Brookfield will officially cut the ribbon on the newly refurbished Kiwanis Park next month, with an afternoon designed to showcase both the new amenities — like the band shell, volleyball and basketball courts, disc golf course and exercise stations — and those which have always made the park special, such as the oak savanna and access to Salt Creek.
An afternoon’s worth of events is planned for Saturday, Sept. 20 from noon to 5 p.m. and is being held in conjunction with the Brookfield Conservation Commission’s annual Meet the Creek program.
“The overall idea is to showcase the wonderful project out there,” said Village President Kit Ketchmark during an event planning update for the village board on July 28. “The whole park has been transitioned.”
Among the events being planned for the Sept. 20 ribbon-cutting are demonstrations of the new amenities, such as the exercise equipment and disc golf course. The volleyball and basketball courts will be available for use, as will the horseshoe and bean bag courts.
Live music is also anticipated to highlight the large band shell that was constructed as part of the project, though members of the Brookfield Parks and Recreation and Special Events commissions complained to the board that the lack of a concrete date for the event until it was confirmed on July 28 had thrown their efforts at planning for a loop.
The Conservation Commission’s Meet the Creek event will be a large part of the Sept. 20 ribbon-cutting. It will feature animal demonstrations, canoe rides on the river and guided tours through the oak savanna, which was made more accessible to visitors now that new asphalt paths lead almost directly to the area.
There will also be a food vendor at the park pavilion, which will serve as the hub for the day’s events.
While the work has been completed for some time, the park has remained technically off limits, particularly to large groups and functions, as the new turf takes root over areas that were re-sculpted to make room for the physical improvements and to facilitate park drainage.
“It’ll be fully open after Sept. 20,” said Keith Sbiral, Brookfield’s assistant village manager who was village hall’s point person for the project. “Everything is substantially complete already.”
In all, the Kiwanis Park project cost about $560,000 to complete. A little less than half of that total was funded through a $260,300 grant from the federal Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) program. Another $35,000 grant for park infrastructure improvements came via the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The remaining roughly $265,000 was funded by the village.
“The park now more than ever appeals to everyone,” said Ketchmark of Kiwanis Park, which principally had been known as a “baseball” park.