Skate park in Vernon Hills ready and waiting for lifting of stay-at-home order
With the installation of sod this week, the Vernon Hills Park District's newest amenity is complete.
The question now is when the $305,000 skate park east of the Sullivan Community Center, 635 N. Aspen Drive, will be allowed to open in light of state mandated restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
That likely will be at least another month as Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday announced a modified stay-at-home order that will go into effect May 1 and last through the end of the month.
"We're just waiting for the governor to give us the green light," said Jeff Fougerousse, the park district's executive director.
The smooth concrete configuration of dips, bowls and curves is an upgrade from the old wood and steel structure it replaced.
It is one of two in the suburbs designed and built by Evergreen Skateparks, a Portland, Oregon, firm renowned for its work throughout the U.S. The other Illinois facility is in Villa Park.
Construction started the first week in March and took about a month, with work proceeding six days a week for up to 12 hours a day.
"Every one of their workers are skateboarders," Fougerousse said. "It's an art form" for the contractors and crew, he added.
The skate park is just over 5,000 square feet, and the circular design allows for up to 20 skaters at a time. It's designed to be used by scooters as well.
Despite being closed, the facility already is well known to skateboarders. Some have thrown their bikes or boards over the construction fence and climbed over.
"Fairly frequently, we're chasing people out of there, which is a sign that people are excited," Fougerousse said.
A new skate park had been planned for 2024 but was moved up with construction by Hawthorn Elementary District 73 of a kindergarten center to be connected to the Sullivan Center.
The school district is contributing $80,000 to the skate park project, and the village is contributing $84,000 by waiving a park district loan installment.
At this point, the skatepark's opening is not the most pressing issue facing the district.
"What are we going to do with our aquatic center? What are we going to do with our summer camps?" Fougerousse said.
In the short term, Loop the Lakes 5K walk/run and family kite fly planned for Saturday at Century Park have been canceled.