Central Park receives “Outstanding Park” award

The Central Park Improvement Project included the installation of a 1 million dollar Universal Playground in Oak Brook

The Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) recognized the Oak Brook Park District ‘s Central Park with the 2018 Outstanding Facility & Park Award. The award recognizes public agencies for their exceptional and unique achievements in design and development.

The Oak BrooK Park District receivied the award for renovations included in last year's Central Park Improvement Project. In early 2018, the Oak Brook Park District modified its master plan in response to feedback received from community wide surveys and focus groups. The district cut more than $2 million in planned earthwork for the renovation of its existing ball field complex and developed a new plan that made sweeping improvements to the agency’s flagship park.

Funding from an OSLAD Grant, community donations, and a DuPage County Stormwater Grant allowed the park district to:

• Improve the connectivity and accessibility of Central Park walking paths
• Install a $1 million Universal Playground
• Improve the Salt Creek watershed by replacing a failed gabion weir with a new rock cross-vane water control system at Ginger Creek
• Stabilize 1,500 of eroded shoreline in Ginger Creek with native plantings and regrading
• Improve parking
• Improve the accessibility and safety of the existing ball fields
• Replace old sports lighting with energy efficient LED lights
• Improve the Central Park sled hill

Creative design and the ingenuity of park staff kept the massive project within budget and helped provide maximum recreational value to the park. The expanded and accessible permeable paver lot and bio-swale adjacent to the new playground provided enough compensatory stormwater storage that additional retention ponds were not required.

All the boulders that were unearthed during excavation were re-purposed for use in creating the new rock vane system in Ginger Creek as part of the restoration project at the site of the failed gabion weir. All the spoils generated from the excavation remained on-site to improve the sledding hill.

“We are honored to receive the 2018 IPRA Outstanding Facility and Park Award,” says Oak Brook Park District Executive Director Laure Kosey. According to Kosey, the project made the park’s recreational opportunities more accessible to all people, improved energy efficiency, implemented necessary safety measures and will improve the water quality of the Salt Creek Waterway for generations to come.