Improvements totaling about $500,000 are coming to Kiwanis Park in Brookfield within the next year, thanks in part to a state grant announced by Gov. Pat Quinn on May 11.
Brookfield will receive $260,300 from the state of Illinois as part of its Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program, which is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and is funded through the real estate transfer tax, which is imposed on the sale of every property in the state.
The rest of the funds for the improvements will come from the village’s general operating fund. The village had budgeted $300,000 in its 2013 budget for the work, which could start as early as this fall and finish up next spring.
Brookfield’s grant was just one of 45 agencies awarded a portion of the $15.3 million in OSLAD grants handed out on May 11. Brookfield in recent years has benefited from OSLAD grants totaling $2 million, which helped pay for acquisition of property for Jaycee/Ehlert Park and for improvements to that parcel and another area of the park.
“It’s a tremendous project and very exciting news,” said Michael Garvey, during his final meeting as village board president.
Brookfield applied for the grant funding last June. The centerpiece of the proposed improvements is a new band shell, stage and graded lawn seating area to replace the small, uncovered platform used for live entertainment at the park.
Other improvements in the village’s application included a basketball court, two volleyball courts, bean bag and horseshoe courts, new walking paths, including some paved trails within the oak savanna, a disc golf course and bio-swale to collect storm water runoff from the commuter parking lot.
The project is the first phase of a larger improvement plan for Kiwanis Park, according to the village’s application. Phase two would include improvements to other areas of the park, such as the playground area.
“I think it’s going to be great,” said Assistant Village Manager Keith Sbiral, who completed the application, based on plans designed by Hitchcock Design Group, which also designed improvements for Ehlert Park, completed in 2007-08 and 2011-12.
“If you walk through the park, there are parts of it that are pretty rough,” Sbiral said. “This is going to be a nice improvement for that park.”
Sbiral said the planning and construction documents for the improvements will be completed over the summer, with the village seeking to award a contract for the work by the fall, so work can begin at that time.
If work can begin in the fall, said Sbiral, then the village can avoid large portions of the park being closed during the summer of 2014. Typically, the park is used for large events like the Battle of the Bands in May and the Fourth of July picnic. The work shouldn’t affect access to ball fields.
“That whole area will have to be fenced off through the construction,” Sbiral said. “We’ll try to keep as much access as possible.”