Cary Park District Acquires New Preschool / Early Childhood Building
In August 2019 the Cary Park District purchased the property located at 100 Cary-Algonquin Road in Cary (formerly Rocky Raccoon) as the new site for the District’s Preschool program.
“The Park Board is excited to have found an early childhood building available to acquire within the community”, said Keith Frangiamore, Park Board President, “Doing so will enable the Park District to continue to provide an exceptional preschool program to both current and future resident families of the Cary Park District”.
The building is 5600 square feet and includes five classrooms, office and workspace, a kitchen, storage, restrooms, parking lot, and a fenced in play yard with brand new playground equipment. The increase of classrooms and space will allow for more enrollment opportunities within the Preschool program, the expansion of Sunshine Camp a weekly summer day camp for children ages 3 – 5 years, and an alternative location to host other Park District programs.
The Park District has offered a preschool program for over 35 years. Since the early 90s it has be held at the Lions Park Preschool building, 1180 Silver Lake Road, Cary. While that building has served the community well, it has reached the end of its useful life as a dedicated programming space. Anticipating this, over the past several years, the Board of Commissioners and staff have been evaluating other options to locate the program including alternative locations to consider for acquisition, as various buildings and properties have become available. The former “Rocky Raccoon” building is a purpose build facility for preschool and early childhood programming making it a wonderful option to meet the needs of the community and Park District.
The Park Board and staff held a brief ribbon cutting event in September 2020. The Cary Park District will welcome it’s first students to this new site beginning with fall 2020. View more photos of the new Preschool
Cary Park District To Build Outdoor Aquatic Park
In September 2019, the Cary Park Board of Commissioners took action to move forward with the planning, development, and construction of an outdoor aquatic park at Cary-Grove Park.
View more information on the Outdoor Aquatic Park.
The Park District’s current outdoor pool located at the Community Center is over 40 years old. The founding residents who pushed for the creation of a Park District in 1971 did so with the primary purpose of bringing an outdoor pool to the community. At the time the outdoor pool was constructed, the population of Cary was between 4,500 – 6,000 people. Today the population of the Cary Park District is 3.5 times the size and stands at 21,500. “The Board of Commissioners is committed to continuing the vision of the Park District’s founding residents by replacing an aging amenity that has served the community well with a new updated outdoor aquatic park that will serve the community and residents for many years to come” said Keith Frangiamore, President Board of Commissioners.
During the process of developing the 2016 Comprehensive Master Plan Update the Board of Commissioners worked with the community through a series of public meetings and needs assessment survey tools to identify and prioritize future initiatives of the Park District. Both indoor and outdoor recreation facilities ranked very high as needs expressed by the community. To evaluate facility development, the Park Board and staff conducted a feasibility study to explore the development of an indoor recreation center and an outdoor aquatics facility. Areas of study included a market analysis, operational costs, capital costs, program development, and site analysis. This study began in May 2018 and the Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Feasibility Report was accepted by the Board in March 2019.
The construction cost of the new outdoor Aquatic Park is anticipated to be $9-10 million. In July 2019 the Park Board and staff finalized a review of the agencies finances and funding options. From this work, it was determined that the Park District will complete construction of the project and operate it effectively using the existing financial capabilities and capacity of the agency. Additionally a plan was set forth to seek outside funding assistance, and the Park Board has prepared to submit a grant application to the Illinois Park and Recreational Facility Construction (PARC) grant program released in December 2019.
Programming elements discussed during the study of a the new outdoor Aquatic Park include zero depth entry pool, slides and spray features, interactive features, shade structures, seating as well as an eight lane pool to support community and District swimming programs for all ages. The facility will be compliant with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act and usable by people with and without a disability. Beginning in 2020, the Board of Commissioners will begin discussions that will build upon an initial concept plan for the facility developed as part of the Feasibility Study. Residents of the Park District will be invited to provide input through public meetings and/or open houses during the 2020 planning process.
The ground breaking and construction start for the new outdoor Aquatic Park is anticipated to begin in 2021. “The ground breaking will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Park District”, said Frangiamore. “Our expectation is to open the new facility for the summer 2022.”
Copies of the 2016 Comprehensive Master Plan Update, Action Plan 2018 Update, and the Indoor Recreation and Aquatic Feasibility Study are available for viewing. To receive updates on this project and invitations to upcoming open houses pertaining to the outdoor Aquatic Facility, subscribe to the Park District’s email list.
Hampton Park Playground Replacement
Hampton Park is now open for play! This park received a new playground, benches, accessible picnic table, and a concrete path to improve the site and play area accessibility. Hampton Park is the fifth playground replacement since 2014.
Cary Park District Receives $1.1 Million ITEP Trail Grant
On May 11, 2018 the Cary Park District was awarded a $1,104,000.00 Illinois Transportation Enhancement Project (ITEP) Grant from the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to construct a 1.4 mile trail at Hoffman Park.
This trail extension will connect to the existing 2.1 miles of trail at Hoffman Park and provide for a continuous loop throughout the park, as well as, connections to the Meyer-Lafarge gravel pit which is in its final stages of restoration and the recently completed Route 31 trail. Once constructed, the Park District will manage a total of 6.5 miles of trail throughout the community which link many local residents to parks, neighborhoods, natural areas, and several Cary community resources. It is expected to be constructed in 2020.
The Park District is expected to receive the needed trail grant authorization from IDOT during fall 2019. Design and bid for this project may take place winter – early summer 2020 with construction beginning by fall 2020.
The Cary Park District wishes to thank State Representative David McSweeney, Senator Dan McConchie, Village of Cary, Village of Trout Valley, Village of Lake in the Hills, and McHenry County Conservation District for their support of the Park District’s Hoffman Park Bike Path project.
The ITEP program is an 80% federal/state match with a 20% local match grant program. This program provides ways for people to consider alternative transportation, helps connect communities together, and provides wellness and equal access to recreation opportunities. The Department of Transportation received 218 project applications, of which the Cary Park District was one of 53 municipalities in the state and one of only three park districts to receive an award during this year’s grant cycle. In 2010, the Cary Park District received a $546,216 ITEP Grant to fund the 1.70 mile Cary Community Trail.
Cary-Grove Park Master Plan
Updating the master plan for Cary-Grove Park was identified in the Comprehensive Master Plan (CMP) Update 2016 as an action item. Completing a master plan for a park site addresses relationships between site amenities and features while opening a dialogue to partnership and grant opportunities. At the April 27, 2017 park board meeting, the Park Board of Commissioners approved the Cary Grove Park Master Plan.