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Oak Lawn parks in line for upgrades

Updated: April 15, 2013 6:36AM



Oak Lawn’s Memorial Park was more commonly known as Rocket Slide Park many years ago, when a slide that resembled a rocket ship was the park’s central attraction.

The slide was removed decades ago, but a bigger and better rocket slide is part of the renovation of Memorial Park, 102nd Street and Major Avenue, which is scheduled for completion this summer, park district director Maddie Kelly said.

Renovation of the nine-acre park also includes splash pads at Memorial Children’s Pool, new paths and landscaping around the pond, Kelly said.

“We’re doing a lot,” Kelly said. “We’re still working on Memorial.”

The park district has received $4 million in state grants to pay for the work and upgrades to other parks and facilities such as the Community Pavilion and the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge.

The park district held a February meeting to get resident input on the design of a new park on the east side of the village as well as the renovation of an existing park on the west side.

Plans call for construction of a new park at 52nd Avenue and 89th Street, near the old Brandt School. The park is to be built on a former residential lot the district bought a few years ago.

The three-acre site is described as a passive park that will feature a fountain, gardens and benches designed for “sitting and enjoying nature,” Kelly said. The site is ideal for a park because of the mature trees that surround the property, she said.

The cost of the new park is estimated at $300,000, and work should be completed by midsummer, Kelly said.

Kelly said adding park space in Oak Lawn is important.

“We’re park-deprived in Oak Lawn,” she said.

The district also has plans to renovate Worthbrook Park, a nine-acre spot at 89th Street and Ridgeland Avenue.

The $400,000 renovation includes replacing both playgrounds and upgrading the skate park. The district plans to apply for a grant to fund the work.

The park was last renovated in 2003 when the skate park was built on the site of little-used tennis courts, and a picnic shelter, path, fencing and sand volleyball court were installed.

Work at the Community Pavilion, 9401 S. Oak Park Ave., which includes the addition of a second gym, is well under way and is scheduled to be completed this summer, Kelly said.

The park district recently completed work on a small playground at 109th Street and Laramie Avenue as part of a broader project to improve the Wolfe Wildlife Refuge.

A larger park at 110th Street and Lavergne Avenue, dubbed “Big Wolfe” by the park district, also was completed late last year. The nature-themed playground is supported by a state grant.



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