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By Josh Bootsma
LANSING, Ill. (October 5, 2021) – In the last year-and-a-half, the pandemic has made outdoor spaces increasingly important. In the coming months and years, Lan-Oak Park District wants to continue to improve and innovate its outdoor spaces to better serve the Lansing community. Their plans include sand volleyball courts at Lan-Oak Park, basketball courts at Bock Park, a skate park within Park Plaza, and new equipment in the dog park.
Sand volleyball at Lan-Oak Park
Lan Oak-Park District Senior Superintendent Sharon Desjardins said sand volleyball has been the plan for some time for Lan-Oak Park. Construction was hoped to start this fall, but delays have pushed the project to next spring.
The three worn-out tennis courts on the east side of Lan-Oak Park will be demolished and replaced by three sand volleyball courts. The lighting at the location will remain. The project will also add some paths around the courts, as well as seating.
“That’s a definite ‘go,’ but it’ll be in the spring,” Desjardins said of the delayed project.
Lan-Oak Park is located immediately south of the Eisenhower Center, at the corner of 180th Street and Arcadia Avenue.
Master plan at Bock Park
Lan-Oak Park District is currently creating a master plan for Bock Park, a large park which currently hosts a dog park, playground equipment, and a basketball hoop. Desjardins said although the master plan is still in the works, it will likely include new three-on-three basketball courts, with potential for some smaller courts for single-person shooting as well.
“If we do nothing else [at Bock Park], we will probably do that,” Desjardins said of the new basketball courts. “That’s something we’ve wanted to offer for a long time, and we just needed the right place for it.”
That place is currently the home of Lansing’s only skate park, which is planned to move to Park Plaza.
Another, more immediate addition at Bock Park is new equipment for the dog park. Opened in 2018, Lan-Oak Park District has added an improvement to the park each year, including shade trees, a sprinkler system, and now new playhouses for dogs. The new playhouses have been ordered and are expected to arrive in October.
Desjardins said the dog park had about 100 member dogs when it first started. That number has since decreased to about 50.
Bock Park is located at 175th Street and Chicago Avenue.
Skate park at Park Plaza
Turning the large green space in downtown Lansing into more of a destination has been an ongoing goal of the Lan-Oak Park District. “Park Plaza” refers to the area of grass immediately south of the Lansing Clock Tower, and east of the American Legion.
Desjardins said planning is still in-progress for the land, but the first phase will be a new skate park.
“That will not be the individual pieces we have currently [at Bock Park], it will be the concrete molded type of skate park,” Desjardins said, adding that the Park District is currently in discussion with contractors about the new park.
In coming years, Lan-Oak Park District hopes to add an all-seasons ice skating rink to Park Plaza as well. The rink will be made of “glice,” a synthetic material designed to imitate ice.
“It saves a significant amount of money over trying to maintain ice,” Desjardins said.
“We always knew when we did the master plan that it would be phases. … We don’t have the money to do something like that immediately, all together. So then the question becames, what should be phase one?” Desjardins said.
She explained that with tentative plans in place for basketball at Bock Park — which will take the place of the current skate park — a new skate park was the clear choice for phase one of Park Plaza.
“Our current skate park is not in the best of locations as far as convenience. … Kids that enjoy skate parks, they want to be seen. They’re very good at what they do,” she said, adding that some skateboarders already skate in downtown Lansing.
The project is still in the planning phase, but Lan-Oak Park District hopes to start construction sometime next year on the project.
The Lan-Oak Park District is a public body and meets every month to discuss park district business, including the projects listed above. Meetings occur on the third Monday of the month at the Eisenhower Center at 6:30 p.m.
- Video: Nine parks in nine minutes (July 30, 2021)
- Dog park updates from the Lan-Oak Park District Board meeting (July 22, 2021)