The city of Morris and the Grundy County Chamber of Commerce broke ground on the $600,000 Goodwill Park project Friday morning, kicking off construction on the first of several park renovations.
Mayor Chris Brown said this work is the start of something special that the city has worked hard on, and Goodwill Park seemed like a good place to start. This year is the 75th anniversary of the park, as it was built in June 1948.
“What we’re doing here today is what we’ve been working on for the last year and a half,” Brown said. “People are going see our plans come to fruition very shortly here in the spring.”
The updated park will include new baseball diamonds and a playground, along with shelters and more.
Brown said this project wouldn’t be possible without donations, such as the $50,000 from Ken and Joan Sereno and $30,000 from the Jason Clearwater Fund. He said the Clearwater fund has been active around Morris, and they’ve also gotten scoreboards for the new Goodwill Park ball diamonds.
“We won’t be saying ‘who’s winning, guys?’ over here,” Brown said, joking. “And the kids asking who won won’t have to have their parents lie to them anymore.”
Brown said this is all part of improving the quality of life for the city of Morris, and there’s still more coming. Work on West Side Park on Dupont Avenue will begin next year, and McKinley Park the year after.
The city received an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant for the West Side Park project, and it is applying for a grant to help fund the McKinley Park project, although Brown said the projects will be going through either way.
The McKinley Park project is expected to cost between $500,000 and $600,000 while the West Side Park project will cost $1.2 million, although half of that will be covered by the OSLAD grant.