What are the specific improvements under consideration for Oakton Park?
The proposal is focused on improving the aging Oakton Ice Arena, adding an indoor turf field and addressing other high-priority needs. Following are the potential improvements:
- Renovating the 52-year-old Oakton Ice Arena, including:
- Repairing, renovating and/or replacing outdated, deteriorated siding, mechanicals, ice rink floor, dasher board system, bathrooms, locker rooms, lobby area and ventilation system, much of which are at the end of their useful lives
- Addressing Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Illinois Accessibility Code (IAC) compliance issues throughout the building, including the multipurpose room, restrooms, locker rooms and bleacher seating
- Replacing the deteriorated parking lot and adding additional parking spaces
- Constructing a studio rink, training room and concessions area
- Building an indoor turf field and multipurpose rooms
- Creating a passive green outdoor gathering space
- Creating a half-mile pathway circling the park and offering indoor walking opportunities around the perimeter of the new indoor turf field
- Improving the existing driving range by replacing poles and netting
- Relocating the dog park to allow for facility and parking improvements
- Improving storm water management
Were multiple park improvement concepts considered? Why does the Park District believe the current concept is the right choice?
The District evaluated eight facility concepts. The concept under consideration meets the highest number of identified needs, stays within the District’s bonding capacity, is projected to generate surplus revenues that can be used to offset future capital replacement needs, saves the golf driving range and protects the greatest number of oak trees in the grove while expanding recreation opportunities at Oakton Park. The District is also confident the concept selected is the most financially and environmentally responsible plan.
Would the entire golf driving range be preserved?
Yes, the proposal calls for the golf driving range to remain intact at Oakton Park. This is a popular Park District amenity.
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How would the new indoor turf field be used?
The new turf field would relieve program capacity issues at the gymnasiums at Maine Park Leisure Center and Centennial Fitness Center. The new facility would also accommodate indoor practices and leagues for a variety of sports, indoor drop-in play for early childhood ages, rental and party opportunities, special events, virtual reality and e-sports, open indoor walking around the perimeter of the turf field, and more.
How was the size of the indoor turf field determined?
The current proposal calls for a 60x60 yard turf field. This size field was selected based on the shape of the property, the desire to preserve trees and the golf driving range, recommendations provided by turf facility managers who were interviewed, flexibility the space offers for multiple activities, the importance of practice space and the District’s bonding capacity.
Have the ice mechanicals at the Oakton Ice Arena reached the end of their useful life?
The refrigeration system, ice rink floor and dasher boards are 24 years old and have a life expectancy of 25 years. Ozonedepleting R-22 refrigerant, which is currently used at the Ice Arena, was phased out of production as of January 1, 2020. A new mechanical system is required to accommodate the new refrigerant.
What are the benefits of adding a smaller studio rink?
Classes normally occupying the main ice sheet could be moved to the 60x90 foot studio rink. This would allow for the addition of a recreation house hockey league program for ages eight and older. Additional ice time on the main rink would also allow for expanded hockey and skate lessons, figure skating programming and expanded ice rentals for affiliates. The smaller studio rink would also host 3-on-3 hockey, broomball, clinics, private lessons for figure, hockey and speed skating, birthday parties, youth and adult Stick & Puck, and other programs.
What are some of the most pressing accessibility issues that would be addressed?
The Oakton Ice Arena does not have an elevator, restricting access to the multipurpose room and programs on the second floor. Changing rooms are also on the second floor, requiring figure skaters, hockey players and recreational skaters to go up and down a tight staircase. By redesigning the space to be on one floor, these and other accessibility problems would be solved.
Would the potential improvements deliver on the Park District’s commitment to environmental stewardship?
The carbon footprint of the 52-year-old Ice Arena would be reduced by extending its useful life and improving its efficiency. The new indoor turf field would also be highly energy efficient. The project design also seeks to preserve as many of the existing, healthy trees on site as possible and to provide opportunities for residents to enjoy them through the addition of a walking path that circles the site and connects to a passive gathering area.
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Would district residents continue to receive priority registration and discounted fees at the Oakton Sports Complex?
Yes, district residents would benefit from priority registration and lower fees. Open walking times at the indoor turf field would be free of charge to district residents.
What is the total cost of the potential improvements and the estimated tax impact?
The total estimated cost of the Oakton Park Facility improvements is $34 million. Funding the Oakton Park improvements would require using $3.5 million of PRPD reserves and approval by district voters of a 25-year, $30.5 million bond referendum. For homeowners with a median property value of $437,000, the estimated tax impact of such a bond measure would be $8 per month or about $101 per year.
Click here to calculate your estimated tax impact.
Does the Park District receive funding from the City of Park Ridge?
No, the District does not receive funding from the City.
Is PRPD pursuing grants to help offset some of the costs?
The District also plans to seek funding from an Illinois Clean Energy Foundation grant for a net zero energy building. This grant is dependent on whether grant funding continues to be available in future years.
The District also submitted a grant application for a $2.5 million PARC grant for parts of the potential project. The District has learned the project was not chosen for a PARC grant in 2021.
How does the PRPD’s current tax levy compare to its peer districts?
The Park District’s tax rate is 0.512, which is below the existing tax rates for park districts in Des Plaines, Glenview, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect and Oak Park. The only peer park districts with a tax levy lower than Park Ridge are Skokie and Niles, at 0.463 and 0.425 respectively.
What oversight would be in place?
All project spending would be publicly disclosed and project updates would be presented at District board meetings, community information meetings and on the Park District’s website.
Why does the Park District believe this is the right time to pursue funding for improvements at Oakton Park?
The District faces a variety of critical facility challenges, including ice mechanicals that have reached the end of their useful life and extensive ADA/IAC compliance issues. With construction and ongoing maintenance costs continuing to increase, the longer the District waits to address its highest priority capital facility needs, the more it will cost.
How can the public weigh in on the proposed improvements and financing plan?
PRPD will be mailing a public opinion survey in October to registered voter households districtwide as well as hosting community information meetings. Click here to view the dates, times and locations of these meetings. A community comment section is also available here.
Can district residents tour the Oakton Ice Arena?
Yes, in addition to the community information meetings, the District will be offering tours of the 52-year-old arena. Click here to view the dates and times of the Oakton tours.
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