Governor J.B. Pritzker announced last week that the Skokie Park District’s Central Park will receive $400,000 as one of 87 Illinois Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) matching grants, totaling $28.9 million.
Central Park redevelopment will include a new resurfaced “ground is lava” themed playground, a splash pad, a repaving of all pathways, outdoor fitness stations, improvements to basketball court surfaces, and new water fountains.
“Investments in our local parks are investments in our communities,” Gov. Pritzker said. “Park projects don’t just create jobs and boost local economic development — they open the gateway for a healthier, happier Illinois. Every family in our state deserves nearby access to outdoor public spaces where they can gather with their friends and neighbors — and enjoy some sunshine, too.”
Neighbors of the park gave valuable input at a public hearing in August 2021. Among the additional items district officials assured them would be part of the plan included improved landscaping, several ADA playground features, and additional benches.
According to Executive Director Michelle Tuft, construction will likely begin in the summer of 2023, taking roughly three months to complete. The district must spend at least $400,000 of its own money, matching the state grant. The budget for the renovation is set at $1.2 million.