President’s Park Playground Construction to Begin
Based on the results from our recent neighborhood survey, the Wheaton Park District developed a plan to replace the playground and improve the park. From the feedback we received, playground equipment from Gametime was selected. Please see the artist rendering below of the equipment that will be installed.
With the expertise of a civil engineer and careful review by the City of Wheaton, plans were developed to elevate the playground and the sports court. There are certain constraints we are required to work within to ensure that the primary function of the park as a stormwater detention facility will be maintained and continue to hold the appropriate volume of stormwater. For every cubic yard of an area that is filled, a cubic yard of soil must be excavated from elsewhere within the detention area. We will be able to raise the new playground approximately 1.5 feet higher than the old playground. This elevation will help water to move off the play area more quickly after large storm events. It is not feasible for the playground to be elevated fully above high water retention from the largest storm events.
Park improvements will also include all-new paths, a sports court, and a new ballfield backstop.
Demolition of the old playground is to begin this week, weather permitting. It is anticipated that construction will take approximately two months to complete.
If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact Steve Hinchee by email or by phone at 630.510.4976.
Presidents Park Playground Survey Results Summary
President’s Park is budgeted for replacement in 2021. In December, 700 neighbors of President’s Park received a postcard inviting them to complete a survey about their use of the playground, and what type of equipment they would like to see at the park. The survey was also announced on the district’s Facebook page which reached a total of 5,400 people. As a result, 194 surveys were returned providing valuable input.
Presidents Park Playground Survey Results Summary (PDF)
A Message from Rob Sperl, Director of Parks and Planning:
I write today to provide an update concerning the Playground at Presidents Park. The playground is 25 years old and based on its condition, is overdue for replacement. The look and playability of the playground is certainly not up to Wheaton Park District current standards. I would like to apologize for this and provide you with an explanation of how we got behind on the replacement of this playground and outline our intentions for the near future.
The property known as Presidents Park is owned by the City of Wheaton and has a functional purpose as a dry bottom storm water retention facility identified as “Lake A”. In 1978, the City leased the property to the Wheaton Park District to facilitate the creation of a park in a neighborhood that lacked one. ln 1995, the Park District made improvements to the park including a playground, a basketball court, an inline skating area and backstops.
It is apparent that the playground equipment at Presidents Park is old and worn. The routine flooding and occasional vandalism at this park have advanced the age of the equipment and has added to the cost of regular maintenance. The bottom of a retention basin is not an ideal location for playground equipment.
In 2017, we surveyed the neighborhood about whether this playground should remain in its current location or be removed. Most responses favored keeping a playground in that location. As a result, we planned for replacement in 2020.
In July 2019, we began researching the possibility of building the new playground on higher ground outside of the flood zone in the park. As part of our research, we met with the City of Wheaton Engineering Department to get their input. We learned that the City was investigating various options for improving flood protection throughout the City and that Presidents Park was one location under consideration to facilitate that goal. The City of Wheaton Engineering Department then advised us to hold off on any improvements for the following year. Earlier this year, we followed up with the City regarding the status of their stormwater improvement investigations related to Presidents Park and were informed that they were no longer actively investigating or considering any changes to the Presidents Park property related to flood protection.
Looking forward, we have included the replacement of the Presidents Park playground in our 2021 budget proposal at a projected cost of $250,000 which the Park Board has approved in concept. However, because of our previous dialogue with the City regarding possible future flood mitigation projects, we are taking steps to amend our lease agreement with the City of Wheaton to ensure that this investment will be protected. Once we come to an agreement with the City of Wheaton, the Park Board can then approve the playground replacement expenditure and Park District staff can begin the process of designing the new playground. The first step in the design process is to seek public input. You will have the opportunity to provide your opinions on playground design via a survey this winter. Ideally, the new playground will be built in the same location in the Spring of 2021.
We look forward to hearing from you.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-510-4970.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Director of Parks and Planning
email@example.com | 630-510-4970