Oak Park gets $1.6 million grant for Scoville Park redo

By BILL DWYER wdwyer@pioneerlocal.com December 16, 2011 1:16PM

The state of Illinois sent the Park District of Oak Park a Merry Christmas greeting Thursday with the announcement of a $1.6 million grant.

The Park and Recreational Facilities Construction Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will allow the park district to renovate all four acres of Scoville Park at Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue.

The $1.6 million will fund 75 percent of the planned Scoville Park renovation work, with the park district footing the balance of $551,000.

The highly visible park, which is adjacent to the Oak Park main library, is frequently referred to as “the village green.”

The Scoville Park master plan was completed in 2010. While improvement plans have been finalized and approved for all of the park district’s 18 parks, the process has previously involved as many as three phases over as long as ten years.

The Scoville Park renovations mark the first time the park district has been able to complete planned improvements in a single phase.

Park District board president Marty Bracco was elated by the development.

“This is incredible. Completing all phases of the park master plan at one time will be a tremendous benefit to our residents, and will breathe new life into the district’s oldest park, which will turn 100 years old in 2012,” Bracco said.

Bracco expressed specific thanks to State Rep. Camille Lilly (D-78) and State Sen. Don Harmon (D-39) for their continued support of the park district at the state level.

Construction on the park improvements is scheduled to begin next August and be completed by spring of 2013.

Among the improvements planned for the park is a “Peace Plaza” that will encircle the recently renovated World War 1 memorial that crowns the park. A permanent stage will be constructed at the southern end of the park near Lake Street, and 104 trees will be planted.

Formal entrances will be constructed at all four corners of the park, “with an emphasis on a renewed main entrance at Oak Park Avenue and Lake Street.”

The tennis courts at the north end of the park will be rebuilt, and a new playground constructed. The public restrooms will be upgraded.

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