Passersby who may have speculated that the new sledding hill at Barrie Park looks a bit bigger?#34;and steeper?#34;than its predecessor would be correct, said Park District Executive Director Gary Balling.

The elevation of the former sledding hill, which was removed during the environmental cleanup project, was 48 feet, and the downward slope was set at 14 degrees. The elevation of the new hill is 77 feet, and the slope is now 17.3 degrees.

One factor contributing to the noticeable height increase is also that the “retaining wall,” lining two sides of the new hill, is 24-feet tall, as opposed to the original 13-foot walls.

The new sledding hill, however, is still not quite as steep as Ridgeland Common, Balling said. The incline at Ridgeland is 22 degrees.

According to a park district memo, the incline of a sled hill is in part determined by the “run out zone,” or the flat area at the end of the hill that allows “sledders to come to a stop before they hit a fixed object or enter a street.”

“If the run out zone is short, the hill should be less steep,” concludes the memo analysis. (Unlike Ridgeland Common, Barrie Park is not expected to include the light poles that some Ridgeland sledders seek to avoid.)

One other new feature of the Barrie Park “retaining walls” is also expected to be murals painted facing Lombard and Fillmore. Balling said the sledding hill was designed with such artistic intentions.

The district is planning to meet with the village’s Public Art Advisory Committee on mural ideas. He said the district is hoping to announce how formulating a mural project will be carried out at the park’s grand opening.

“We’re pleased that the commission sees this as a viable project. But we’ve got to work with them to make it happen,” Balling said.

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