DeKALB – DeKalb Park District staff will move playground equipment from one park to another while they figure out what some residents want.
Park officials plan to move the playground at Pappas Park, at Hillcrest and Aspen Drive, into Garden of Eden Park, 1343 Adams Way. Officials are considering replacing the playground at Pappas Park with two sets of bag toss games and a half basketball court, although they will first ask residents what they want.
“You have to ask, is it a destination park, or is it a neighborhood park?” said Phil Young, park board president. “If it’s a neighborhood park, we should try to tie it into how the residents want to use it.”
Park staff have some ideas about what residents near Pappas Park don’t want. While park district staff performed maintenance work at Pappas Park over the past 45 days, they saw one child playing on the playground, park district project manager Todd Bex told park board commissioners Thursday. He explained the nearby Eco Park Apartments originally were intended as housing for married people near campus, but have become mostly students.
“Playgrounds are wonderful, but if they’re in locations where there’s no kids, they could be better utilized somewhere else,” Executive Director Jason Mangum said.
As an alternative, Bex suggested park district staff dismantle the playground at Pappas Park, which he said is about 15 years old, meets Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and passes inspections, and move it to Garden of Eden Park. Staff would place the playground across the trail from the current playground.
Park district leaders had planned to replace the playground at Garden of Eden park with a new $60,000 playground. Repurposing the Pappas Park equipment would save an estimated $39,000. Based on rough estimates, the Pappas Park renovations would cost about $13,000, about $2,500 more than officials had budgeted to spend in that park this year for ADA renovations.
Park staff will place signs in Pappas Park directing residents to visit the park district’s website to share their thoughts on what should replace the playground equipment. After getting input, completing the project could happen quickly.
“We could move forward and have both of these projects done this fall,” Mangum said.