By Devin Rose
District 97 would like the Park District of Oak Park to contribute about $769,000 toward what will be an environmentally-friendly artificial turf field at Irving Elementary School, the executive director told the park board Thursday.
Jan Arnold said she recently met with D97 staff and the Irving PTO, the group that is organizing the project to replace the 80,000-square-foot blacktop. D97 said at first they wanted the park district to cover the total cost of $911,000 for the turf field, which came down to $861,000 because of a gift the PTO had received, Arnold said.
Then D97 Supt. Al Roberts agreed that the school district should cover the $92,000 cost of asphalt removal, which brought the price down to $769,000. Arnold said Roberts was also supportive of the park district paying over a number of years, which park board members had suggested at a previous meeting.
Arnold said the park district could consider the turf field as an alternate bid for Ridgeland Common, which they will bid out in February. Both bids at once could mean a lower price, she said. But the uncertainty of total costs of the projects at 25 Lake St. and Ridgeland Common are preventing the board from committing a firm amount.
There's also a possibility of a turf field at Ridgeland Common, but that remains undecided.
"The other side of this is the usage agreement," said Commissioner Marty Bracco. "It's almost like we're buying a field." Arnold said the PTO was supportive of park district programs using a field after school, while Irving students could use it during school time.
Board President Christine Graves said she'd like to find out what the park district's other projects will cost before committing any money.
D97 has said they will pay $500,000 toward the cost of the Irving playground.