Park Dist. seeks input on Kasey Meadow

The Hickory Hills Park District is seeking a $700,000 grant that would fund work at Kasey Meadow Park, 8047 W. 91st Place. A public meeting on the matter will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11.

Public meeting next Monday at Cynthia Neal Center

By Laura Bollin

The Hickory Hills Park District will apply for a $700,000 grant, the funds from which would be used to renovate Kasey Meadow Park.

The district, in anticipation of being approve for the grant, is putting together a renovation plan for the park, 8047 W. 91st Place, and is seeking residents’ input about what they would like to see. A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11 at the Cynthia Neal Center at Kasey Meadow. Residents will have the opportunity to tell the district what they envision for the park, and hear about upgrades already planned.

Renovations may include new equipment at the park’s two playgrounds, a new splash pad and the addition of a half-mile walking trail and a fitness station for adults. The district will be applying for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development in July, and will learn if it have received the grant in January 2014.

“I’m excited that we’re looking at a grant, because without it, we would only be able to remove and replace our playground equipment,” said park district Director Jennifer Fullerton. “I’m excited about the walking trail and the fitness station. It is like an outdoor playground geared toward adults. We might have rings, exercise bikes and places to do pull-ups. We haven’t picked out the pieces yet, and are gathering input from residents.”

If the fitness center is installed, it will in at the northwest corner of the park.

The park’s two playgrounds — one for children 2 to 5 years old, and the other for children 5 to 12 years old, were due to be replaced in 2014. The splash pad was scheduled to be replaced in 2017. The playgrounds were renovated in 1999, and the splash pad was installed that year. Without the grant, it will cost the park district $180,000 to remove the current equipment and replace it with new slides, swing sets and tunnels; and bring in new mulch for the playground surface.

“The playgrounds have some pieces that are older, and some sets of stairs have rubber that is coming off,” Fullerton said.

Fullerton hopes the grant will bring more to the park than just new playground equipment.

“We could just replace the two playgrounds, but we wanted to give the community more,” Fullerton said. “We are excited to put in the walking trail, and a possible toddler slide at the splash pad. We will have the opportunity to do a lot more than just replace the playgrounds if we receive the grant.”

If the grant is not received, the park district will renovate the two playgrounds in 2014 and the splash pad in 2017, at a cost of $170,000.

Kasey Meadow Park was originally a 15-acre farm purchased from the Kasey family in 1965. Today it has two playgrounds, a splash pad, two baseball diamonds, a basketball court, two tennis courts, a skate park and a sledding hill.