Burr Ridge Park District plans $280,000 Harvester Park upgrade
Kids from the Burr Ridge Park District day camp play Tuesday. The park district plans a renovation of Harvester Park, which could begin later this summer. | Tamara Bell~Sun Times Media
Updated: August 13, 2012 1:30PM
BURR RIDGE — A custom-designed treehouse structure, a stream with its own set of locks and dams, and a place for children to cool off with a blast of water are among $280,000 worth of planned changes the Burr Ridge Park District has for Harvester Park.
“This is going to be something that’s going to be jaw-dropping,” Parks and Recreation Director Jim Pacanowski said of plans to renovate the park district’s flagship park.
Some parts of the Harvester Park playground are more than 20 years old, while others have faded or are in need of repair. Early estimates for the park district’s renovation plan, presented Monday, have come in at $281,811, just slightly higher than the $272,000 allocated for the work in the district’s recently approved master plan.
The renovation will be covered with cash on hand and through a recent refinancing of the district’s debt.
A highlight of the project is what Pacanowski calls the “Living Tree.” The fiberglass structure will resemble a tree, with a hollow interior to climb inside and peep holes to peer out. The tree canopy will consist of living foliage.
“It’s a custom designed piece. It’s never been done before,” Pacanowski said.
At an estimated cost of $76,000, “it’s a little expensive,” Pacanowski said. “But it’s a signature piece.”
The creek feature will allow children to direct water to three different play areas within the park, including the sand play area. The custom-designed structure will be dry until a visitor activates the pump to fill it with water.
“They’ll have to figure out how it works,” Pacanowski said.
The park district scaled back its original plan for a splash pad at Harvester Park, but will include a smaller version of the water park in the new playground.
“It’s smaller and less complex,” Pacanowski said.
Children will be able to push a button to activate three water features.
Not everything will be replaced. The zip line, a favorite feature, will remain, as will the park’s main play structure, which will be updated and repaired.
The entire playground will be accessible to children with disabilities.
With bidding to begin next week, Pacanowski hopes to start the overhaul on Aug. 9.
“There is no good time to close the park,” said Pacanowski, recognizing the park will be out of commission for the last days of summer.
But if all goes well, a good portion of the new play area could make its debut at Harvest Fest in the fall.
“This is a way to showcase. There will be a lot of people seeing it saying, ‘We’ve got to come back,’” Park Commissioner Tim Fara said.