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Kelly Park Renovations Tabled Due to Price Tag

Park District officials will reexamine the costs of the renovations before proceeding.

Renovations to Kelly Park were delayed after Wheaton Park District officials opted to revisit the matter due to higher than hoped for costs.

Bids for the park renovations totaled $947,217, about 26 percent above the expected price tag of $754,000. Board President Ray Morrill said they plan to see if they can get contractors to lower their prices. The park district received a $377,000 state grant from the Open Space Lands Acquisition Development Grant Program. That would leave the park district with a price tag of nearly $600,000.

The proposed renovations to Kelly Park have been met with resistance from park neighbors. Residents concerned with the Wheaton Park District's plans for renovations to Kelly Park, launched a website, "Friends of Kelly Park" to alert neighbors of concerns for the park and provide insight on how the changes will affect the neighborhood. Park neighbor Jason Christensen told Patch that Kelly Park has become a destination park drawing large numbers of visitors.

Residents are concerned that despite three public meetings that allowed for comments, they have been left out of the renovation plans. Further, concerns include the park's location on a flood plain, the loss of open playing fields and the lack of car parking in a busy area. 

The park district voted to move forward on a plan for the park in the spring of 2010, which will include plans for an indoor "shelter" restroom area, a water spray feature, multi-sport courts, a half court basketball area—which would be used as a skating rink in the winter, and bike parking. 

The park district's original plan for Kelly Park included angled parking along Main Street and the response was a concern that the parking would increase traffic. The park district then proposed a plan that included a parking lot within the park itself, but that was not well received because the plan would reduce green space. 

Park District officials will revisit the renovation plans and are likely to bring them forward over the next two months.

Daniel M. Vallo September 23, 2011 at 12:22 PM
Seems like the Kelly Park renovation was done in haste and above concerns of area residents. Sort of "we know what is best for you"! Whoa lets have some dialog with concerned citizens and proceed slowly. Haste makes waste. Lets watch what position the park board will now take. HMmmmm
Louise September 24, 2011 at 01:25 PM
Thanks for your support Gail and Daniel. To clarify, this issue isn't about having a "bathroom out your window". There has always been a port-a-potty on site. Nor is it about the PD not listening. They listen but just not hear. The issue has been going on for 18 months! This is about overbuilding a perfectly nice and very popular park. The PD seems to be of the "bigger toys at any cost" mentality regarding this park and the plan requires substantial regrading of the open space to accommodate these toys. The plan was ill-conceived from the start and is now way over budget, even before ground has been broken. Time for the PD to be done with it.
Charlotte Eriksen October 20, 2011 at 03:25 AM
thanks for that input Gail
Charlotte Eriksen October 20, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Thanks for commenting, Daniel. Have you voiced these concerns with park district board members and/or staff?
Charlotte Eriksen October 20, 2011 at 03:28 AM
Thanks Louise. Does your opinion change as plans come in under budget? Or do you just not want the bigger toys?

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