The project, $558,239 of which is covered by an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant, included the installation of new playground equipment with an ADA compliant, poured-in-place safety surface, another splash pad, a rehabilitated shelter, new games and a game table and benches.
“I’d like to thank (Mayor Dan Aussem) and the City Council, the Playground and Recreation Board for their hard work and financial support, and last but not least, state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) and State Rep. Lance Yednock (D-Ottawa) for their support for the OSLAD grant that made this face lift possible,” Commissioner Marla Pearson said.
Pearson said the city purchased Thornton Park in February 2015 from the Edmund B. Thornton Foundation, which owned and operated the park previously.
The city applied for the grant that allowed the project to move forward in 2019 to support its redevelopment plan, and ideas for renovations the park would receive came from surveys collected at an open house where the public was encouraged to share suggestions.
“This is the third playground we’ve built in the last three years along with Phase 2 of the PIP Inclusive Playground at Lincoln Douglas Park and the Eastside Park,” Pearson said.
While the ribbon is cut and the public is welcome to enjoy the park, some construction still is taking place and will be finished by this fall: Two new pickleball courts are coming to the park along with repaved and painted tennis courts. A disc golf course also will be installed at the park.