Commissioners take first step toward Homewood Estates Park redesign

Homewood-Flossmoor Park District commissioners agreed Aug. 7 to submit plans for an Open Space Land and Development (OSLAD) grant to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the redesign of Homewood Estates Park.
  An artist's rendering shows
  the proposed design for
  reconfiguring Homewood
  Estates Park. 
(Click on the
  provided image to see an
  expanded view with detail.)

The park district worked with Upland Design to reconfigure the 15-acre park and submit the application. If it is approved, the estimated $585,500 project will be split 50-50 between the grant and the park district. 

Debbie Kopas, parks executive director, said grant reviewers are looking for a well-crafted application for a shovel-ready project. 

The H-F Park District application shows Homewood Estates Park, 18200 California Ave., would meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. It would have new walking paths around the park, an upgraded youth soccer field, a new shelter that would replace the portable tent used in summer, a “baggo” area for games, new playground equipment and a redesign making three baseball fields into two.
Park crews could re-grade the ball fields and remove old playground equipment. Kopas said their labor would be considered as $25,000 toward the park district’s share, reducing the local cost to $267,750. The park district doesn’t have the money on-hand, but Kopas told commissioners the cost could be budgeted for over several years.
The park district held two information sessions for residents and got good feedback, Kopas said.  In addition, the park district has letters of support from Homewood Mayor Richard Hofeld and Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun, the H-F Soccer Club, the Dolphin Lake-Homewood Estates Residents Association, Illinois Rep. Will Davis and Sen. Napoleon Harris.
OSLAD grants earn points based on how much people can use the park, the design of the park, the budget for the work and community input. The park has baseball fields and play equipment. Points would be added to the grant score for adding the shelter and walking trails, Kopas explained.
The proposal also fits in with results of a recent parks survey. The number one request from residents was more walking trails, which the redesign for Homewood Estates includes.
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 additional space 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.
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 eliminated the Dolphin Lake Pool and redesigned the area for a park and The Clubhouse meeting space.

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