Sycamore Park District will receive $348,300 from the Open Space Land Acquisition and Development program to develop North Grove Crossing neighborhood park, between North Grove and Overland roads in Sycamore, according to a news release from Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Sycamore Park District Executive Director Jonelle Bailey said the project has been in the works since before she took the job in 2020. Before grant funding was sought the district connected with the North Grove Crossing Home Owners Association to determine what locals envisioned as the future of the 2.7 acre space.
“We had a survey,” Bailey said. “We’d gone out to the park and asked the community to come meet us and give us their feedback, and we had a survey online. So we got feedback from the community on what the were looking for in that location, and that’s kind of how we got the final rendering that we have listed online.”
Bids for contractors for North Grove Crossing neighborhood park will go out in fall 2024, Bailey said. Construction could begin early 2025, with a target opening date sometime during 2026.
The new park will have a playground area with swings, a green roofed shelter with Americans with Disabilities Act compliant picnic benches, a cornhole or bags game set, a half basketball court, and an 8-foot wide trail around native savannah prairie foliage.
The future Sycamore park wasn’t the only project to benefit from state funding. Nearly $55 million was awarded to 111 local parks and recreations projects in Illinois, according to the news release.
Bailey said there are three intrinsic reasons park and recreation agencies are essential services for a communities: Economic value, health and environmental benefits and socialization.
“You can be there with your family, with your friends, by yourself, take your animals,” Bailey said. “It’s a place where everybody can get together and connect, and enjoy being outside. It’s one of those things that you want to make sure that people have a place that’s safe, you have a place to play and recreate, and near their home.”