New Dunne Park Taking Shape
By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
As Rosemont continues to grow, so to do its resources for residents such as the new Dunne Park Recreation Center which, officials said this week, may open later this fall.
A possible Labor Day opening was discussed at the July 13 Rosemont Park District board meeting. Located at 9401-9499 Glenlake St., south of Higgins Road and west of River Road behind the Westin Hotel, the estimated $3,551,083 recreation center will serve the many residents, including children, living nearby in an estimated 160 apartments and six-flats.
“It could be finished by the end of October,” Rosemont Park District Executive Director Karen Stephens said this week. “It will be great for area residents. It can be tough for these residents to get to Lange park or the recreation center on Barry Street. This will provide a gym and programs nearby for all local residents.”
The new recreation center, officials have said, fills a void.
Stephens said its operational hours have yet to be set, but could mirror those of the Barry recreation center which is open Monday through Saturday with varied hours, usually from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. She said the hours may fluctuate along with school hours.
“For example, some days the center may not open until 3 p.m. when school lets out to coincide with school hours,” Stephens said.
As far as staffing, as of now plans call for existing park district employees to work there along with the hiring of part-time workers.
“It’s a full gym. We do have plans to implement some of our park programs at Dunne as we move forward,” Stephens said. “A lot of children live in the immediate area.”
During the July park board meeting, a $100,000 increase in the maximum price for additional construction needs, which include new doors and other provisions to comply with the American Disability Act (ADA), was approved. Last February, the board approved spending $3.6 million on the new facility. It is similar in size and offerings to the recreation center on Barry Street.
A new parking lot and improved underground water detention should be completed soon.
Dunne Park, officials note, was once a gathering place used as a warming house for ice skaters on an adjacent pond. The new, full-sized gym is connected to the small existing structure used by skaters through a hallway. The pond is still there, full of swans.
The project was funded through an expired village tax increment financing (TIF) district.
Dunne Park is named after former Cook County Board President George Dunne who helped secure former Cook County Forest Preserve property for the village.
To get the word out to residents as to when it will open, Stephens said the village will conduct a direct outreach to residents. This will include instructions on how to obtain a Rosemont Park District ID card needed to access the new center.
“We plan to also reach the children and residents with communications through the local schools,” Stephens said.