Prospect Park Project

Prospect Park

Park Ridge Park District is redeveloping the existing Youth Campus property into a new recreational outdoor space.

Prospect Park Redevelopment

Park Ridge Park District has been given the opportunity to redevelop the existing Youth Campus property located at 733 N. Prospect Avenue. Once developed, the 11.35 acres of outdoor space will be devoted to new athletics, performing arts, water play, and other year-round recreational activities for the community. Keep up to date on the property's redevelopment by visiting this web site for periodic news and messages.

Referendum Details

On April 9, 2013 residents voted on a unique opportunity to expand recreational outdoor space in Park Ridge. As the last open space of this size available in Park Ridge, this is a very important opportunity to preserve open space in our community, which is currently well below the national average per population.


The proposed redevelopment plan is an economical approach to bringing a new park to its residents through a combination of beautified outdoor space and new recreational amenities that enriches the Park Ridge community.

Enhacing Recreation

When the district was originally offered a chance to acquire the property, we knew it was a great opportunity to acquire open space and introduce new programming to the community, as well as provide extra space to growing recreation programs. Below are some amenities planned through this important referendum:

  • Paddle Tennis Courts
  • Multi-Use Athletic Field
  • Outdoor Performing Arts Pavilion
  • Spray Pad
  • Creative Play Area

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Conserving Open Space

When we considered this referendum, keeping the open space of the existing property was important. Not only is Park Ridge well below the national recommended outdoor space per population, but community parks ranked highest as the most used Park District amenity in our community-wide survey.

Our goal is to provide a beautiful outdoor space for all ages, fitness levels, and interests to enjoy. The result of our proposed plan is a relaxed and contained park that includes passive gardens, walking paths, and sitting areas that wind around new recreational amenities from a performing arts pavilion to an athletic field to paddle tennis courts.

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Preserving Community

Our role in preserving community is simple: We provide places to gather with friends or enjoy activities with family right around the corner. And we’ve been doing this for almost 100 years. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Park Ridge by providing parks and recreation opportunities for all residents while being environmentally and fiscally responsible.

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Project Updates

  • May 28, 2016 - Join us for the opening celebration!
  • March 30, 2016 - Much progress has been made at the Park! Administrative staff will be moving into Wohler's Hall on Friday, April 8. Features are being installed in the Prospect Park Splash Pad. Your seasonal pool pass will include this splash pad too! Passes go on sale April 1. We are also taking reservations for events held beginning May 29, 2016, at the Paula Hassell O'Connor Community Building.
  • December 15, 2015 - Painting and flooring is being installed in Wohler's Hall. Drywall is being hung in the O'Connor building.
  • December 3, 2015 - Fire sprinklers will be installed in the attic space of the O'Connor building as a result in a change of building material used for the exterior wall sheathing.
  • November 19, 2015 - The windows, doors, and siding are installed in the O'Connor building. Interior work continues with multiple trades. Drywall is hung in Wohler's Hall. Doors and trim are being reinstalled, and additional finished will continue to be installed over the next several weeks.
  • October 13, 2015 - Curbs for the parking lot have been poured. Most of the windows and doors have been installed in the O'Connor building. Interior work continues with multiple trades. Additionally, drywall has been hung in Wohler's Hall and finishes will begin over the next several weeks. Paths around the perimeter of the property have been paved.
  • September 24, 2015 - Existing asphalt and concrete driveways were removed in preparation for installation of parking lot curbs and related pavement work. Curbs are expected to be poured this week. The framing on the O'Connor building is nearly complete. Sheathing has been installed and HVAC ductwork is being run throughout the building.
  • August 19, 2015 - Concrete work continues around the site: the pedestrian right of way along Prospect, a raised concrete planter, curbing for the playground, as well as portions of the ADA ramp at Haake have been poured. In addition, multiple trades are working on the Paula Hassell O'Connor Community Building. The slab floor has been poured, plumbing and electrical are being roughed in and the building structure is being constructed.
  • July 29, 2015 - Topsoil has been stockpiled and mass grading has been completed. Multiple trade contractors continue to work on the interior of the Administration Building. The concrete foundations and slab floor have been poured for the Paula Hassell O’Connor Community Building.
  • June 3, 2015 - Construction permits from MWRD and the City of Park Ridge have been received. A construction timeline can now be developed and development can commence.
  • May 15, 2015 - The official ground breaking of Prospect Park was held.
  • April 30, 2015 - Friday, May 1, and Monday, May 4, a tree care company is performing maintenance on several of the trees along the perimeter of Prospect Park. We are removing low hanging branches and raising the canopy height of the trees, so they are not accidentally damaged by equipment needed for grading and excavation on the property. Some of this equipment is over 13 feet tall and will be used in close proximity to the trees.
  • April 17, 2015 - On Monday, April 20, tree removal at the Park will begin. View the plan for tree removal and replanting by clicking the "Prospect Park Plans" link in the menu on the right.
  • March 16, 2015
    • On Monday, March 2, the Park District passed our second appearance at City Council for the final review of stage 2 of planning and zoning.
    • The Board approved bids received for the project at the Board Meeting held on Thursday, March 5.
    • Demolition on the property will begin Wednesday. Crews will work Monday through Friday from 7:00am-4:00pm, and possibly on Saturdays as well. Demolition is anticipated to be completed in four weeks.
    • The Park District has applied for permits from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD), once received the City will be able to issue us our construction permit, and work can begin. We anticipate that to be end of May or early June. We are expecting a 12 month construction period; with the turf areas closed through 2016 due to additional grow time needed.
  • Feb 13, 2015 - On February 10, the Park District passed stage 2 of zoning and planning at the City's zoning and planning committee meeting. On Monday, March 2, we will be attending the City Council meeting for final review of stage 2.
  • Jan 30, 2015 - We are scheduled to review stage 2 of zoning and planning at the City's zoning and planning committee meeting on February 10.
    • We are currently seeking bids on the project until Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at 2:00p.m.
    • A pre-bid meeting will be held Tuesday, February 3, 2015 at 10:00a.m. in Wohler's Hall at Prospect Park, 733 N. Prospect Ave, Park Ridge, IL
  • Dec 19, 2014 - On Monday, December 15, the Park District appeared before City Council and passed the first approval of stage 1 of zoning and planning. On Monday, January 19, we will be attending the City Council meeting for the second reading of stage 1 of zoning and planning. With successful passing on January 19, we will then move on to stage 2 with the zoning and planning committee.
    • Asbestos abatement is planned to begin January 5. This will be a 4-6 week process. Once Cook County confirms asbestos has been removed, we can apply for demolition permits with the City.
  • Dec 16, 2014 - On Monday, December 1, we attended the City's planning and zoning meeting, and we have passed stage 1 of planning and zoning. On Monday, December 15, we will be attending the City Council meeting for the next step in this process.
  • Nov 18, 2014
    • Our plan has been modified to save the Emery Building as it has significant historical valueand deemed as required to be saved by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, due to this and the City ordinance requirements, we will be going back through Planning & Zoning beginning on November 25.
    • We anticipate beginning asbestos removalof the buildings that will be coming down in early December, this will last several weeks.
    • Once the asbestos removal has been completed, we will begin demolition of the buildingsthat will not remain on the property.
    • In late January, we plan to go to bid for the remainder of the project.
    • We are targeting early April to begin the construction phase of the project.
  • Nov 17, 2014 - The Park Ridge Park District is allowing the City of Park Ridge Fire Department to conduct training in the England and McCormick buildings, which are on the eastern edge of the Youth Campus property. The Fire Department will conduct these trainings every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday morning between the hours of 8:30am to noon beginning today, Nov 17, thru Dec 16. During these trainings the Fire Department will only use theatrical smoke within the building, they will not be setting fire to the building itself or using any “live” fire. If you have any additional questions about the specific training that will take place please contact Scott Sankey, City of Park Ridge Battalion Chief and Director of Training & Safety at
  • Nov 6, 2014 – The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency has requested the Park District to retain Emery Cottage on the Youth Campus site. As the site is listed on the National Historic Registry, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) has authority over the changes to any “significant” buildings listed on the Registry. The authority is granted to IHPA because the site has historical and archeological significance in the context of the provisions of the Illinois Historic Preservation Act (20 ILCS 3410/1 et seq.) and the Illinois Archeological and Paleontological Resources Protection Act (20 ILCS 3435). Due to this change, the City is requiring the Park District to resubmit plans. Both phase one and phase two of the development plan will need to be reviewed by the Planning and Zoning Commission and then voted on twice by the City Council, a process that is estimated to take 3-4 months to complete. At the same time, the Park District will submit for demolition permits and begin that work on a parallel path. The Park District plans to obtain construction bids early next year, and hopes to begin construction in the spring.
  • Oct 9, 2014 - The construction fence was installed on Oct 3 in an effort to minimize the excessive vandalism. This temporary fence will effectively close the park to the public until construction has been completed. At this time, we are still awaiting permits to allow us to begin asbestos removal and demolition.
  • Sept 9, 2014 - We have just finished clearing the property line, and the construction fence will be installed soon. We have also applied for permits from the City, and need to wait until those are issued to begin demolition. Once we receive permits, we will set the date for a ground breaking.
  • Architectural Rendering (This is the approved rendering by the Park Board. All elements have been retained, with an additional 2 paddle tennis courts in the plan.)
  • The Park District will submit a zoning change for The Youth Campus property to the City of Park Ridge Planning and Zoning Board on October 22, 2013 at 7:00pm. This entails changing the current zoning of 'Education' to 'Open Space and Planned Development' for Park District use.
  • Dec 2, 2013 - the City Council approved the rezoning of the property and granted a special-use permit for a stage-one planned development. The final City Council vote will occur December 16, 2013.

When and Where to Vote

Click here to find a voting location nearest you.

Official Question

Below is the official language of the referendum on the ballot:

“Shall the Park Ridge Recreation and Park District, Cook County, Illinois, acquire land known as The Youth Campus (11.35 acres), build and equip improvements and demolish some of the 12 buildings thereon and issue its bonds to the amount of $13,200,000 for the purpose of paying the costs thereof?”

Budget Information

The purchase price of The Youth Campus property (11.35acres) is $6.4 million, which is the appraised value of the property. The development, demolition and renovation cost is $6.8 million for a total of $13.2 million.

It is proposed there will be a net operating income of $8,826 in combination with income generated from the expanded programs at Maine Park Leisure Center.