Spring Brings Big Changes to Two Community Parks
Hoffman Estates, Illinois. This April Hoffman Estates Park District's (HEParks) Playground and Construction team will begin updating two neighborhood parks, Community Park and Willow Park, with unique attractions, greenspace, active and passive recreation areas and updated play features. Construction on these parks will begin in late April and end in the summer.
Nestled within a neighborhood, Community Park, 925 Grand Canyon Park, Hoffman Estates, is one of the original park locations acquired by the Park District, almost 50 years ago. "This park is the heart of the surrounding neighborhood" stated Dustin Hugen, Director of Parks, Planning and Maintenance for Hoffman Estates Park District. "When we set out to re-develop this park we wanted to make sure that we provided what the neighborhood wanted. We listened to their needs and concerns and developed our park plan from their feedback."
HEParks works in partnership with the surrounding community before beginning any playground or major park renovations. Park neighbors attended a planning meeting in the early phases of development, and their feedback was incorporated into park plans. "We are excited for the features offered in the new playgrounds. The surrounding neighborhoods were involved in the development and planning. These are truly neighborhood parks" said Hugen.
Community Park construction will take place in two phases beginning. Phase one will include a complete reworking of the splash pad including moving the spray pad to a new location away from the street, doubling its size and adding more spray features. Surrounding the splash pad will be privacy and safety landscaping. The splash pad will be ready for residents this summer. The second phase of construction involves converting existing features to an area with basketball courts, asphalt games and open green space. Phase two also includes a complete reimagining of the playground structures. The new playground will combine the tot and advanced play structures into one play area. Included in the plans is the District's first arch swing which allows four people to swing together on one large swing.
Construction at Willow Park, located north of the Northwest Tollway at 905 Norman Drive, is receiving a different type of playground. The new playground contains exciting climbing and play structures, sensory panels and the district's first tandem swing. This swing allows an adult and child to swing facing each other. To fulfil resident's requests, HEParks is converting an unused paved pad to a passive recreation refuge with trees, benches and grass. A new turf path will link the picnic pavilion and the playground. The current basketball court will be relined to include basketball, foursquare and hopscotch markings.
Always committed to providing the best amenities to their residents, HEParks planners made sure that the new playgrounds at Community and Willow Parks contain each of the recommended six key play elements. These elements help children reach moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity. The six elements of play include balancing, spinning, brachiating, sliding, climbing and swinging.
Funding for these park improvements came through responsible financial planning and Illinois Park and Recreation Association Gametime grants. Because the average life expectancy of a playground in Illinois is 20 years, the Park District has a scheduled replacement plan for each playground. Willow Park and Community Park were both scheduled for replacement in 2019. Wanting to give these community parks more, HEParks applied for and received grants that allowed the district to increase the size and number of features at the Community Park Splash Pad and include the turf and sensory panels at Willow Park.
Also helping the construction budget are cost-saving measures implemented by the Parks, Planning and Maintenance Department. "We have excellent staff who can complete work that in the past we had to contract" stated Hugen. "Our team can remove old structures, grade the site and create the foundations for the new parks at a fraction of the cost. Those cost savings go directly into providing better playground structures for the community."
You can follow the construction of Community and Willow Parks at HEParks.org/ParkProjects.
Hoffman Estates Park District provides parks and recreation services to the community of Hoffman Estates, Illinois. With over 70 parks and facilities, there is always a new place to explore and play. Visit HEParks.org for a list of programs, special events and activities for adults, children and families.