development projects under the program known as OSLAD -- to help create the first phase of the 33-acre open space at 3252 Wolf's Crossing Road.
State officials are set to allocate the grants among a field of 108 projects from parks and recreation agencies across Illinois that are seeking a total of $34.8 million, Shutes said.
If the grant comes through, it will offer a budget boost, but the district already has taken an $11 million loan to ensure it has enough to finance park construction.
Southwest Community Park is the last major open space yet to be developed by the district among its 137 parks, and its construction follows a homebuilding boom that is still progressing in the area.
Planned for future inclusion at the park are a new walking trail, multipurpose fields, a variety of sport courts, a challenge course, a fitness area, a playground, a splash pad and a sled hill. Restrooms, parking, a picnic shelter, woodland restoration, native plantings and connections to nearby trails also make the list.
Late additions, based on resident feedback, include a baseball/softball field and a sand volleyball court.
As the park district seeks grant funding and begins construction this summer, officials also are planning to decide on a permanent name for the park; until then, Southwest Community Park is a placeholder.