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North Grove fourth-grader wins Sycamore park-naming contest

Published: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 10:07 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, April 7, 2014 3:18 p.m. CDT
(Debbie Behrends - dbehrends@shawmedia.com)
The Sycamore Park District Board of Commissioners recognized the winners of the Name the Park Contest on Tuesday. The winning name is Dr. John Ovitz Park. Pictured are [from left] Scott Buzzard of the park district's Citizen Advisory Committee, runner-up Robbie Melnick, Jane Ovitz, winner Ella Follman and Ted Strack, park board president. Runner-up Nathan Miller was unable to attend the meeting.

SYCAMORE – With an eye toward dedication of a new park in October, Sycamore Park District commissioners made it official Tuesday. The newest park in the district, in the Sycamore Creek subdivision, is now named Dr. John Ovitz Park.

The winning name was submitted by North Grove Elementary School fourth-grader Ella Follman. Runners-up were Nathan Miller, a second-grader at Southeast Elementary, and Robbie Melnick, a third-grader at North Grove.

“We received more than 60 entries,” said Bart Desch, superintendent of recreation. “We passed them on to the Citizens Advisory Committee, who narrowed the field to five. The board then chose the winner.”

Jane Ovitz, wife of the late Sycamore doctor, said family members plan to be in town for the dedication, tentatively scheduled for October.

“The family is just delighted,” Ovitz said. “This really is a marvelous tribute.”

Dan Gibble, park district executive director, said the board wants to involve the neighbors in the design of the park.

“We want to involve them in the planning process,” Gibble said. “The neighbors pitched in and bought the lot when it went up for sale for past due taxes, and then turned the deed over to the park district.”

Gibble said the board has no budget set for improvements to the park since they have no design planned.

“It’s safe to say, this year at minimum, we will have some trees and shrubs in place,” Gibble said. “We really have no idea what will be required until we have a sense of what the neighbors want.”

Gibble said the board likely will apply for an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. He said he hopes to have a concept plan to unveil at the dedication.

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