Carroll and Andersen first up in parks master planning

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This fall, the Park District of Oak Park will begin drafting master plans for improvements to Carroll and Andersen parks, the first two of 18 plans that will eventually be completed for parks village-wide.

The planning process will include holding public meetings and interviews with focus groups, such as school and sports organizations, said Park District Director Gary Balling. The documents will ultimately address improvements to existing park features and potentially identify new uses for the parks, he said.

After input is gathered, Balling said the consultant drafting the plans?#34;-who has yet to be hired?#34;will present three preliminary concepts to the community. After additional community review, the park board will vote to adopt a plan.

Some of the first issues that will likely be addressed at Carroll and Andersen will be updating the playgrounds. The play area at Andersen is "probably in the worst shape of most of our playgrounds," Balling said.

As it examines parks village-wide as part of its long-range capital improvement program, the district will be considering how to incorporate broader recommendations in its comprehensive plan, completed last year. Based on a community survey, that plan suggested that the district is in need of bike trails, more ballfields and other additional uses, including possibly a dog park.

"We'll be looking at some of the standards of the comprehensive plan as we go through the master planning of parks. That's not to say that [those features] will end up at Carroll and Andersen," he said.

According to a draft timeline presented to the park board Thursday, the planning process may begin as early as Sept. 10, and wrap up in November.

The district has set aside $22,000 to fund a plan for Andersen, and $38,000 for Carroll.

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