The long-waited Reiger Park renovations are only a few steps from becoming a reality.

Park District of Forest Park Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on April 20 to approve a series of contracts to put in a new playground, redo the walking paths and add a small soccer field for kids’ games. While the park district originally hoped to finish the renovations in the summer-fall of 2022, there was a delay in getting the $400,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) state grant, which will cover about a third of the project costs. Renovations are scheduled to take place during the summer, with the goal of opening the refreshed park this fall.

Reiger Park, 1526 Circle Ave., is one of four “pocket parks” the park district is leasing from the village of Forest Park for a symbolic $1 a year. As part of the lease, the park district took over the responsibility for maintaining and improving them. It contracted Naperville-based Hitchcock Design Group to develop the design for those improvements.

The design the park district ultimately went with largely follows Option 2 presented during the Aug. 19, 2021 public meeting. Similar to what’s there now, it will have the playground in the northern half and a more open area with a soccer field in the southern half. It adds a water play feature in the middle, close to the west entrance, and a gaga ball pit a little further east. It will include a play mound in the northeast corner, a new shelter near the newly redone playground, and new restroom facilities. It also calls for a small, amphitheater-like stage area in the southwest corner.

The $801,443.09 contract went to Elgin-based Clauss Brothers landscaping company. The park district will spend a total of $348,703.83 on the new playground equipment, shelter and restrooms, and an additional $115,244 on design and engineering fees. Overall, the project will cost $1,265,390.92

The OSLAD grant covers 50% of the project costs or $400,000, whichever is smaller. The rest of the money will come from the park district’s capital funds.

The project budget was originally $881,400. During the April 20 meeting, Park District Executive Director Jackie Iovinelli told the board that the budget was set when they originally applied for the grant in 2021, and the costs have gone up since then.

She told the board the park district would order the new playground equipment “first thing tomorrow” in order to lock in the prices, but the equipment won’t be delivered until Sept. 18.