Patriot Park Pics Point To Possible Pool Project Problems

Would it remain an award winning park without most of the park?

Would it remain an award winning park without most of the park?

Placement problematic, perhaps prohibitive.

I took a walk around Patriot’s Park today. Mainly walkers, joggers and dog walkers out. And me with my trusty cell phone camera and note pad. Art Jaros, much maligned PD board member, does not favor this site, so please keep this in mind. He does, however, share the siting information should PP be the place the PD board decides to move forward on.

Here’s what I found…

Click on any image for a larger version.

Here’s the site plan. We’ll come back to this as we progress. The photos I took cover a couple select areas.

The east side parking lot.

This lot is currently sized for 36 cars and 2 handicaps spaces. the plan calls for expanding this parking lot so that it paves over the picnic area. This would total about 130 parking spaces, and maybe 8-12 handicap spaces.

The large seldom flying rat gangs (also known as Canadian Canada Geese) hang out here.
Looking NW from south of the east side lot

Looking NW from south of the east side lot.

Looking NE from south of the east parking lot.

Looking NE from south of the east lot.

To expand this parking lot as recommended by the Ramaker report, 37 trees, all picnic benches, grills and the pavilion would be removed. Some (a distinct minority) of those trees are ash trees that will die anyway.

This is where the 800 foot long access road crosses St. Joe’s Creek. This image is an icon of both DG and the Park District, and would be removed for a two lane access road. As you can tell, crossing this is not a minor effort, and would require extensive engineering and a substantial structure if the existing creek bank features are retained.

You guys are welcome here. For now.

This is also a favored hangout for Mallards, the non rats that also live at Patriots Park.

The access road and parking.

The pathway that the access road would follow curves around behind Barth Pond, and it is a sloping hill from the DGS&RC fance to the waterline, dropping about 10 feet in elevation. that means the whole area will have to be leveled and prepped in order to put in a two lane road with parking on both sides. There is enough width there to do that, but not to save any of the trees. I counted 17 trees in the way that would have to be removed. The fence for the DGS&RC is about 30 feet behind the brush line. Given the slope leveling and the widths involved, most of the brush would be removed that hides each recreation area from the other.

From the fence facing N.

From the fence facing N.

All along this area I counted 17 trees in the way. The fantastic looking River Birches would all be spared, as they are all by the waters edge. The park benches would have to either be removed or relocated.

At the corner of the NW corner of the DGS&RC is where the access road curves south past the main facility site. Thankfully, the Thor Lightening Guard Alarm is unthreatened.

Good news!

Good news!

It worked perfectly this morning, remaining silent throughout my morning stroll.

The main facility is proposed to be sited, mere feet away from the lot line. As you can see, there are a few trees in the way. Nine of them averaged 18″-22″ DBH, making them possibly predate the park itself.

Looking SE at the water facility N end.

Looking SE at the water facility N end.

To be honest, I couldn’t get a clear count of trees in this area. Well over 35. The site plan looks like it might clear the manicured area with benches immediately to the right of the trees in this picture. There’s also a manicured area with benches just south of the current path around the pond that looks like it would stay untouched.

Looking S at the main facility site.

Looking S at the main facility site.

At the south end of where the building becomes a two story locker room/offices/meeting room affair, there is no fence marking the boundary of the DGS&RC, and not much screening once past the bushes, just some pine trees that may or may not stay. It looks like the building would dominate the skyline here.

Further south, looking S.

Further south, looking S.

This is the same view, but looking S from the edge of the growth. this would all be removed. Most of the trees here are Ash, with some maples.

Remember those 30+ trees being removed that started this all off? They wanted to open up the area, residents were told, among other reasoning. If they wanted to open up the area, why is it choked with weeds now?

This is where the main parking lot would be located. they took some big trees out. i know, because I have big feet, size 13’s.

Looking NNE at the main parking lot site.

Looking NNE at the main parking lot site.

So I hope that this walk made sense. You can print out a copy of the site plan image at the top of this post and take it over to Patriot’s Park and walk it yourself to see what is proposed.

After doing it myself, I can’t support anything like that going in here. It gives the vast majority of the park over to the purpose of providing access and parking for the water facility, and I can’t imagine that’s what the future held for this nature area. Maybe another gravel path back there, take out all the weeds that have sprung up, a couple benches, and plant some more trees.

There are an appreciable number of ashes at PP. I don’t know how that plays into the whole pool thing if at all, but several of them front 55th Street.

Mind the gap.

Mind the gap.

There’s two other growing problems at Patriot’s Park. One is the metal retaining wall. It’s corroded and worn away at the top, presenting a jagged ragged edge under the lip cap. Small legs- say kid sized- could get caught or cut under there. The PD might think about some sort of repair.

Eww.  Mind the crap.

Eww. Mind the crap.

The other is the ever pooping hardly flying big rat gang that has taken over the park. there are proven ways to rid parks of these pests and their foul messes, and it would actually make the park a nicer place to boot. So where are the plantings that create a hostile area for Canadian Canada Geese and convince them to move on?

We're not a gang.  We're a club.

We're not a gang. We're a club.

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12 Responses to “Patriot Park Pics Point To Possible Pool Project Problems”

  1. C. Grammich Says:

    That second picture, if an accurate rendition, convinces me this won’t be happening in Patriots Park as long as the DGS&RC remains as well . . .

  2. markthoman Says:

    That’s the site plan Art supplied.

  3. Andrew J Says:

    FYI most Canadians I know strongly object to our avian rats being called “Canadian Geese”, the correct name for them is “Canada Geese” — they neither belong to nor come from there.

  4. markthoman Says:

    Canada Goose/Geese it is.

  5. John Schofield Says:

    Do these site problems that Mark describes make anybody else wonder about the quality of the planning in the consultants’ report?

  6. markthoman Says:

    After rereading the Ramaker Report, I wonder if what is being reported on and described is more a facility to compete for major swimming events in the midwest.

    Does the report address staffing needs and recurring costs? How many people would it take to run this year round? That’s a cost factor in the payback weighted over 10 or 20 years, yes? FT or PT? Benefits? What do you pay a full-time year round lifeguard?

    I read that 10 meter platforms are dangerous for recreational facilities, and a 50 meter pool, while certainly big: do these two items really fit what DG needs? I want them, but do I need them? I don’t know. What do you all say?

    IMHO, we have preteens, teens, and adults in need of a convenient, affordable, recreational public pool facility. How do second floor meeting rooms with kitchen capabilities address that? How many teens and preteens are going to be driving to the pool? Riding bikes? Being dropped off and picked up? Do those preteens, teens, and adult residents need year round capability? The whole pool idea is to address needs, right?

    The school year keeps kids pretty busy. Both HS’s have swim teams with pools and diving areas indoors where they can practice and compete.

    Is mission creep getting in the way of a simpler goal? I guess I keep coming back mentally to the idea of a municipal swimmin’ hole; someplace fun we can all kick back and relax at, goof off (safely) a little, that provides a few summer jobs for young people, and that costs less than a private club.

  7. C. Grammich Says:

    Mark, I’ve had many of the same thoughts. One possibility: the park district thinks it needs all those facilities to make the “pool” self-sufficient? I suppose it’s possible (if doubtful in my mind) that the $33M Ramaker year-round facility could be more self-sufficient, and therefore more likely to be “tax neutral,” than a $10M summer-only swimmin’ hole.

  8. John Schofield Says:

    None of this is honestly “tax neutral” if the Park District is spending taxpayer money on studies, staff time, and land (even if they already own it, it’s taxpayer’s money that bought it).

  9. Joanna Perez Says:

    One of the greatest assests of Downers Grove are the parks. I know many who travel from Naperville/Plainfield/Westmont, just to enjoy what we as residence take for granted, our beautiful parks, with large grand trees and the space to enjoy the outdoors. If a public pool is what the community really “needs” then lets find a location that does not deface a park that grown and matured with Downers Grove. PP, when I was growning up in DG was Barth Pond, has so many wonderful memories with my family and friends, and my children, third generation in DG, have already made it a part of our lives, fishing, walking our dog, picnics, and enjoying the playground afterschool. Lets not destory/deface something beautiful.

  10. John Schofield Says:

    There ARE open spaces in Downers Grove with direct access to major thoroughfares… I’m not proposing any of these, just noting they’re there… largely vacant Meadowbrook shopping center at 63rd and Woodward… various parcels in Elsworth Industrial Park… Ogden west of Lee… I’m sure you can visualize others.

  11. Patty Hurst Says:

    I would like to see the park stay as it is. Look for another open area that is not being used for this water park. We also have enjoyed this park for many years. Thank you.

  12. Val Vogt Says:

    One of the reasons we moved to Downers Grove over 20 years ago was because of the beautiful parks and conservative feel to the community.

    Concerns:
    How will the increased traffic / noise be handled?
    Where will all of the rain water go?
    How much will the liability insurance be?
    What will the energy costs amount to for an indoor facility?
    How much more will our taxes go Up?
    Does any body know if the Village looked at the property along Warrenville Road so that a big project like this would not have such a huge effect on the residential areas?


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