Gordon Park plan awaits OK from La Grange
Gordon Park site plan
Updated: March 22, 2013 6:16AM
LA GRANGE — Bids and a budget have been approved to redevelop Gordon Park but other details remain to be worked out between the village and Park District of La Grange.
The Plan Commission tabled the park district’s application Feb. 12 for a site plan and special-use permit to improve the property, currently designated as open space.
Park Board members agree with the village’s request for easements along areas slated for improvements proposed in the Ogden Avenue Relief Sewer project, said Executive Director Dean Bissias.
But the board had concerns with the village’s call for park property to be dedicated for a possible traffic signal at Ogden and Locust avenues, east of La Grange Road, Bissias said.
“There is some uncertainty. We knew what ARP was going to build, but now there’s no solid development proposed,” Bissias said. “The board has just got some questions we’d like to work our way through.”
Bissias referred to the proposal of Atlantic Realty Partners to build La Grange Place, a mixed-use development of retail and residential units on the site of the former Rich Port YMCA just west of the park and fronting La Grange Road and Ogden Avenue. The deal, which included the signal at Locust, unraveled in 2009.
Patrick Benjamin, La Grange community development director, said increased use of the redeveloped park is expected to draw additional pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Village officials want to make sure right-of way for the signal remains available to ensure safety for the area, Benjamin said.
“We’re hoping to get any issues resolved in the next few weeks,” Bissias said. “Since it was tabled by the Plan Commission, they could bring it up sooner than in March, and then it has to go on to the Village Board.”
The Park Board approved bids totaling $2.1 million for the Gordon Park project Feb. 11, after the objections of two board members were resolved, said Board President Mary Ellen Penicook.
Approval from the Park Board and village to proceed is urgent for two reasons, Penicook said. The bid proposals will expire shortly after the meeting, and the park district could loose a $400,000 grant, if construction isn’t done by Dec. 31.
The board left open the possibility of adding lights for $153,000 on a soccer/football field and regarding two fields for baseball and softball on the east side of the park for an estimated $50,000.
“Our goal is to start building April 1,” Bissias said. “I’m confident we can come to some kind of agreement to get this resolved.”