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By Marty Farmer
The Park District of Oak Park is hosting the Euclid Square Park grand reopening on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 to 11 a.m.
Oak Park residents and visitors are invited to enjoy the park's new playground, tennis/pickleball courts, walking path, interpretive rain garden, small sled hill for children (similar to sled hill at Field Park) and improvements to landscaping.
"We will have a couple of short speeches followed by refreshments, giveaways and a pickleball demonstration by local players," said Diane Stanke, the park district's director of marketing and customer service. "Euclid Square Park is not one of the park district's most well-known parks, but it is a great destination for all ages.
"Four laps around the beautiful park setting equals one mile, which is quite useful for our community of walkers. Kids are always looking for a new adventure and the new playground offers just that with the new equipment and play hills."
With its wide expanse of green space, Euclid Square Park, 705 W. Fillmore St., is also a good location for pickup games of soccer, baseball, softball or football.
Based on feedback from three public meetings, a master plan was created for Euclid Square Park in 2009. The park improvements were divided into two phases, with the first completed in 2011.
Phase one occurred in 2010 with improved drainage in the outfield/multi-purpose field as well as ballfield upgrades including a new backstop, player and spectator benches and pathway improvements.
Phase two was completed on time this fall at the 2.8-acre park on the south end of Oak Park.
Altamanu Inc. was the landscape architect for the Euclid Square Park renovation and Friedlander Construction Company was the general contractor.
The budget for the Euclid Square Park project was $1,068,329 and the improvements were funded in part by a $400,000 federal Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant. The remaining funds, $668,329, were earmarked in the park district's Capital Improvement Plan.
Since Euclid Square Park opened two weeks ago, the northern end of the park has drawn a lot of usage with the new playground and tennis/pickleball courts.
"The addition of pickleball and improved tennis courts are welcome additions for those who enjoy these recreational pursuits," Stanke said. "The playground was one of the last playgrounds in our parks system to be replaced since the passing of the 2005 Renew Our Parks referendum. It is the only playground with play hills built in using an accessible rubberized surface. These hills are very popular for our tots and youth."
The new playground includes a solid poured-in-place surface in place of the previously used mulch. The poured-in-place surface is ADA accessible and provides a soft and comfortable playing surface.
The tennis courts are also lined for pickleball, which is becoming increasingly popular. Similar to a recent renovation at Maple Park, the tennis courts' colors are blue two-tone with a dark red striping for pickleball. New fencing has been installed around the courts as well. The courts were moved slightly to the west to accommodate a straight sidewalk along Wesley Avenue from the crosswalk.
Oak Park's other tennis/pickleball courts are located at Taylor Park and Maple Park.
"Now that the [phase two] improvements have been completed, the park district has implemented all improvements identified through the community site planning process," Stanke said. "The park district will review the site plan in the fall of this year to identify future improvements to the park."
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