The Department of Parks and Recreation Commission is hosting a public forum Sept. 12 to get input on improvements and funding $700,000 for Lilly Heights Park and the adjoining Greenway Trail.
Bill Kolstad, director of parks, recreation and forestry said the improvements are part of a master plan to convert the 35-acre site just northwest of Lilly Road and Hope Street from a neighborhood park to a district park.
"The idea would be to make this a place that would attract people from a wider area," Kolstad said. "The proposal is to improve the condition of the playing fields and make them more usable."
Improvements to the park date back to the 1980s, and the last time the area was addressed was in the mid-1990s.
A key component of the proposed improvements is to formalize the baseball diamond and soccer field so that more than one group can use the grounds at any one time.
Other details include construction of a new open-air shelter and relocation and expansion of a playground. Parking would be located with access from the west end of Lilly Heights Drive.
As part of the ongoing Greenway Trail System implementation, preliminary plans also have been developed to construct about 1,900 feet of off-road asphalt and boardwalk trail that would extend from the existing park to the west. This would be done through the environmental corridor south of Dublin Court and connect to Shamrock Lane near Dara Street.
Kolstad said cost estimates include $500,000 for the park and $200,000 for the trail.
Need public input
"Of course, the process will include public input and will require approvals for the project and the budget from the commission and the city," Kolstad said. If everything is approved and put into the city's capital budget, the project could be completed in 2014.
Public input is important, officials said.
"We want to communicate with the public and answer any questions," Kolstad said. "We'll have displays of the proposed improvements and people can talk to the city representatives and the consultants."
Kolstad said he expects a varied public response.
"You always have people who support these projects and others who don't support them," Kolstad said. "That is all taken into account."
Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Alan Nosbusch said public participation for such projects is historically low, but input is essential.
"Just because we have it designed by professionals, it doesn't stop people from suggesting changes," Nosbusch said. "We listen to that and, if it makes sense and fits into the budget, changes can be made."
Nosbusch said the improvement will be felt by residents "all over the northeast region of Brookfield." Children like his 10-year-old grandson will have a better place to play ball and enjoy other recreational outlets.
"We know people are busy and this type of meeting doesn't always fit their schedule, but we want to get as many people as possible to attend," he said.
WHAT: public review of recommended improvements to Lilly Heights Park and Greenway Trail
WHERE: senior center multipurpose room, 2000 N. Calhoun Road
WHEN: 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 12
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