Short to-do list left for new Roos Rec Center

Staff will soon plant a "sensory garden" outside the fitness center

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By Nona Tepper

All that's left to be done are odds and ends at the soon-to-be-revealed Roos Recreation Center, which opens to the public on May 26. 

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on grand opening day, a magician, face-painters, and more will be on hand so curious community members can come in and take a first look at their new recreation facility, which has been under construction for nearly a year. 

Staff recently took down the temporary fence that surrounded Roos during construction, showing off freshly laid sod, bike racks and fix-it station. 

Once the weather breaks, workers will also plant a sensory garden outside Roos, which will include herbs that people can taste, smell and even hear, as well as a section to attract butterflies. Another soon-to-come attraction is the ninja obstacle course — staff still need to add the final nuts, bolts and make sure no screws are loose before tweens start climbing. 

"We've gone through it a hundred times, but there's no problem with 101 or 103 times to make sure our kids are safe," said Larry Piekarz, executive director of the Park District of Forest Park.    

Signage will also soon be installed at Roos, along with a painting between the two old pillars from the factory that once stood on the site. The painting will tell the story of the site and include a thank-you to the village. 

The gym floor is also near completion and ready for volleyball and basketball players to start bopping. Exercise equipment should also be added to the fitness room in the coming weeks, along with sanitizer stations for users to clean the equipment. The park district's current fitness room will permanently close April 13. 

A vending machine stocked with Gatorade and water has also been installed outside the fitness room, near the entrance of Roos. 

"We didn't want a big Pepsi machine; we wanted something with healthy alternatives," Piekarz said.  

The park district is still accepting applications for the part-time positions to staff Roos; interested applicants should apply at 7501 W. Harrison St.

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com 

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