Courtesy Park District of Oak Park

While having an indoor community recreation center in Oak Park is still conceptual, a feasibility study targeting the idea remains on schedule for completion by mid-June.

The Park District of Oak Park recently hosted a community open house at Cheney Mansion where three planning strategies for a community recreation center were displayed for the public.

“We had approximately 50 people come through the open house and look at the three different models,” park district Executive Director Jan Arnold said. “Residents went into three different rooms with a design model in each one to get information and ask questions.

“A site hasn’t been identified yet, but we have approximate parcel sizes that we had templates from.”

Essentially the same amenities were displayed in each model but stacked differently depending on the size of the site, which ranged between 106,000 to 117,000 square feet. The amenities shown in each floor plan included three basketball courts, recreation and therapy pools, a walking track, a fitness center, daycare area, community rooms, lounge rooms and several other open spaces.

“All the proposed amenities in the three models are based off community feedback,” Arnold said. “We pulled information from the focus groups, community meetings and questionnaire that were available to our residents. This information really helped the consultants figure out what should go into [the community center].”

Conducting the feasibility study for such a facility was identified in 2014 during the park district’s 10-year comprehensive master planning process.

In January, the architectural firm Sink Combs Dethlefs was hired as a consultant for the feasibility study by the park district board based on the recommendation of a joint task force, which includes one staff member and one elected official from each of Oak Park’s six governmental bodies.

The task force held its final meeting regarding the feasibility study on April 28.

Feasibility consultants Lindsey Peckinpaugh, Jeff King and Ben Ahring are expected to present a draft of the feasibility study at the park board meeting May 19, and the final feasibility study report is scheduled to be on the agenda for the park board’s meeting on June 16.

“If a plan moves forward to have a community center, we’ll have additional questions to ask,” Arnold said. “We’ll have to determine the cost, location and funding of a community center.

“Everyone had a favorable reaction [at the open house]. It was really amazing in terms of positive feedback from residents wanting this type of facility. It could really be a melting pot for the community where people of all ages come together.”

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Marty Farmer

The Illinois Press Association recently honored Marty with the 1st & 2nd Place Awards for Best Sports Feature for his article He's in an Oak Park state of mind: Former OPRF star Iman Shumpert returns...

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