The playground behind the Hoeward Mohr Community Center is seen on Saturday, April 30, 2022, in Forest Park, Ill. | ALEX ROGALS/Staff Photographer

Forest Park’s village council unanimously approved a recent contract to expand and clean up village water reservoirs. Simultaneously, the council wants to see what it might need to do to ensure that potential improvements to the Howard Mohr Community Center playground, 7640 Jackson Blvd., won’t interfere with the west reservoir underneath. 

Forest Park has two reservoirs where the village stores water it receives from the City of Chicago. The one under the playground holds a million gallons. The one under the Hannah Avenue pump station holds approximately 350,000 gallons, but it has the capacity to hold 1 million as well. 

The reservoirs need to be inspected and cleaned of cerement every five years. What makes this year’s inspection different is that the village is looking into upgrading the community center playground equipment and repaving the playground surfaces. The village wants to see if they would need to do anything to the reservoir if the resurfacing proceeds as planned.

Mayor Rory Hoskins told the Review in February that he wants to update the playground that has been at the community center since the 1980s. Community Center Director Karen Dylewski told the Review that the playground isn’t up to current code, but it’s been grandfathered in. 

Village Administrator Moses Amidei previously told the Review that, in addition to getting the new playground equipment, the village is considering replacing the current wood chip surface  with a more modern rubberized surface, resurfacing the asphalt portion of the playground, and erecting new fencing around the playground area. Hoskins said that fencing was needed given the proximity to a freight railroad line and the Pace bus staging area north of the Forest Park Blue Line el station. At the time, he estimated that it would cost “at least $200,000.”

In the memo to the village council, village staff said that the inspection would “help determine if additional construction requirements will be applicable should pavement improvements take place at the Community Center in the future.”

Only two contractors bid for the project, and only Liquid Engineering Corporation of Billings, Montana, submitted a bid below the budgeted $20,000, bidding $9,275. 

The village council accepted Liquid Engineering’s bid unanimously and without comment.

According to the memo, the reservoir work is expected to be completed during June or July. The project timeline for the playground hasn’t been set yet, and it isn’t expected to kick off until Amidei presents the final cost estimate to the council.