News - McHenry County

Towne Park improvements to include new bandshell, playground

Village Board to consider loan to help cover project’s cost

A bridge over Crystal Creek in Towne Park, looking north towards Rt. 31. The Algonquin Historic Commission will be discussing renovations to the historic mineral springs are along the creek as part of potential park renovations that could be finalized as early as June, city planners said.

Improvements to Algonquin’s Towne Park, including a new playground and bandshell, come with an estimated price tag of $4.3 million and could be paid for in part using debt, village officials said.

The master plan for the park, located west of Algonquin Road and south of the Algonquin bypass, was approved by the Village Board at its meeting Tuesday.

Village planners will begin the design engineering phase next, which could take six to nine months with the goal of being shovel-ready on the project by May 2023, Assistant Village Manager Michael Kumbera said.

The cost to upgrade and renovate the park site, including design and engineering, demolition work and new construction, is estimated at $4.3 million, said Steve Konters, senior principal designer with Hitchcock Design Group, while additions to the mineral springs area would cost an additional $309,000.

The mineral springs site, located on the southwest end of the park along Crystal Creek, is a historic water source for both Native Americans in the region and the original settlement of Algonquin. The costs would cover new interpretative signage, a new drinking fountain and new seating overlooking the creek, Konters said.

“What’s important is to preserve character, keep open space, and speak to history,” Konters said of the park proposal.

A concept plan from March 2022 for the overall Towne Park in Algonquin. City planners are hoping to finalize a master plan to renovate the site by June of this year, which will include highlighting portions of the site deemed historic, such as the mineral springs.

Although some revenue from sales tax and development grants will pay for some of the project when it is ready to move forward, village planners would present the Village Board with a debt plan at that time, Village Manager Tim Schloneger said.

However, funding options for the Towne Park plan wouldn’t be determined until later in the fall, when the village’s capital improvement plan is finalized, Kumbera said.

Should bonds be issued, they would not needed a voter referendum for approval and would be repaid through a variety of revenue streams, including sales and telecommunications taxes, as opposed to property tax increases on village residents, Kumbera said.

The park update would include a new playground, which will replace the old one and be an inclusive playground, for kids of all ages and abilities, similar to what was proposed for Emricson Park in Woodstock. Konters said he hopes the playground becomes a “destination.”

The new bandshell would go where the baseball field currently is.

While Towne Park currently hosts artists as part of the village’s summer concert series, the bandshell and stage will be a permanent structure, unlike the temporary stage currently used, Recreation Superintendent Katie Gock said.

The current baseball field is also not properly sized because of flooding concerns, which is why its being repurposed, Gock said.

Konters said the timeline for completing any work was in flux, as once the project is funded it will take at least six months to prepare final designs.