The Downers Grove Park District has received three separate grants to fund park and playground improvements at Constitution Park. Located at 935 Maple Ave., the 5.2-acre site features a neighborhood park and playground, which is adjacent to the district’s Lincoln Center.
Constitution Park currently features a large open space in addition to a playground enjoyed by children ages 2 to 12 including those in the Lincoln Learning Center Preschool and summer camp programs. The newly acquired grants will provide the district with funding to update the playground and add new amenities for visitors of all ages.
In 2023, the Park District received a $175,000 grant from the Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) to offset all costs associated with the purchase and installation of playground equipment and safety surfacing.
The district also received a $425,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Department of Natural Resources, which provides funding assistance to local government agencies for acquisition and/or development of land for public parks and open space.
Most recently, Constitution Park was awarded a GameTime grant as part of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Statewide Healthy Play and Recreation Initiative. The district will receive matching funds from GameTime play equipment manufacturer towards the purchase of new equipment that follows inclusive design principles.
As part of this initiative, the playground will also become a National Demonstration Site for Inclusive Play, which allows park users to provide ongoing feedback related to the design and function of the playground. National Demonstration Sites (NDS) exemplify evidence-based best practices in design and implementation, support health-related initiatives and provide meaningful ways for community stakeholders to gather data about the sites’ impact on the community.
Paul Fyle, Director of Planning and Construction at the Downers Grove Park District, said the goal of the GameTime grant is to provide a fully accessible playground intended for children of all abilities.
“The uniquely designed playground featuring wheelchair-accessible ramps, sensory experiences and more will enhance inclusive play at Constitution Park. In addition, a new walking path and pavilion will bring much-needed amenities for all to enjoy at this site,” Fyle said in a news release.
The Constitution Park renovation will also include a new pathway and the installation of a new pavilion shelter, which will be heavily utilized by summer camps held at the Lincoln Center. Park development concepts were shared with local residents at an open house held in July of 2023.
Park designs will be finalized this fall and the project is anticipated to be completed in late spring 2024, at which time a community celebration will be held. For ongoing updates about the Constitution Park project, please visit dgparks.org.