Support builds for new Elmhurst park site

Nearly two dozen Elmhurst residents made suggestions, asked questions and expressed concerns Thursday night about a 3.4-acre site the park district plans to buy at OS761 Old York Road.

The property, which once housed a trailer park, has been vacant for about a decade. It will cost roughly $1.55 million and be paid for by the city. A closing date tentatively has been set for September.

Chris Ashby, who has three children, attended Thursday’s public hearing on the proposal and said he relishes the idea of having a nearby park.

“We were thrilled to hear a park was going in there,” Ashby said.

He said his family hopes the district can install an ice skating or hockey rink, basketball and tennis courts, and monkey bars.

Park District Executive Director James Rogers expressed enthusiasm for many of the ideas he heard.

“I’ve been to a lot of these meetings,” he said. “They’re never more fun than when kids bring their ideas.”

Rogers said the district’s initial plans for the site call for minimal building and lighting.

“The intention is to do something outdoors with a community type of feel,” he said.

As of now, though, he said there are no firm plans, budgets, or timetables for developing the park.

“This is not going to happen tomorrow,” he said.

Resident Stephanie Heffner suggested an outdoor exercise area should be included at the park; Nancy Raimondi asked who would patrol the site; and Denise Izatt asked how a possible dog park might be regulated.

Izatt said she doesn’t like the idea of walking trails at the park because people don’t want to drive to go walking.

“Driving to a walking path is counterintuitive,” she said.

The district also has purchased a second, smaller property at 270 N. Hampshire Ave abutting the northeast side of East End Park. The district is planning to tear down a house on the site, Rogers told…

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