With $75,000 included in this year’s budget for park improvements, village commissioners said they want to be sure the money is spent wisely and have hired a design firm to help guide those decisions.
At a July 23 village council meeting, commissioners opted to shelve a set of landscaping proposals meant to improve the aesthetics of a small park at the corner of Circle Avenue and Randolph Street. That decision was encouraged in part by the Recreation Board, an advisory group that oversees the municipal parks, after its members questioned whether the landscaping enhancements would detract from the park’s safety.
Board member Jerry Webster noted that the landscaping company, McAdams Landscaping of Forest Park, may not have much experience with playground design and said the company’s proposal raised several glaring safety concerns.
Mayor Anthony Calderone encouraged commissioners to hire DLK Civic Design for $2,400. The Chicago company will layout a design for new fencing at the park in response to concerns from community members that the removal of a chain link fence has potentially left children at the park vulnerable to motor vehicle traffic.
“I’d rather do it right than do it fast and wrong,” Commissioner Mark Hosty said in support of the contract.
Commissioner Rory Hoskins asked that while the design process is underway, some kind of temporary fencing be erected at the sight.
In addition to staying safety concerns, commissioners also expect DLK’s design will be applicable when the village begins making improvements at other municipally owned parks. Such uniformity would likely keep maintenance and repair costs down, Calderone speculated, because the village would not have to purchase a variety of different fencing materials.
Once the fencing improvements are complete, DLK has asked to work with the village on other possible upgrades such as gazebo structures. Municipal park facilities are also located at 16th Street and Circle Avenue, Thomas Avenue and Adams Street and on the east and west side of the junction of Lehmer Street and Circle Avenue.