Patch in the Parks: Field, Fox and Wenonah Tot Lot
Our progress report for the Park District of Oak Park continues.
Back in 2005, the Park District of Oak Park sought a referendum that raised property taxes in exchange for the promise of more robust park offerings throughout the village.
Six years and more than a dozen master plans later, renovations for many local parks are underway, completed or nearing completion with more in store in the future.
This is the fourth in a series that offers a look at the progress of the work, and we'll add up the totals for how much the renovations have cost. In other words, it's a look at what your money's been paying for the past several years.
Where: 935 Woodbine Avenue at Division Street, four blocks east of Harlem Avenue.
Size: Approximately 3.39 acres.
History: Acquired in 1916, the park is named after children’s author Eugene Field and includes a center originally designed by John S. Van Bergen, who worked for a time with Frank Lloyd Wright at his studio. The center has been significantly modified over the years. Woodbine Avenue between Berkshire Street and Division was vacated by the Village in 1960 to expand the park and connect it to the Horace Mann School grounds.
Features: Office/fieldhouse, restrooms, drinking fountain, rental facilities, two age-appropriate playgrounds, drinking fountains, bicycle racks, splash pad, shelter, bocce court, two baseball fields, a multi-purpose field and seating area with benches and chess tables.
Work Accomplished So Far: The site master plan for this park was completed in May 2006. Phase I work, completed in 2008, included new playground equipment, a bocce court, splash pad, shelter, new walkways, renovated and expanded baseball and soccer fields, a new vehicular drop off near the Center, installation of an irrigation trunk, new benches, drinking fountains, bicycle racks and landscaping. At the Field Center upgrades were completed in 2007, 2008 and 2010 to the roof and restrooms, doors and locks and the fire alarm system.
Cost to Improve So Far: $1,340,814.
Grant funded: Yes. A $399,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources partially funded Phase I improvements for recreational improvements.
What’s Next:In 2013, the Field Center boiler will need upgrading. Phase II site master plan improvements, scheduled for 2014, will result in additional walkways and new irrigation for the sport fields. Cost sharing with District 97 School District is being explored. Estimated costs are $189,000.
Where: 640 S. Oak Park Ave., at Jackson Street, two blocks south of Madison Street.
Size: Approximately 1.54 acres.
History: Acquired in 1922, the park is named after William H. Fox, who served on the Park Board of Commissioners from 1919-1925. 1919-1925. The recreational center was built in 1966.
Features: An office-fieldhouse, restrooms, two age-appropriate playground areas, a splash pad, baseball field, multi-purpose field, drinking fountains, seating with benches and chess tables.
Work Accomplished So Far: The site master plan for Fox Park was completed in January 2007. Phase I improvements at the north end of the park, completed in spring 2009, included new playground equipment, restored splash pad area with added accessibility, a ramp to gain access to the restrooms, a new north entranceway to the center, a walkway all the way around the center, and a renovated entryway plaza on the south side of the center with additional seating. Other improvements included benches, drinking fountains, bicycle racks, landscaping, and lighting. The “sunken area” was brought up to grade in order to accommodate these features and create accessibility. Center improvements, completed in 2008, included making the restrooms ADA accessible, creating both interior and exterior access, upgrading restroom fixtures and ventilation system.
Cost to Improve So Far: $964,168.
Grant funded: No
What’s Next: In 2011, the 1965-generation Fox Center boiler and windows will be replaced. Phase II site master plan improvements, scheduled for 2014, will focus on ball field improvements and fencing. Estimated costs will be $118,000.
Where: Wenonah Avenue and Harrison Street, three blocks east of Harlem Avenue, just north of the Eisenhower Expressway.
History: The playground was acquired in 1962 and is named for the adjacent street.
Features: An age-appropriate playground area, seating with benches and a chess table and a drinking fountain for people and for dogs.
Work Accomplished So Far: A site master plan was created in 2009. Improvements, which were completed in the spring 2010, included replacing playground equipment, installing resilient rubber surfacing, adding new benches, drinking fountain, trash receptacle, walkway, ornamental fencing and landscaping.
Cost to Improve So Far: $172,304.
Grant Funded: No
What’s Next: No new improvements are expected. However, if a tree is removed because of disease, an additional piece of play equipment may be added.