Barrie Park, which has been closed since January 1999 due to an extensive environmental cleanup project, is on target to re-open Sept. 10. The re-opening will feature an all-afternoon celebration sponsored by the Park District of Oak Park and the Southeast Oak Park Community Organization.
Park District Executive Director Gary Balling said Friday that restoration of Barrie Park is "95 percent complete," and the only outstanding issues involve caring for fresh sod at the park.
"We got quite a bit of rain, and it helped us to determine what kind of drainage problems we'll have at that park," he said. "There is sod that needs to be replaced."
Though the Barrie Park cleanup and restoration has been plagued with delays, Balling said the park will re-open "for sure" on the planned date. The large fence surrounding the park is expected to come down in the coming weeks.
At the grand opening, access to a few patches of the park may be blocked off to protect sod.
The celebration, titled "Barrie Fest," will begin at 1:45 p.m., when the parks will dedicate a memorial tree to Pat Madden, who served for years as co-chair of the Barrie Park Citizen Advisory Committee.
The district will sponsor a variety of family games, beginning at 2 p.m., and an official re-opening ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. Activities will feature a kickball game, a brownie and cookie bake-off, a community organization and business fair, live music and an "interactive performance" by family entertainer Rick Kelly, according to a district press statement.
The district will offer a free showing of the Peter Pan movie "Hook" at dusk. The park is named for author James Barrie who wrote Peter Pan.
The park, aside from Barrie Center, is entirely re-constructed, and will include an outdoor sport area that can be used for basketball, volleyball, tennis and roller hockey, as well as a new walking path. Programming will resume at Barrie Center in the fall.