Wood Dale is very fortunate to have a site within its boundaries that allows for the preservation and appreciation of nature. White Oaks Park is an invaluable asset to the community. To further the effort to showcase and improve this site, the Park District has embarked upon a three-phase plan for its redevelopment. This post is to keep you updated as we launch Phase #2.
After the approval of the Comprehensive Community Action Plan in 2015, the planning for White Oaks Park began when landscape architects were hired to prepare a concept plan for the park. Altamanu, a land planning and architecture firm with strong environmental stewardship experience, conducted community planning focus groups in 2016 to gain ideas on what the park re-development should include. Ideas came forth from vested residents including neighbors living near the site, current users of the park (dog area, scout area, trails, etc.), and other stakeholders in the community (police, city, school district, etc.).
Public input and further study of the site laid the foundation for decisions to be made on the re-development. Once a solid and workable plan was determined, the Park District focused its energy on securing funding for the project, which led to the issuance of General Obligation Bonds and the creation of a financial partnership with the City of Wood Dale. The Park District also secured an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development Grant from the State of Illinois.
Phase #1 began in the Spring of 2019 and was completed last fall with the construction of The Woodlands along with some other site improvements on the west side of the park. With Phase #1 completed, the Park District was able to move into Phase #2 and placed the work out to bid earlier this year. The bidding process was successful, and the lowest responsible bidder was selected and placed under contract for construction last month. As a result, Phase #2 construction has started. Phase #2 improvements include.
- Children’s Playground – an active play area for children and families to enjoy in proximity to The Woodlands
- Park Shelter and Game Area – a passive or active gathering place for patrons of the park, adjacent to permanent Bocce and “Bags” courts
- Scout Camping Area & Camp Fire Council Ring – an improved camping area relocated further into the woods that includes a campfire council ring
- Exercise Trail & Stations – manmade and natural exercise stations and obstacles of diverse sizes and levels of difficulty along a new interior trail.
- Wetlands, Trails, and Boardwalk (phases #2 & #3) – Since the park consists of nearly 1,000 trees and many acres of dedicated wetlands, the plan calls for proactive measures to protect these areas and enhance them. Trails leading around these areas will be improved and interpretive signage will be added to help educate visitors to their purpose and significance. A boardwalk will be added to take patrons through the wetland in a manner that protects and upholds the wetland and forest integrity.
Phase #2 construction is slated to last until December. As a result, the eastern 2/3 of the park is fenced off and closed, for everyone’s safety. The parking lot, Dog-Friendly Area, and The Woodlands will be open, with COVID-19 guidelines enforced.
The Park District is planning to conduct a community education meeting on Thursday, September 10 at 6:30 pm on Zoom to present the environmental improvements being made and address any community questions. Please be on the lookout for more information.
We hope you are all as excited about the improvements being made to White Oaks Park as we are. We appreciate your support as we go through the construction process.