A project that would add skateboarding ramps, a grass soccer field, a butterfly garden and other amenities to Gordon Park should be finished by October, Park District Executive Director Dean Bissias said.
Much of the west side of the park, where the changes are being made, will remain closed until then.
In recent months, officials have discussed installing a turf field instead of a grass field in the park — at an added cost of up to $1 million, which the Lyons Township Soccer Club has said is needed for the community's large number of soccer players.
"Currently, it's been talked about," Bissias said. "But that's as far as it is — it's been talked about."
Jo Hearn, the soccer club's executive director, said in an email the club's members had discussed the turf field with the Park District only once, at a meeting. The proposal is not on track for 2013, Hearn said.
The club has discussed contributing to the added cost of installing a turf field. Turf would require approval from the state, which helped fund the $2.2 million project with a $400,000 Illinois Outdoor Recreation grant, Bissias said. The grant will be paid in the form of a refund to the Park District when the project is completed, he said.
Bissias added that a turf field could be considered as a separate project in the future if it is not part of the current project.
The renovation will complete a project that has been in the planning stages for a half-dozen years, Bissias said. The Park District-funded project also calls for a pavilion, a small performance space, a splash pad, exercise stations and new paths and lights. The new items will replace baseball fields, tennis courts and a basketball court that take up about 6 acres of the park. Improvements also include sewer upgrades, which officials have said could help ease flooding in the park. The park is the lowest point in the La Grange community, Bissias noted.
The Gordon Park improvements came from community suggestions the Park District gathered during public meetings six to seven years ago, Bissias said.
The project at one time had been planned as an improvement by a developer. In 2008, a developer proposed to build a massive apartment complex and other residential units on the YMCA property near the park. The developer had committed to providing monetary contributions to Gordon Park, but the project failed.
The south and east parts of the park, including fields and handball courts, will remain open during the construction, he said.