The word got out this time, it seems.
Three weeks after the Park District of Oak Park opened up the planning process for Lindberg Park’s future in an echoing lunchroom with just a handful of people in attendance, the same room was packed with a standing-room-only crowd.
More than 90 people packed the lunchroom at Mann School Wednesday night as the park district’s contractor for the project, Wolff Landscape Architects, broke down the many options for refreshing Lindberg Park at Greenfield and Marion streets.
It is part of the master planning process that the park district is taking on for every park in the village, in an effort to guide updates of the parks and public spending into the future.
Part of that process, said park district Executive Director Gary Balling, is gathering public input into a cohesive plan.
“Part of the process is putting ideas on the table,” Balling said after the meeting. “When you talk about change, it’s difficult for people. The successful plan is going to safeguard the important, existing assets.”
Balling and landscape architect Ted Wolff got plenty of public input last week. More than an hour was spent simply debating parking and traffic issues at Lindberg — an area that the park district has little control over — before moving within the park’s boundaries to discuss things like walking paths, athletic fields and lights.
The rowdy, and sometimes irate, crowd wasn’t much for constructive debate on the park’s future. Instead, much of the commentary early in the meeting focused on maintaining the park as-is.
Balling said he’s OK with the tone of the meeting, though.
“Was the meeting a challenge? Most definitely, but this is probably the first time in many many years where people were asked their opinion on Lindberg Park,” Balling said. “People like the passive feel of the park and they also like the active feel of the park. But there are some problems to be solved here, too.”
At the next community meeting for Lindberg on Nov. 3, Wolff will present drawings that pull together community input into different options for the park.
“We got a lot of stuff out there,” said Wolff landscape architect Paul Blanding. “We’ll regroup with the park district, and figure out where we’re going from here.”