Friends Park price tag $440,000 to $460,000
Almost a plan for Friends Park
Updated: February 22, 2013 7:19PM
GLENCOE — Plans for a rebuilt Friends Park are rolling ahead, with a price tag of $440,000 to $460,000 and no indication of a fund-raising campaign that might offset the expense.
District President Max Retsky said Friday that no one has said anything about fund-raising since Commissioner Bob Kimble suggested trying to promote it Jan. 7, and no one has showed any interest in donating any money or spearheading raising funds.
Better news may be that there seems to be enough money in available district capital and a couple of overstocked district accounts to cover it.
District Finance Director Carol Mensinger said the draft capital project budget for the upcoming budget year can swing $250,000 for the park, and still proceed with a significant number of smaller projects.
The district can take another $50,000 from the Special Recreation Reserve Fund, if approved May 8 by the board of the North Suburban Special Recreation Association.
That approval is expected, since the playground dominating the park at Tudor Court and Vernon Avenue will probably be the most handicapped-accessible park in Glencoe, when done.
Another $200,000 could be drawn from the Corporate Fund, which has a balance of $1.8 million. By policy, the balance is supposed to be around 55 percent of an annual budget for that fund, and it’s at 80 percent now, Mensinger said.
Another source could be the recreation fund, at 55 percent funding, with a balance between $1.7 million and $1.95 million as February ends. That fund’s balance, by policy, is around 25 percent.
When discussing the Friends funding at a Feb. 5 committee meeting, commissioners didn’t mention private fund-raising. Neither did they talk about a sale of the three-bedroom “Park House” at 233 Linden Ave. That house used to be the free home of district executive directors, but newly-hired district chief Lisa Sheppard – in the audience Feb. 5 – won’t be living there. It’s questionable, after a negative 2012 legal opinion about gift houses’ tax status, that any of her successors will, either.
Sheppard will move into her Glencoe office Feb. 20.
What actually goes into the playground has been vetted through several public meetings and through quizzes of children at gatherings.
Most recently, the children seemed to like both the “Supernova” – a kid-powered merry-go-round that reportedly doesn’t go nearly as fast as similar devices of years ago – and an arch with sliding, suspended handles used for hand-over-hand propelling, called Rock N Cross. They also helped narrow down the choice for a multi-slide major apparatus.
Other large amenities include swings, train- and boat-like fixtures – all with a handicap-accessible component – and a net-climber.
The commissioners decided to add another amenity instead of a concrete-pad stage on the east end of the playground, near the Writers Theatre.
Commissioner candidate Steve Gaines said that if the actors of the Writers’ Theatre, to the east, really want to present soliloquies in the park, they’ll still have an opportunity.
“There’s nothing to prevent a visiting thespian from speaking to us from a bench,” he said.
The commissioners expect to vote on a completed plan at their 7:30 p.m. March 19 meeting at the Takiff Center, 999 Green Bay Road.