Keystone Park, River Forest (File)

The wheels are turning on the River Forest Park District’s proposed improvements to Keystone Park after village officials approved sending the planned development project to the Development Review Board.

At the Feb. 28 village board meeting, Lynn Libera, park district board president, and Mike Sletten, park district executive director, presented to village officials plans that include replacing the five tennis courts and four batting cages at the park, located east and west of Keystone Avenue between Lake Street and Central Avenue.

In a memo to the village board, Libera said the age and condition of the tennis courts warrants their replacement. In addition to replacing the tennis courts, plans call for installing new LED lights. She said the new lights would be controlled by three separate switches to eliminate lighting unused courts. All new tennis courts would be lined for pickle ball.

In addition to being replaced, the batting cages will be relocated. The first set of cages would be permanently installed along Central, west of the Keystone Center, centrally located between the two baseball fields. A second set of cages would be a temporary facility east of the synthetic infield with a permeable surface and nets up only during the youth baseball season.   

Other proposed changes include relocating the tennis hitting walls to the east fence on the new south tennis court; relocating two basketball hoops from inside the tennis courts to a dedicated area along Central Avenue; new storm water drainage with a drainage swale along Lake to meet Metropolitan Water Reclamation District requirements; and removing the flagpole, replacing it with a flag mounted on the scoreboard.

Sletten said the basketball hoops and batting cages would not be lighted. He also said park district officials are targeting summer for the construction but acknowledged that depends on availability of materials. 

Village officials were generally receptive to the proposed improvements although removing the flagpole was questioned by Trustee Bob O’Connell and village President Cathy Adduci. 

“Our residents want flagpoles in our parks,” Adduci said. “I’d like you to think about putting up a flagpole.”

Sletten acknowledged that the project would lead to the loss of some trees but promised “whatever we take out, we’ll replace.”

Lissa Scheiner, assistant village administrator, explained in a memo that under the River Forest Zoning Ordinance, no new construction, expansion of any building or addition of any parcel or change of use shall be permitted in a Public, Recreational, Institutional District, except as approved as a planned development. 

“I think it’s good use of the land,” Adduci said.

The next step will take place Thursday, March 3, when park district officials will appear before the Development Review Board. 

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