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Taylor Park renovations reveal climbing boulders, wetlands

Two boys run through the new boulder climbing area at Taylor Park on Thursday. (Bridget Doyle/TribLocal photo)

Two boys run through the new boulder climbing area at Taylor Park on Thursday. (Bridget Doyle/TribLocal photo)

Oak Park’s latest green space to undergo renovations recently celebrated a reopening, now boasting a new ADA-accessible playground, a wetlands wildlife area, updated tennis courts and picnic shelter.

Taylor Park, an 11-acre space located on the north side of the village off Division Street, was under construction for a little more than a year, said park district spokeswoman Diane Stanke.

The weekend grand reopening attracted about 50 residents despite cold and rainy weather, Stanke said. Portions of the park were reopened earlier this year, but the park district held the celebration in honor of the completion of the first phases.

“Everyone was excited about the wetlands,” Stanke said.”The runners and walkers who regularly go through the park were happy about the bridge through that area, too.”

The project cost about $1.1 million, with $680,000 allocated from the Park District of Oak Park’s capital budget and $400,000 secured from a state grant. Dominican University and Fenwick High School are contributing a combined $30,000 for the use of tennis courts, a release from the park district said.

Park district officials hope the wetlands area, located on the southeast side of the park, will attract certain bird, butterfly and insect species, Stanke said, bringing biodiversity to the park. The new playground is ADA accessible and incorporates a climbing boulders area, specifically geared for children ages 5 to 12 years old.

Angelina Petani, a resident and neighbor of the park, said she and her husband like to take walks through the green space when they’re not busy.

Although the first phase is completed, more renovations at Taylor Park will be coming down the line, Stanke said. But renovations at Mills and Scoville Parks are on the agenda first, she said.

“In future phases the path system on the north end will be reconfigured and the picnic area will be relocated further into the park,” she said. “The athletic field will be renovated and a woodland area will be created in the northeast section with new trees planted throughout.”

For a link to the park’s master plan, click here.

bdoyle@tribune.com

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