Wheaton Park District officials approved approximately $77,000 in bids last Wednesday for new equipment at , which will undergo improvements this summer.
The $77,000 breaks down to $47,474 for new toys, including swings for children ages five to 12; $18,000 for a recreation area and structure for children ages two through five; and no more than $12,000 for miscellaneous new equipment to fit the park’s theme, which has not been determined.
Rob Sperl, park district director of planning, said, “We are in the process of finalizing the design and ordering the equipment. We are anticipating that it will be delivered by late June. The excessive rain this month has really set our schedules back, but we are hopeful we can begin demolition around that time and be able to roll right into construction."
The park district allotted $157,000 for the Briar Patch Park improvements. Board member Phil Luetkehans asked Sperl last Wednesday if, after the $77,000 was spent on equipment, the remaining $80,000 would be enough to complete the park.
Sperl said "yes," and explained that based on the breakdown of the budget and measurements of the park, they will be able to complete the park with the remaining funds.
Typically, playgrounds take about 30 working days to complete, Sperl said. With other projects, special events and weather delays, the project timeline translates to approximately two to three months.
As for the "theme" for the park, Sperl explained that the park district asked the playground manufacturers to develop playgrounds inspired by either a jungle or space design for Briar Patch.
"This is a relatively newer concept that we have been trying for the last few years for our parks and allows the designers to be a little more creative," he said. He added that the park district considers playground design based on neighborhood survey results, budgets and other designs throughout the district, to ensure variety.
For example, the park district rebuilt the playground at with equipment built by kids to look like a backyard fort, Sperl said. The year before that, the playground at was replaced with the theme of "pirate's buried treasure."
A committee of nine staff members then rate the design based on safety, accessibility, quality of materials, durability, manufacturer responsiveness and environmental sustainability.
He compared the vision for Briar Patch Park to Atten Park, which has a sports motif, (on the west side of Wiesbrook Road near Wheaton Warrenville South), or .
Briar Patch Park is located at 1700 Briarcliffe Boulevard, between 22nd Street and Lakecliffe Drive.