Making plans for Smith Park renovation
The city plans to update Elnora Smith Park at Lyons Street and Ashland Avenue next year and Smith Park Neighbors will meet Sept. 16 to gather ideas for the project.
|Twiggs Park lights|
About the same time, the city plans to hire a consultant who will meet with neighbors starting in October to develop park improvement plans.
Stephanie Levine of Evanston's Parks and Recreation Department says the renovation budget for Smith Park is $440,000.
By comparison, the initial budget for improvements at the considerably larger Mason Park at Church Street and Florence Avenue was $660,000.
Ms. Levine says once the consultant is hired for a park renovation project, the city typically sends a mailing to residents and property owners within a four-block radius of the park planned for renovation announcing the planning meeting.
The consultant often brings a current site plan for the park to the initial community meeting and gathers ideas from residents to redesign the park to meet their goals.
At a second meeting later in the fall the consultant will present two or three designs and again listen to the community's input.
If there is need for a third meeting, the consultant likely will come back with a single design that best meets the city's requirements, the budget allotted and the community's wishes.
Playground equipment at Gilbert Park.
During the winter the plans will be finalized and bids sought on construction contracts.
Construction would begin in early Spring 2007 with completion before the end of the year.
Ms. Levine has provided a list of companies from whom the City purchases commercial grade playground equipment and from whom brochures will be obtained to aid in developing concepts for the park's playground use.
Other renovation ideas involve lighting, plantings, benches, tables.
Picnic pavilion at Twiggs Park.
To get an idea about what type of playground equipment we might expect, one can check out the new equipment installed at Mason Park, Eggleston Park at Bridge Street and McCormick Boulevard and Gilbert Park on Emerson Street west of Ashland Avenue.
These parks provide examples of what the city has used in park renovation projects recently.
Half-court basketball at Eggleston Park.
Ms. Levine says that if the renovation project includes lighting the park, the lights are likely to be like the 15- to 18-foot tall post lights used in Twiggs Park along the canal and in other recent park projects.
The fixtures are designed so the light shines directly down without much spread, so its impact on nearby houses is quite low.
Naturally, we want to create a safe and secure environment for our children to use during park hours and also create a deterrent from inappropriate park usage in the after hours. Your input is necessary, even if you do not have children who use the park, please join us at 7 p.m. on Sept. 16 at 1810 Ashland Ave.