Buffalo Grove planners give glowing review of $6 million proposal for Rylko park

Plans for a re-imagined Mike Rylko Community Park in Buffalo Grove cleared a key hurdle this week.

The village's planning and zoning commission on Wednesday gave the proposed improvements to the 76.5-acre park a positive recommendation and forwarded the plan to the village board, which has final say.

If the village board approves the plan, the Buffalo Grove Park District will move ahead with a vision for the park that includes: a new amphitheater, a large, covered event space, renovation and expansion of the Spray 'N Play facility, and reconstruction of the playground area.

The project is expected to cost an estimated $6 million, with proposed funding from a park district bond issue, along with a possible village contribution and a grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

The amphitheater, which would include a covered stage and an open lawn area, would be built northwest of the baseball fields at the park, located at 951 McHenry Road. A lawn seating area would accommodate about 3,000 people, while the seating area in front of the stage would accommodate approximately 155.

A proposed covered event space beyond the lawn seating area would accommodate about 255 seats.

The Spray 'N Play area would be expanded to almost twice its current capacity and appeal to a wider age range, officials say.

The existing playground would be demolished and replaced by a new playground for children of all ages and abilities to the north of the Spray 'N Play.

"This is obviously an improvement. It looks fabulous," said plan commission Chairman Frank Cesario. "I think there is a lot of care in here and I have every expectation that it is going to be a spectacular success.'

Commissioner Adam Moodhe added, "It's going to be a big change to a lot of people, and then there's going to be some that don't like change. But change is good."

The village board will need to approve a zoning variation to allow the park district to exceed the 15-foot height limitation for accessory structures on the property.

The commission's recommendations include limiting noise levels to 97 decibels at 70 feet in front of the stage, with all shows using a real-time sound monitor.

The commission also recommends offering flexibility from the height limitation of the speakers attached to the amphitheater. The limit would be 15 feet above the lowest seating area, but the commission said this could be adjusted on a event-by-event basis, if the village and the park district agree to it.

The biggest sound impact is likely to be felt during the Buffalo Grove Days festival over Labor Day weekend.

The lawn seating area of a new amphitheater proposed for Mike Rylko Community Park in Buffalo Grove would have room for about 3,000 people. Courtesy of the Buffalo Grove Park District
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