OSLAD Grant to renovate Iles Park

The Springfield Park District applied for and won an OSLAD (Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development) grant to further develop Iles Park. The Park District hosted a public meeting on July 18 to share the draft plan and hear input from residents. The grant reimburses 50% of the project cost, up to $800,000 maximum. Half of the cost of the project will be paid by the Park District or other entities.

Click to open or download a PDF of the plan.

Park Plan Notes from the February 3, 2020 Iles Park Neighborhood Association meeting

Derek Harms, Executive Director, Springfield Park District provided an overview of the OSLAD grant to update Iles Park:

  • Timeline
    • Grant requires completion in 24 months from when papers are signed. Still waiting to sign papers.
    • Some work in summer of 2020; completion by end of 2021.
  • Skate Park
    • Will be an at-grade park intended to serve beginning level skaters.
    • Concrete pad with modular ramps and tricks.
    • Fenced; shelter for shade
    • Public input will be sought on the design: neighbors, skate shops
  • Walking Path
    • 8’ wide asphalt ¾ mile loop around park
    • Will cross Oak St near the skate park.
    • Will also connect to Ash somewhere to connect city-wide bike paths.
    • Question: could there be additional lighting on footpath? Can be very dark at night – a safety issue.
  • Playground
    • Accessible; community-size; completely replace current playground, which is dated.
    • Public input will be sought on the design.
    • Will use FIBAR for surface; there will be some transfer ramps.
    • Budget for playground is $160,000.
    • New playground at Douglas park, very nice, cost $160,000, but $30,000 worth of labor was provided by the Park District.
    • Park District may not have staff needed to install Iles Park playground due to short timeframe for completion and other projects.
  • Great Lawn, Trees, Art Walk
    • Great lawn in southwest corner.
    • All trees will remain.
    • Bump-outs on path will contain art; possibly partnership with Springfield Art Association. Bolted down? May rotate different art.
    • Question: add picnic tables for DHS employees? Needs shade and shelters are expensive. But current tables are in grass beneath trees. Add more closer to shelter?
  • Ball Field (used for pickup games & adult softball)
    • Restore infield dirt
    • Plaza to northeast of field
    • Replace line fences
  • Parking
    • Along Oak and on east side of ball field, where 9th St used to be.
    • Overhead utility lines will be buried here.
    • There will be a turnaround on south end.
    • City will deed 9th Street and the part of Oak that is west of 8th Street to the Park District.
    • More than 17 spots.
  • Bioswale
    • In southeast corner near new rail underpass
    • Low area with natural plantings; not a permanent water feature; for managing water runoff during heavy rains.
  • Historic Stone Shelter
    • No plans to upgrade as part of this project
    • It’s beautiful; intent is to keep it.
    • At night it draws unwanted activity.
    • Opening it up would be a lot of work due to stone construction.
    • More lights were recently added.
    • Possibility to add motion-sensing lights.
    • Can the picnic tables in the shelter be moved? They are currently bolted to the floor in a configuration that makes use difficult.
  • Pickleball Courts
    • Will stay; no changes.
    • Conversion from tennis to pickleball was funded by an individual.
    • Popularity caused Park District to make more courts at Douglas Park
  • Additional / future work
    • The neighborhood could solicit additional work through businesses and/or fund some improvements ourselves.
    • Paved area in far northeast corner (foundation of old plant) will not be part of this project. The site has been cleaned up a bit, but it’s still hazardous.
    • Parking lot in far northwest corner is not included in this plan; long term this might become an amphitheater.
    • No plans to close 8th Street between the old lot and the old foundation; it’s part of historic Route 66?
    • Restrooms (on Oak St) are not part of this plan; Park District could look at updating them operationally. They need cleaned up, painted.
    • No plans for a basketball court right now. There would be lots of interest in the neighborhood. Neighbors want to keep it away from playground.
    • Question: will there be a first aid center? None planned. Good project for business – maybe the nearby Ambulance company?
    • Question: can the water fountain also have a dog fountain?
    • Question: would the Park District help us prepare to submit for additional grants? Yes / depends / let them know what we need.
    • Other ideas: little free library, flower garden set-aside
  • IPNA President Curt Drew will keep us informed about public input meetings.

2009 Master Plan


Iles Park History

Read about Iles Park History: https://www.ilespark.org/iles-park-springfield-il-history/