At the August 26 meeting of the Elmhurst Park District Board of Commissioners, the Board made exciting progress on Vision 2020 as they unanimously approved a contract to purchase the Redeemer Center property at 123 E. St. Charles Rd. Vision 2020, the District’s strategic and comprehensive master plan, is a road map into the future as the District prepares to celebrate 100 years in 2020.
The decision to purchase the nearly three acre Redeemer property addresses a number of needs expressed by the community, including preserving open space, addressing neighborhoods without parks, as well as a more suitable location for a new adult center. Another benefit is that the property is already tax-exempt therefore it will not come off the tax rolls, which is an added benefit to tax payers.
Park assessments completed in 2016 identified several areas of town known as park deserts where homes are not within walking distance of a park. The Redeemer property neighborhood is in one of those deserts, and residents will benefit from a playground at that site in the future. It also preserves the area as open space for future generations in an already land-locked community.
As staff conducted community input meetings related to a new adult center to replace The Abbey senior center, residents expressed access and parking concerns about the proposed site at 135 Palmer Drive, which the District already owns. Moving the adult center to the Redeemer property addresses those concerns, will enhance offerings, and programming there can serve a wider demographic. It will also allow for the Palmer Drive site to be turned into green space, expanding Glos Park for downtown residents and visitors to enjoy.
“The Redeemer property will be beneficial to the community on many levels, and the Board and staff are excited to continue to engage with residents as we plan for the future of that site,” said Executive Director Jim Rogers.
Demolition of the old medical building at 135 Palmer Drive is slated to take place next year but before that time, the Park District and Elmhurst College have entered into a short-term agreement to allow the college to use the parking lot through December 31, 2019.
Over the past month, the Board has heard presentations on the six projects outlined as part of Vision 2020, including a new indoor sports facility, the expansion or replacement of Wagner Community Center, a new dog park, acquiring more open space, improving the maintenance of parks and park amenities, and a new adult center. The presentations included community feedback, conceptual designs, and operating and financial plans.
The next regular Park Board meeting will be held on Monday, September 9 at 7:00 p.m. at the Park District’s Administrative Office, 375 W. First St. At that time, staff will present funding options to the Board related to the six projects, including a potential referendum, and will also discuss surveying registered voters to gauge the level of support for funding the plan.
For more information about Vision 2020 or to provide feedback on the six projects, please visit vision2020.epd.org.
View presentation slides from the August 26 meeting: