DeKALB – The leadership at the DeKalb Park District wants the community to get involved in the designing of a new playground at Hopkins Park, 1403 Sycamore Road.
During a meeting held in an open house format Monday, Park District officials invited residents to learn more about the equipment that could be installed next spring. Anyone unable to attend Monday’s meeting and interested in providing feedback is encouraged to complete the park district’s online survey at dekalbparkdistrict.com.
The deadline for submissions is Tuesday.
John Shea, executive director for the DeKalb Park District, said it’s clear that the time is now for the Park District to consider investing in a new playground at Hopkins Park.
“This playground was installed in 2005,” Shea said. “It’s one of our premier parks that we have that everyone comes down to. … The playground, again, it’s just 17 years old, almost being 18 years old. Pieces for the playground are being hard to find [and] to replace.”
The district’s playground equipment is inspected for safety monthly, with replacements slated every 15 to 17 years, officials said. The playground at Hopkins Park is up-to-date with its inspections.
But Shea said one of the slides has been closed off to visitors because there is a damaged piece, and replacement parts can’t be easily obtained because of its age.
“Due to the fact that it’s broken, we went to go find pieces,” Shea said. “Knowing that parts for this playground are being harder to find, and it’s up on our inventory to replace due to the life expectancy, we just want to ensure that we have playground that meets the demands of the public and all elements are open.”
The district is weighing two proposed concepts for a new playground design at Hopkins Park, one of which is similar to the existing structure and another that would feature a giant wooden ship theme.
Shea said the two concepts share some similarities, but where they do differ, it’s in a good way.
“They’re just presented in a different manner,” Shea said. “The two are completely different just to see how the community would prefer. We want to get feedback from the community to ensure that the playground that is designed to replace the existing playground located at Hopkins Park meets the demands of the DeKalb community.”
Shea said both concepts have play areas dedicated for children ages 2 to 5 and another for those ages 5 to 12.
He also said each offers similar components that are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act to encourage children of all abilities to play with one another.
Shea said he was pleased with the turnout at Monday’s meeting.
“People that came out were engaging,” he said. “It was great to see not only parents taking the survey but the children themselves were taking the surveys and saying, ‘I like this slide. I like this component. And I like that.’ That’s the feedback we want. We want to ensure that what we’re going to build will replace the existing playground meets the demands of the public.”