The only thing more frightening than the scary hayride planned for the Haunted Hills of Palos event later this month at Pleasure Lake may have been the path for the ride to traverse.
The trail around Pleasure Lake, which is the route for the hayride, has become more of a mud trail – especially when it rains – as the wood chips that cover the trail have eroded from the cold and wet winter and rainy spring leaving only dirt and grass, city officials said last week.
The Haunted Hills of Palos, which is sponsored by the city’s community resource and recreation department, is to take place the weekend of Oct. 28-29, and figures to draw a large crowd as in addition to the hayride attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of concessions including pizza and s’mores, according to Kristin Violante, the city’s commissioner of community resources and recreation.
A muddy trail would not have made for much fun at the event, which runs from 6-9 p.m. on both days, Violante said.
Enter the faculty and staff at Moraine Valley Community College, who, as part of the college’s Community Learning Day, spent more than three hours on Oct. 4 placing 75 cubic yards of wood chips around the trail at the lake, 10801 S. Roberts Road.
“It was awesome timing because we have the Halloween event coming up there and without (the staff of MVCC) there is no way we could have gotten it prepared,” Violante said after the city council last Thursday. “Not only does the hayride go on the trail but people have to walk to get on (the ride) and if the path wasn’t paved with the wood chips and it rained it would have been all muddy. Now the wagons have a nice surface and the people walking to the wagons have a nice surface.”
Tickets for the hay ride are $5 for adults and $3 for those under 10 years old. From 6-7 p.m. on both nights a “non-scary” hayride will take place.
Ald. Ricky Moore (4th Ward) is a member of the Moraine Valley Community College faculty and was one of the volunteers working at Pleasure Lake. Moore said he was more than pleased with the results.
“It looks nice because it was pretty much dirt when we started,” he said. “I was about 10 minutes late to get back to the bus (to return to Moraine Valley after we were done working) and I just told people I got lost because the walking trail was covered by wood chips. It really does look so much better.
“Pleasure Lake is probably one of the best kept secrets in Palos Hills, and I’d say we enhanced the beauty and safety there.”
Moore said Community Learning Day organizers approached Palos Hills Mayor Gerald Bennett about different tasks that could be completed in town and after Bennett met with Public Works Commissioner Dave Weakley, the project at Pleasure Lake was decided upon. MVCC staff also volunteered their time at The Little Red Schoolhouse, Sertoma Centre and at local food pantries and animal shelters, Moore said.
The mulch used to cover the trail came from branches collected by the city’s chipper service, Moore said. The city’s public works department collects branches from single-family homes at various times throughout the year.
“It’s nice because we kind of recycle,” Moore said of placing the chips at Pleasure Lake.
The work completed by the MVCC staff received praise from Ald. Mark Brachman (2nd Ward) during the meeting.
“The trail is now in tip-top shape,” he said.
Moore expects he and his co-workers to return to Pleasure Lake in 2017 to once again enhance the trail.
“As they say ‘If the good Lord’s willing and the creeks don’t rise,’ we will be there next year,” Moore said.