Glen Oak Park might get a new playground, residents say replacement is overdue

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — For many, Glen Oak Park in Peoria brings back a lot of good memories.

“It’s been around for years, since I was a child, and I remember coming here, playing, and then going to the zoo,” said Cassy Melton.

“We would come up here for field trips and stuff. A little bit of sentimental value to the old one,” said Kara Doglio.

At 117 acres, Glen Oak Park is one of the largest around. It is home to the Tricentennial Playground, Peoria Zoo, Peoria PlayHouse Children’s Museum and Glen Oak Amphitheater.

On Wednesday night, the Peoria Park District Board of Trustees recommended six areas of improvement for the park. That would mean a brand new accessible playground, picnic tables, and half-basketball courts.

Some park goers said a new playground is way overdue. The Tricentennial Playground was built in 1992 and is made out of wood.

“I just had my granddaughter on here, and the slides are hot, and it needs to be replaced,” said Mari Osborne.

“It is a little hard to spot the little ones in this, how it’s set up currently. So hopefully they will rebuild something so that there is somewhere for the community to go. Somewhere big like this, especially the proximity to the zoo is great,” said Doglio.

Moreover, the new playground would be accessible, whereas the current one is not.

“We have moms, dads that need to be able to play with their children, or their children could even need it as well,” said Melton.

The Glen Oak Amphitheater would also see improvements as part of the board’s recommendations. It would get a new bandshell, and the fence and barbed wire would be removed.

There was a previous proposal to demolish the Glen Oak Amphitheater bandshell, but was scrapped after pushback from the community. The PPD held a public hearing for Glen Oak Park on Aug. 16.

The PPD Board of Trustees’ next meeting is on Sept. 29, where the board will vote to approve moving forward with the recommendations.

“I hope they listen to the people and think about what they’re going to do before they make a decision,” said Osborne.

The entire project is estimated at $2 million, according to the PPD.

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