Commissioners take first step toward Homewood Estates Park redesign

The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District is planning for major improvements at the Homewood Estates Park, and hoping a state grant will pay half the cost.
  Homewood Estates Park 
  could get a facelift if the 
  H-F Park District succeeds 
  in getting a grant it's 
(Eric Crump/H-F 
At its meeting on Tuesday, July 2, park commissioners agreed to hire Upland Design for $11,750 to recreate the 15-acre park with walking paths, new play equipment and a possible shelter. The firm would help with the $400,000 Open Space Land And Development (OSLAD) grant application. 
Debbie Kopas, parks executive director, told commissioners grant reviewers are looking for a well-crafted application for a shovel-ready project.
H-F Park District would match the grant with a $400,000 allocation. The park district doesn’t have the money on-hand, but Kopas said commissioners could budget for it over several years. 
Homewood Estates Park, at 18200 California Ave., is the next big park due for a playground equipment update, and staff has talked about putting agility equipment there, Kopas said.
OSLAD grants earn points based on how much people can use the park. The park has baseball fields and play equipment. Points would be added to the grant score by adding a shelter or walking trails, Kopas explained.
Coming up with ways to spend $800,000 won’t be hard. For example, residents have asked for a full basketball court in a park, and in the Homewood Estates redesign a space could be added for that, she said. 
Kopas said residents and park staff will be asked for input as the project moves forward.
The board also reviewed results of a parks survey. The number one request from residents was more walking trails, which could be added to Homewood Estates.
The location of the park, just north of the H-F Racquet and Fitness Club, 2920 W 183rd St., also makes it a prime location to be an addition for activities at the club. 
Currently, Homewood Estates Park is considered a neighborhood park. A berm separates the park from the racquet club parking lot.
Commissioners said long-range planning should recognize that some of that park space could help make the racquet club more of a community center.
“This should enhance that overall image of the racquet and fitness club,” said Commissioner Brent Bachus.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources OSLAD grants are funded through a percentage of the state’s real estate transfer tax.
The park district was last awarded an OSLAD grant when it removed the Dolphin Lake pool and redesigned the area for a park and The Clubhouse meeting space.

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