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La Grange Park's Memorial Park breaks ground on long-awaited renovations

Published: Friday, March 10, 2017 6:12 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017 9:37 a.m. CDT
(Bill Ackerman for Shaw Media)
Darrell Garrison, president/CEO of Planning Resources Inc., and Karen Boyd, Community Park District of La Grange Park Board of Commissioners president, talk after a groundbreaking ceremony March 3 for Memorial Park improvements.

LA GRANGE PARK – Residents of La Grange Park will soon be able to enjoy many more amenities at a renovated Memorial Park, after years of planning.

The Community Park District of La Grange Park held a groundbreaking ceremony March 3 to kick off the project, which is expected to be completed by the end of June, in time for the village’s 125th birthday celebration July 15 in Memorial Park.

Village President Jim Discipio, Park District Executive Director Aleks Briedis and Park District Board of Commissioners President Karen Boyd were all on hand to celebrate the groundbreaking, along with state Rep. Chris Welch, D-Westchester, and state Sen. Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood.

The upgrades include a new picnic shelter, permanent restrooms, new playground equipment, a splash pad adjacent to the playground, a water and sand play area, and a new gazebo, as well as new outdoor fitness equipment, improvements to the walking trail and a bocce ball court. An area in the northwest corner of the park also will be turned into an open space to host craft shows or farmer’s markets.

Residents will be able to continue to enjoy the baseball fields, volleyball, basketball and tennis courts, and summer concerts this season.

The total cost of the renovations is estimated to be about $1 million.

Briedis said the renovation is part of the Park District’s master plan to provide more amenities to the community. He said residents were asking for upgrades to the park during focus group sessions.

“People have been waiting for years, and I’m excited to upgrade the park for residents of La Grange Park,” he said. “This park is always in use when the weather is nice. People are there walking on the trail, playing tennis and playing in the playground. There’s a big social aspect to the park, too. It gets people out and talking to each other. Kids can play outside and get exercise instead of sitting at home playing video games.”

Briedis said he wasn’t sure the day would ever come when they could break ground at Memorial Park because the Open Space and Development grant money the Park District was awarded in 2014 from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources was frozen due to the state’s budget impasse. The $400,000 grant was released in August, allowing the district to proceed with the renovations.

Boyd said she is “beyond excited” to begin construction on the park, which is located at La Grange Road and Oak Avenue.

“It’s wonderful to provide a renovated park, especially in our 125th year. This is our village’s crown jewel,” she said. “The community will be able to use this park even more now. Families can rent the shelter and have picnics, and I’m hoping to see more people bring their families out to enjoy the park. I’m just so happy to be able to finally pull this off. It’s been a long process, but it’s worth it.”

The park will remain open during the renovations, but areas of construction in the north end and southwest corner of the park, as well as the playground and north parking lot, will be closed. Residents can stay up to date with the progress of the renovations by logging onto the Park District’s website, where they can view the construction from a camera placed at the site.


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