By Bob Balgemann


POPLAR GROVE – Village officials continue to follow the belief that “parks and recreation are an important part of the quality of life in the village.”

That includes facilities for the younger set as the village engineer, McMahon and Associates, now is designing a new football field. It would be located behind the tennis courts that are next to village hall.

Cost of the design will be $4,350.

There are some issues that need to be resolved.

The first issue is the amount of dirt needed and the quality of fill needed to level the field. Village Engineer Chris Dopkins explained the crown of the football field “is set at the same elevation as the tennis courts, so quite a bit of fill will be needed.”

He said lift thickness and compaction could vary greatly depending on the materials that are collected. That led him to express concern about quality control through the construction phase. In addition, he said erosion control must be in place.

Composition of the dirt for the final field surface is another concern. Dopkins said recommendations are to have a mixture of soil, peat and sand, unless the village wants to spend another $500,000 for a synthetic mix surface.

“I’m guessing you don’t,” he said in a memorandum to Village President John Neitzel.

The peat and soil hold nutrients for good vegetative growth, he stated, while sand facilitates drainage by essentially creating porosity in the soil structure. In that way, water is able to infiltrate faster; this will keep the field more usable during and after rainfalls.

Remembering that this would be a combination football and soccer field, he said one of the first questions that needs answering is how often it would be used. Once that is known, a decision can be made as to what materials would be used for the surface.

He estimated $150,000 for a 12-inch surface mix, before seeding and blanketing.

Maintenance is the last concern for the board. Watering could be an issue and Dopkins said there needs to be people who are dedicated to maintaining the field.

West Grove Park

In November 2015, the village purchased land in the West Grove Subdivision for $50,000, and it plans to create a park there for residents to enjoy.

“Residents in that neighborhood have no park or recreational opportunities close by,” Village Administrator Diana Dykstra said.

McMahon will establish final grading for the land, because she said the developer at one time used the parcel for extra dirt. Once the grading is done, the village board would plan what kinds of amenities would be in the park.

Currently, the only funding available is for grading and seeding the land. Cost of the preliminary work would be $4,413.50.

These aren’t the only recreationally oriented projects undertaken by the village.

Another project in the works is construction of a pavilion at Veteran’s Park, on land adjacent to the Long Leaf multi-use path off Poplar Grove Road.

The village plans to use a $5,000 grant received last year through the ComEd Openlands Green Region program. Twenty-three grants totaling $200,000 were awarded this year to municipalities and school districts in northern Illinois.

This is a historic area, being across the street from a former hotel that is more than 150-years-old.

Two years ago, the village received a welcome assist from Boy Scout Jacob Dykstra, who, with his family and friends, built a gazebo in the same area, on the other side of the path. That was an Eagle Scout project.

In 2015, a new playground was installed at Lions Park, immediately south of Illinois 173 and near village hall. It also revamped the basketball court there and erected two basketball hoops in the village hall parking lot.

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