By Marty Farmer
A community meeting to revisit the site plan and also discuss additional improvements to Mills Park will be held on Wednesday, May 3 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Pleasant Home/Mills Park, 217 S. Home Ave.
With input from the community, the Mills Park initial site plan was developed in 2008 by the landscape architecture, urban design and planning firm Altamanu.
Four years later, almost all of the proposed improvements to the park were completed by Altamanu working in conjunction with the Park District of Oak Park and George's Landscaping as overseers of the project.
The 2012 upgrades included four new entrances on the east, west, north and south sides of the park, a looped interior path system with five interpretive signs, a children's nature discovery area, a seat wall along the Marion Street entrance.
Additionally, the park district planted more than 100 new trees and installed new park lights.
"The only exception [in the 2012 improvements] is the pavilion directly west of Pleasant Home which was a contractual agreement being considered at the time between the Pleasant Home Foundation, the park district and a private vendor," said Diane Stanke, the park district's director of marketing and customer service. "This agreement never came to fruition and is not being considered any longer."
The total cost of the 2012 Mills Park upgrades was $873,000.
According to Stanke, there are no funds currently allocated for improvements to Mills Park in the park district's five-year capital improvement plan. However, the plan is reviewed and updated annually.
"The majority of improvements identified in the initial site plan have been completed," Stanke said. "At the upcoming community meeting, the 2008 site plan will be reviewed as well as the completed park improvements. We will also open the floor for future park enhancements."
For residents unable to attend the community meeting, they can review the meeting presentation, which will be posted the day after the meeting, on May 4, on the park district's planning page at www.pdop.org/about/park-planning-projects.
Residents can also send suggestions for park improvements to Stanke via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"Community input is critical in planning for the future of our parks," Stanke said. "The ideas gathered from this upcoming community meeting will be utilized in developing a plan for the future improvements at Mills Park. We look forward to hearing a variety of ideas from our residents."
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