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Village Says Yes to Paulus Park Renovation Plan

The Lake Zurich Village Board approves a $760,000 improvement plan for Paulus Park, allowing the park board to apply for a grant that would fund 50 percent of the project.

If all goes as planned, will look quite different in the summer of 2014 with a new playground, amphitheater, shelter and many more major improvements.

The Lake Zurich Village Board approved the Paulus Park Phase II Master Plan on Monday. The favorable vote allows the park board to apply for an Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development Program grant, which could fund half the $760,000 price tag for the improvements.

The sole vote against the plan was cast by Trustee Jeffrey Halen, who voiced concerns about maintenance issues in the other parks.

Trustee Dana Rzeznik noted that OSLAD grants, which are state financed, may not be available in the future and that the village should take advantage of the opportunity while it's available.

"OSLAD grants are getting smaller and smaller; the state is getting worse and worse. I'm not sure how much longer grants will be available … two to three years down the road, the money may not be there," she said.

Trustee Tom Poynton said he thought the plan was a great investment in the community and Trustee Rich Sustich noted that the village could double its money on the project.

Board members did express some reservations, however, before voting in favor of the plan.

Sustich asked that the park board and administration come up with a ranking system to address maintenance issues in all the parks. Poynton wanted assurance that deadlines will be met and grant reimbursement is on schedule to avoid depleting park resources.

Kevin Demchinski, principal with Norris Design Inc., the planning/landscape architecture firm that is consulting on the project, said that the entire project would cost just $59,400 more than just replacing the Kids Kingdom playground, due to the OSLAD grant and other funding.

The Special Recreation Association tax levy would fund an estimated $165,800. The park also expects to get about $20,000 in community donations.

Rich Politowicz, of the Rotary Club of Lake Zurich, pledged the club's support of the project during public comments.

"We do believe we can step forth and raise funds and get other clubs excited about helping," he said.

The project also would have a community component in building the playground, which Politowicz said the Rotary also would assist with.

Plans for Paulus Park include:

  • A tree house-themed community-built playground;
  • An interactive, electronic Neos playground for kids, teens and adults;
  • An amphitheater;
  • A 100-person capacity shelter for large groups;
  • Wetland restoration that will promote conservation education opportunities;
  • A fishing dock, emergency access pier;
  • Improved accessibility for people with disabilities;
  • Nature trail.

Park advisory board member Mary Mihelic said she was happy with the board's vote. "If they say yes at the state level, I'll be really excited," she said.

Park Director Michael Perkins said the park would apply for the grant in July; if the park was a finalist for the grant, they would be invited to make a presentation in September or October. Winners generally are announced in January, he said.

If Lake Zurich receives the OSLAD grant, work on Paulus Park could begin next summer and would be expected to be complete in the spring of 2014.

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