By Thomas Vogel
The Park District of Forest Park is about three months into constructing their new recreational building at Harrison Street and Circle Avenue, and the work is going smoothly, Executive Director Larry Piekarz said Aug. 3.
The park district broke ground on the $6 million project at the beginning of May. As of now, water piping and electric systems are done and workers have begun pouring concrete for the flooring, Piekarz said. The 15,000-square-foot building, years in the making, includes a basketball court, track, fitness center, locker rooms, and multi-use program space.
"So far, everything is on schedule," Piekarz said. "We are kind of just plugging away."
Walls should go up next month.
Heavy rains in the last few weeks, which, in part, delayed a separate water main replacement project on Hannah Avenue, have not significantly affected the rec center construction. Workers did, however, find a small subterranean storage tank shortly after construction began, which delayed the project for a few days. Officials contacted the EPA and the tank was safely removed. Now, Piekarz said, the work is back on track. Previously, the EPA designated the site as toxic and gave a $200,000 grant to help with remediation.
Piekarz said he has not heard any complaints from residents about construction traffic or noise. But one resident did ask if he was planning to put up some bleachers so Forest Parkers could watch the project progress, as he did during demolition of the old Roos furniture company building, which formerly occupied the property.
"I might put maybe a small set of bleachers," Piekarz said. "The little kids just love watching the construction trucks and equipment move around."
As reported by the Review at the time, the park district acquired the 25 acre site in 2013 for $499,000.
The Forest Park Village Council approved the construction project in late April and waived about 100,000 in permitting fees.