DeKALB – The DeKalb Park District was awarded $507,000 in Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant funding from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to help enhance accessibility of the Hopkins Park playground.
Upland Design Ltd. had been enlisted by the park district to help make replacement of the structure possible.
The park district is really excited for this playground to enhance Hopkins Park for the community. We believe it’s a great opportunity to put a playground there, a brand new playground again and putting it towards a premiere park site.”— John Shea, DeKalb Park District executive director
DeKalb Park District Executive Director John Shea said the park district being awarded state grant funding is a huge deal.
“The park district is really excited for this playground to enhance Hopkins Park for the community,” Shea said. “We believe it’s a great opportunity to put a playground there, a brand new playground again and putting it towards a premiere park site. We’re really excited that we’re able to enhance the playground for the DeKalb community for our current generations and future generations to come.”
Shea said the assistance from the state gives the park district some added flexibility.
“The grant allows us to expand the scope as before we would say here are additional elements we could do at a later date where now we could do the whole project proposal that we had,” he said. “It allows us to do more at one time. Instead of just replacing the bigger structures, now it allows us to add more components to the playground so you maximize that play surface volume for the children’s needs.”
Along with accessible entry ramps to improve accessibility, the replacement playground will feature swings, play structure, benches, climbers, an orbit spinner, ring panel and a cozy dome, among other additions.
The park district anticipates closing off access to the playground beginning in the fall for construction.
Shea said the agency is eying a June 2024 completion date for the Hopkins Park playground replacement project.