The Homewood Estates Park project may soon be back on the drawing board.
“We’re trying to move forward and bring something fun to the community,” said Homewood-Flossmoor Park District Commissioner Debbie Dennison during a board meeting Tuesday.
The redesigned 15-acre park at 18200 California Ave. in Homewood would include a new playground area, redesigns for two ball fields, a walking path throughout the park, a new shelter and upgraded youth soccer fields. The estimate for the work is $585,400.
Commissioners agreed to finalize a $47,000 contract with Upland Design to finish the plans for the park rebuild once Debbie Kopas, parks executive director, is given assurances that the $292,000 OSLAD matching grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is still available.
Kopas said she has heard the money is there, but would be in contact with NRDC for verification. The district hasn’t received any funds upfront.
Commissioners are cautious because the park district constructed The Clubhouse at 183rd Street and Governors Highway using an OSLAD grant, but was forced to wait for the money after then-Gov. Bruce Rauner froze the funds.
The park district was awarded the state grant for the Homewood Estates Park in 2019 and has until May 2022 to spend it. Plans were on track, but once the COVID-19 virus interrupted normal business the park district didn’t sign the contract for work on the park design.
Kopas said a review of the district’s finances show there is money to fund the project.
“We’ve kind of been riding out the storm for the last 10 months. We have done some looking at our financials and assessing. We’ve been able to mitigate the loss of revenue” through extreme savings measures, trimming expenses and additional revenues from the Coyote Run Golf Course, she said.
Kopas said the plan is for work on contracts and permits to be done in March and April, accept bids for the work in May, and plan for construction from June to November which would be well within the May 2022 grant deadline.
“I’m actually really excited to have something to move forward,” Commissioner Brent Bachus said.