Pickleball, disc golf withdrawn from Timber Trails Park plans in St. Charles
Community opposition to a preliminary redevelopment plan for Timber Trails Park has prompted St. Charles Park District to return to the drawing board.
An 18-hole disc golf course, four pickleball courts and a new parking lot were among the most controversial amenities proposed for the 36-acre park, located near a business park and residential neighborhoods at the north end of 17th Street.
Officials said they hoped to provide new attractions while also enhancing the park's existing features -- a sled hill, picnic shelters, a meadow and walking trails. They submitted an application in August for a matching $400,000 grant through the state's Open Space Land Acquisition and Development fund.
But during a community engagement session last week, the proposed improvements received backlash from dozens of residents who expressed concerns over potential disruptions to the park's patrons and natural environment. The opposition was echoed in the results of a survey completed by meeting attendees.
After evaluating the input, park officials decided to withdraw their grant application and revise the plan for Timber Trails Park, said Holly Cabel, director of parks and recreation.
According to the survey results, disc golf was the least popular amenity on the table, largely because of the potential safety risks posed by errant throws. Residents also feared an existing prairie would be trampled by players fetching Frisbees or moving between holes.
There also was "strong opposition" to adding a third parking lot near the park's playground site, with community members pointing to possible increased traffic along Manley Road, survey results show. And those resisting the pickleball courts expressed "overwhelming concern" for how the noise, lights and destruction of a tree barrier would affect nearby houses.
The park district is now searching for other sites that could host the amenities removed from the Timber Trails plan, including disc golf and pickleball, Cabel said.
The trails were the most popular park feature, according to the survey, which received suggestions to enhance the paths through the wooded areas, extend them to the Great Western Trail and improve signage. Residents also said they want the natural areas maintained and cleared of invasive species.
Other recommendations included cleaning up the ponds on the property, repairing or replacing the basketball courts and ice skating area, and adding restrooms near both the playground and picnic shelters.
The park district expects to share the new Timber Trails plan on its website, through email and during another future community engagement meeting.