Capital Projects & Improvements
The Wheaton Park District continues to work to improve your parks. View summaries for projects currently in planning or construction phases in addition to recently completed projects.
If you’d like to know more about any of these projects, please contact the Parks and Planning Department at 630-653-5429.
Projects Currently in Planning or Construction
Update April 4, 2019 ——
Summary & Presentation from Memorial Park Plan Meeting held April 2, 2019:
Memorial Park Stakeholders,
Over the last several weeks our team has worked hard to bring this project back into budget. We are still slightly over the $5.1 million initially expected, but we are offsetting this with $465,000 in grants received and allocating some portions of the project to other funding sources. In addition, we will bid the canopy and terrace as alternates to ensure we can stay within our means.
Most importantly we have retained everything in the original program that was developed two years ago. Savings were achieved by a slight reduction in some of the spaces and a simplified design. These are indicated on the revised plans that are listed below. We also revised some of the material selections. For example, rather than cladding surfaces, we are intending to use natural surfaces.
Next Steps – We are required to obtain a Special Use permit from the City of Wheaton. This will be presented at the April 8 city council planning meeting. The primary reason for this permit is that we are moving the Bandshell. Otherwise, all uses are substantially similar to what is existing in the park. In advance of the special use meeting, we would like to meet on Tuesday April 2 at 6pm at the DuPage Historical Museum to discuss the revised plan, our programming intentions and any other thoughts related to the project.
Thank you to all of the stakeholders who have attended our design progress and renovation meetings in November and January.
As we are nearing the completion of design development, we contracted a construction management firm in January to provide an independent estimate of the current project scope. Unfortunately, their estimate substantially exceeded our $5.1 million construction budget. Our team will be working hard to find ways to bring the project back into budget or consider sources of additional funding to meet the original project goals and what will provide the most impact for park users. We hope to be able to provide these recommendations in April.
To conclude with some good news, we learned recently that the project was awarded a $400,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant. This program provides funding for projects that encourage outdoor recreation. We all know the state financial concerns, but the source of this funding comes from a portion of the real estate transfer tax that is dedicated specifically to this program.
Finally, our construction schedule has been revised (in part due to the above concerns) to start in August. This will allow many of our events such as the municipal band, Music Mondays , and Brewfest to remain at Memorial Park this summer. We are optimistic that this delayed start will not affect the ability to have the park renovations done by June 2020.
Summary & Presentation from Memorial Park Plan Meeting – January 9, 2019
Summary & Presentation from Memorial Park Plan Meeting – November 17, 2018
Historic Memorial Park is the district’s oldest park and has added to our quality of life for nearly 100 years! Close to downtown and close to home, the park is a popular site where many play, enjoy nature, attend music and social events, raise money for charities, and honor our veterans and other loved ones no longer with us. The park is also the hub of the district’s Mary Lubko Center, visited by thousands of active adults annually, and is home to the Wheaton Municipal Band.
In 2016, the district contracted with Kimley Horn, an architectural design firm, to develop concepts for the future of Memorial Park. Kimley Horn then hosted a series of focus groups to gather input from stakeholders including community partners, neighbors of the park, program users, and special event attendees.
From there, Kimley Horn developed conceptual plans for the site, which were presented to the district’s Board of Commissioners at its April 2017 meeting. The concept focuses on enhancing the amphitheater, renovating the veterans memorial, making building modifications to the Mary Lubko Center, and implementing parking improvements.
The Wheaton Park District has been continuing to improve the Central Athletic Complex. Many of the site renovations were completed in 2016 including the plaza for winter ice skating. In January 2018, upgraded batting cages and the WDSRA’s Rec and Roll area were opened. We are now in the planning phases for upgrading the interior lobby. Plans include redoing the floors, enlarging the lobby slightly under the existing canopy to create more space and allow for a front desk at the entrance, building an interior concessions area and updating the restrooms. We are also working on phase two of the entrance garden at the corner of Main Street and Roosevelt Road that welcomes visitors to downtown Wheaton. See the plan below!
The Park District has partnered with Wheaton Kiwanis, Western DuPage Special Recreation, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County and several other local partners to create a play area that serves special needs children and is welcoming to everyone. Phase 1, including the Pony Stables Playground, the Sound and Fragrance gardens and the Central Gathering Area are completed and open to the public. The larger vision for this area includes a play-for-all accessible treehouse for which we are nearing our fundraising goals, allowing us to break ground in 2018.
If you would like to learn more about this project or become involved, please visit playforalldupage.org.
In the summer of 2018, the Wheaton Park District will break ground on a nature play area within the 151-acre Lincoln Marsh Natural Area. The location of the play area is adjacent to the Lincoln Avenue entrance.
Research indicates nature play positively impacts children’s social, emotional, intellectual and physical well-being. The concept of a nature play area, devoid of the typical playground equipment, is that it brings children and their families together to explore, play and learn in an unstructured and natural environment. Nature play areas include elements that encourage self-guided, unstructured play. As the name indicates, many of these elements are natural, such as logs and boulders.
The project is being funded through the ComEd Green Region Grant and Friends of the Lincoln Marsh.
The park district recently completed renovation of a section of the Central Athletic Complex for use by the Western DuPage Special Recreation Association as an adult day program called Rec and Roll. This new facility is focused on providing activities and community for individuals aged 22-55 with intellectual disabilities. Rec and Roll opened for use on January 8, 2018.
The park district recently completed plans to repair the shoreline and improve the quality of the pond at Rathje Park. This park is a popular location for fishing in the summer and ice skating in the winter. The project also included replacement of the parking lot with permeable pavers and a rain garden near the preschool building to collect storm water run-off.
While these improvements will benefit water quality, we will continue to treat for invasive plants and algae growth that has occurred at this pond and others throughout the district. This problem is often more prevalent in the spring due to stratification. More information is available at Lake Stratification and Mixing (PDF)
Park district staff maintains approximately 1.8 million square feet of pavement throughout the district and budgets annually for replacement over a 20 year period. Each year projects are assessed to replace the highest priorities. In the spring of 2017, work was done to replace the northern half of the paths at Atten Park, repair the Park Services Center parking lots, and replace portions of the Arrowhead Golf Course cart paths. Fall 2017 projects included replacing the southern half of the paths at Atten Park, as well as the playground paths at Scottdale Park.
The pool at the Community Center was constructed in 1988 and needs improvements and new amenities that are desired by our visitors. Some improvements include: replacing the aging perimeter fence, play features in the zero depth and children’s area, sand tables, and an aquatic climbing wall. A consulting firm has been hired to create conceptual designs for some of these improvements.
The Park District has a plan to replace aging playgrounds as they reach the end of their designed lifespan. Some playgrounds that may see improvements in coming years include Kelly Park, Hoffman Park, and Hawthorne Junction. Additionally, Presidents Park may see new playground equipment as part of an overhaul of the park master plan to deal with repeated flooding. As always, the playground renovations will rely heavily on feedback received from neighbors and staff and will on consistency of safety and accessibility.
The Wheaton Park District strives to provide quality parks and facilities for our patrons. We welcome your ideas and suggestions. While we may not be able to implement all of these, your input is important to us as we consider projects for the future.