Capital Projects & Improvements

The Wheaton Park District continues to work to improve your parks. Listed below are projects that are 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.

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Projects Currently in Planning or Construction

Central Park Improvements

The Wheaton Park District has been working to create a new Central Athletic Complex. This area will be highlighted by the Gateway Park, a garden entrance to downtown Wheaton. The area north of the new gardens will feature three baseball/softball fields and two multi-purpose fields. The fields will be encircled with a jogging path. Two ice rink pads were constructed adjacent to the new fields on the east side of the Central Athletic Complex. The ball fields were opened for use in summer 2016 and we commemorated the ice rinks with a ribbon cutting on January 14, 2017.. The park district is also working with Western DuPage Special Recreation Association to add an adult day program (Rec and Roll) at the Central Athletic Complex. Staff has developed a concept plan that would utilize a section of the building that is not currently being used.Several grants helped make these projects possible including funding through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Click to see plan.

Cosley Animal Welcome Center

As part of the American Zoo and Aquarium accreditation process, the park district is working with Kmiecik Architects to plan and construct the Animal Welcome Center as part of the Cosley Zoo. The facility will allow us to safely bring animals into the zoo after a short quarantine period that ensures they are healthy. It will be located on the east side of Gary Avenue, adjacent to the staff parking lot. The existing house/office is currently decommissioned and planned for demolition. The plan is to utilize the foundation of the former building during construction. Click to see the plan.

Memorial Park Master Plan

The park district has hired the design firm Kimley Horn to create a new master plan for Memorial Park. The plan includes an improved parking lot, upgraded bandshell with improved acoustics, improved restroom and concession building, a newly renovated veteran’s memorial, and enhanced pedestrian connections to downtown Wheaton. The overall plan will enhance Memorial Park and continue to supports arts & culture, provide downtown open space, and promote historical integrity.

Initial stakeholder meetings were held in June to gather feedback on what the community would like to see. Additional meetings will be scheduled as the plan progresses. Comments are welcome throughout the process. To share your thoughts, click here.

Exhibits from Stakeholder Meeting:
Concept Plan (PDF), Bandshell (PDF), Context Map (PDF), Existing Conditions (PDF), Historical Record (PDF), Landscape (PDF), War Memorial (PDF)

Northside Park Fitness Equipment

The park district recently re-engaged the Friends of Northside Park group that provided vital feedback during the renovations over the past several years. One of the remaining projects was to replace the aging vita course equipment. Initial feedback provided direction to locate the equipment in a centralized area rather than dispersed throughout the park. It was suggested to locate it near the playground equipment so parents and caregivers could get some exercise, while the kids play. We recently received a grant to assist in this project and hope to have it complete in early 2017.

Northside Park Monument Restoration

Northside Park was originally constructed in the 1920s and 1930s and there are several historic structures throughout the park. Some of these structures include a World War I memorial and boathouse that are in need of renovations. The obelisk at the entrance of Northside Park is a memorial monument listing the names of 500 Wheaton citizens who fought in WWI on bronze plaques that can be found on the east and west elevations. Marion Inc. has been hired by the Wheaton Park District to improve the condition through restoration repairs.

Lincoln Marsh Boardwalk

Two new sections of boardwalk were installed at the Lincoln Marsh a few years ago to allow better access to the open water for programs and patrons. The funds for these improvements came from the Friends of Lincoln Marsh and a grant through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. After receiving some feedback on these boardwalks, we have decided to reduce their length and utilize spare sections to replace some of the existing older boardwalk elsewhere in the marsh.

Prairie Path Restoration

The emerald ash borer was discovered near Wheaton in 2007. Since this highly destructive beetle has been identified, nearly all ash trees have been affected. During this past winter, the conservation staff has removed over 50 dead ash trees from Prairie Path Park. As part of the restoration, staff will replant new native trees from our nursery at Seven Gables Park along with native seed mixes and woodland flowers. Click to see plan.

Recently Completed

District Wide Asphalt Improvements

In 2011, park district staff inventoried approximately 1.8 million square feet of pavement throughout the district and developed an annual budget for replacement over a 20 year period. Each year projects are assessed to replace the highest priorities. In the spring of 2016, work was done to replace the Rice Pool “Drop Off” lane, install speed tables in the Community Center parking lot, replace the upper parking lot at the Central Athletic Complex, replace the Central Park paths west of Main Street and portions of the Arrowhead Golf Course cart paths. Fall 2016 projects included replacing the asphalt paths at Graf Park along with installation of Porous Pave surrounding the turf field, as well as replacing the asphalt at Thompson Cul de Sac at Seven Gables Park.

Brighton Park Playground

The Park District recently replaced the playground that was installed in 1997. The playground equipment was selected based on feedback received from neighbors and staff. Playground surfacing was selected for consistency of safety and accessibility. The new playground was opened late summer 2016. Recent feedback about the sand is being evaluated and will likely result in removing or relocating this amenity. Click to see the plan.

DuPage Sensory Garden Playground – Phase I

The park district has partnered with Wheaton Kiwanis, Western DuPage Special Recreation & the Forest Preserve District to create a play area that serves special needs children and is welcoming to everyone. Several significant donations have been received and as a result the first phase of the playground was completed and opened to the public in 2015. Several more phases are anticipated as funding becomes available. Read more…

Elliot Lake Restoration

Located along Gary Avenue just south of the Cosley Zoo and park district administrative offices, Elliot Lake is an important part of the stormwater system in the area as well as a popular fishing location. Over the years, the shoreline has eroded and was in need of restoration. This work began in fall 2014 with improvements to the berm that separates the lake from the Winfield Creek. The project was completed in 2015 with native buffer plantings along the shoreline. Maintenance of the shoreline will continue until it is established in approximately three years.

Future Endeavors

Rathje Park Improvements

The park district is developing 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 will also include replacement of the parking lot. An open house was held in April to provide an opportunity for residents to preview plans and offer feedback. Click to see the plan.

While new improvements will benefit water quality, we are currently and 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

DuPage Sensory Garden Playground – Phases 2 & Beyond

While phase one is already underway, there is a larger vision for this area. The partners for this project are busy raising funds for the next phases of construction. If you would like to learn more or become involved:  Read more…

Rice Pool Improvements

The pool at the Community Center was constructed in 1988 and lacks the amenities that are desired by our visitors. Some individual high priority improvements include: 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.

Seven Gables Path Improvements

Seven Gables Park is the hub for the park district’s soccer programs and a host of other sports such as youth baseball, softball, lacrosse, and tennis. Together these amenities make Seven Gables a destination park within the community. Since the park is heavily utilized, the park district has recently engaged a civil engineering firm to look at improving pedestrian circulation within the park by separating it from vehicle circulation. The park district is also seeking firms to conduct a traffic study to measure the impact that park activities have on the neighborhoods surrounding the park.


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. To share your ideas, please contact us >