Recreation center, more apartments proposed for Villa Park
Villa Park is reviewing plans for a new recreation center at Lions Park and the redevelopment of a nearby property.
The village is considering constructing a 38,000-square-foot recreation center at Lions Park, 350 E. Wildwood Ave. Meanwhile, a developer has unveiled a proposal for a mixed-use housing and retail complex along Villa Avenue.
Last week, the Villa Park trustees heard two informal presentations about both projects.
Villa Park is looking to build a recreation center thanks to a $10 million grant the village received from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The grant stipulates a two-year deadline from March 2022 for the project to begin construction and reach completion.
Itasca-based Williams Architects is working on the design for the recreation center at Lions Park.
Williams Architects CEO Tom Poulos told village trustees the two-story facility would feature 16,500 square feet for a ground-floor gymnasium and second-level walking/running track.
The building also would have rooms focused on group fitness and a dedicated "Creative Kids" drop-in space. In addition, it would feature kitchen space for catered special occasions.
Poulos stressed that the recreation center's exact positioning in Lions Park could change if Villa Park wants to have available land to build a future outdoor aquatic center, which was not part of his presentation. He said the recreation center's locker rooms at the north end of the building could serve double duty for a potential outdoor pool.
Construction of the Lions Park recreation center is estimated to cost more than $18.1 million.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin-based developer Catalyst Partners has proposed a $50 million high-density, mixed-use housing and retail complex at 100-110 S. Villa Ave. The property is the former site of A.K. Mulch and Firewood, which moved to 631 E. Wildwood Ave.
The development, called "The Union," would include a four-story building that would feature 210 one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments with 10,000 square feet of commercial ground-floor retail or restaurant space.
David Lyon of Catalyst Partners said the building would have a parking structure with 100 dedicated spaces for visiting shoppers. The overall design would reflect the area's history as a nexus for railroads, he said.
There are also plans for a $25 million senior living center for adults 55 and older.
The building would be on the east side of Lions Park, next to the recreation center. It would feature 90 one- and two-bedroom apartments and a parking structure with dedicated spaces for recreation center visitors.
Villa Park Trustee Jack Corkery expressed some dismay about the loss of open green spaces at Lions Park because the eastern portion of the property would feature either a surface-level parking lot or the senior living building. But Village President Nick Cuzzone suggested the senior living center would help generate tax revenues versus a dedicated parking lot.
Village Manager Richard Keehner, Jr. said there will be community input meetings for both projects.