Aldi demolition makes way for new gymnastics center in Oak Park


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By Devin Rose

Staff Reporter

Demolition began on the former Aldi grocery store at 25 Lake St. on Monday and is expected to be finished by the end of the week.

The effort started just after 9 a.m., when workers began pulling aluminum off the building that will soon be the site of a new gymnastics center. Neil Adams, project manager for the Park District of Oak Park, said the workers had to wait for a truck that took away the aluminum to be recycled before they began punching holes through the wall of bricks.

Adams said they'll be out all this week knocking down the building, but will leave the west wall and parts of the north and south walls until a structural engineer can come take a look. He said workers are being careful not to impact the wall of the adjacent car wash, so the engineer will look at the building's existing footings by the end of the week. The $30,850 demolition bid from Albrecht Enterprises of Des Plaines was approved by the board in March.

Construction on the new building is slated to begin in September and scheduled to be finished by the fall of 2013.

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OP Taxpayer  

Posted: June 26th, 2012 8:49 PM

Across from the current locale is a very busy Dunkin Donuts that I'm sure people from gymnastics patronizes. Oak Park runs on Dunkin!


Posted: June 26th, 2012 5:45 PM

I am thrilled. That building has been vacant and an eyesore for years, plus the PD's gymnastics program is very popular and consistently turns kids away because of space issues. I don't know if they are planning to host meets at this facility, but that would also offer some nice income opportunities.


Posted: June 26th, 2012 4:57 PM

Sorry $8 million dollars, not $8.00. I am not saying that the park district ever needs to pay everything back, because it can't that much I understand. This was a commercial building on the tax roles and when it was occupied it increased our sales tax base. Oh well, I guess the powers that be want to property tax everyone out of oak park.


Posted: June 26th, 2012 4:54 PM

I just looked at the park district offering, online, for spring and summer programs and they have a large number of programs that are not full and a few that were canceled in the spring. It also looks like the going rate is $10.00 per hour of instruction. the project will end up being $8, purchase prince and building the building with no costs for equipping the building, paying more staff and building up keep and to property and sales tax, and you think it will pay back the community?

OP Resident  

Posted: June 26th, 2012 4:32 PM

Gymnastics programs consistently fill and a lot of people don't get in. A bigger space, compared to where they are now, will allow a lot more students to be accommodated, which means more revenue to help pay back the costs assocated with construction.


Posted: June 26th, 2012 3:22 PM

The millions spent by the PD and the brick streets fetish by VOP, etc. - is a symptom of why people chose to be on boards - so that they can spend a lot of other peoples' money to benefit a few - and make themselves feel great while doing it! They LOVE the power/control of doing stuff like this and since they don't have to pay for it....unlike in their real lives - where lots of stuff has to get done, but since it is their own money - it doesn't! True almost everywhere, but particularly in OP!

vote them out  

Posted: June 26th, 2012 2:03 PM

Fools logic: what has the old gymnastics center done to revitalize Madison in it's current location? the answer is simple, nothing! And using it "was an ugly building" is not cause for development. The village should fine the owners until they clean up the building, just like they do to home owners. This is a single use facility and the users should pay for the building in their fees.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 26th, 2012 10:27 AM

Thanks, OP Resident. $30K does seem to be a reasonable price. A park district official previously posted that there was an open bid process. The gymnastics center is going to bring new energy to the area and should be a great success.

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2012 10:12 AM

Jim C...all one needs to do is visit the PD website for lots of great info on the history of this project. I found that, to answer your ?, the PD board approved in March the low bid of $ 30,850 to demolish & clear the site. As someone who lives in east Central OP, that's a mere pittance to rid the area of a long-time eye sore. Anything new there will be great, & the gym will tie into the park too. Its a great addition to a too long neglected area. Now maybe a nicer store emerges across Lake St

Done from Oak Park  

Posted: June 26th, 2012 9:11 AM

I've said it before and I'll say it again - keep on eye on the "Oak Park Park District" line on your tax bill. See what it was the first year it became a line - I believe it might have been 2008 when the PD left the Village line - and follow the growth through this upcoming bill. Watch it grow! The blank check we gave them back then for park improvements has become bigger and bigger and will continue to grow after this project and Ridgeland Commons is finally decided on.


Posted: June 26th, 2012 9:01 AM

Yes, it will be a very nice facility. But, for non-gymnastic families Jim Coughlin is correct, what is the tab for the PD? Will the facility be self-supporting? As for J. Martin Konecki, what retail in the Lake/Austin area will benefit from the gymnast traffic? Blue Ribbon is a great butcher shop (as featured in the WJ a few months ago), but about the only real benefit is the proximity to West Suburban Hospital orthopedic wing.

Jim Coughlin  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 10:55 PM

What's the tab? How much is the Park District spending to demolish and clear away the rubble?

Aaron Stigger from Chicago, Illinois  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 10:33 PM

Oh why oh why was the sound not deleted from this video. Wind!

Cosmic from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 7:18 PM

Amazing video - that was really fun to watch.

J.Martin Konecki  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 5:09 PM

Talk about a win win for our community. The local retail will probably grow and profit. The neighborhood benefits with a top notch neighbor. The community benefits with a top notch facility that will meet demands of current wait lists and create new demand for Park District programs. Looking forward to the new building.

Q from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 4:58 PM

ormer Gymnastics parent from Oak Park, and the kids will get a good education from the locals who will be in the area.

Former Gymnastics parent from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 4:54 PM

What a great day for our village, and the future kids who will have a top notch, cost effective facility for gymnastics. Our kids got a great deal out of the program, and now even more can take advantage. Congratulations, Park District, for having the vision to build this new center!

OP Resident # 545 from Oak Park  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 4:50 PM

vote them out...I suppose you prefer a dilapidated empty store dragging down the neighborhood? Have you ever been east of Ridgeland? Seen the existing gymnastics space? You don't like the idea of popular programs that make $$ having decent facilities? You clearly have no idea of the process the PD has gone through with their parks & buildings over the years. Get a clue & stop being so selfish.

vote them out  

Posted: June 25th, 2012 3:51 PM

I hope that every park board member is voted out when the chance comes. The cost had better be placed on the users of the facility and not on the citizens of Oak Park. What a waste of money.

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