PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — In an effort to improve access and user experience at Peoria’s Glen Oak Park, staff has proposed tearing down the Glen Oak Amphitheater to make way for two new shelters, restrooms, and a playground.
The Peoria Park District discussed new ideas for the future of Peoria’s oldest park, which left some residents disagreeing with the potential plans.
“Today we are starting a conversation with the community about what is … possible in Glen Oak Park,” Peoria Park District Executive Director Emily Cahill said.
The main possibility discussed was the removal of the Glen Oak Amphitheater.
“The possibility we are talking to the community about is the removal of the fence amphitheater, the removal of the bandshell, and replacement of that with a fully accessible playground and two shelters and new accessible restrooms,” Cahill said.
The projected $2 million project has some residents, like Lance Sperry, devastated.
“When I first moved here, they had … the municipal band they had the Caterpillar big band, they had the Barbershoppers and all kinds of just events here,” Sperry said. “I just want to know why they can’t bring that back, and [instead] they want to tear it down. It’s been here since 1959.”
Cahill said the planned changes are due to a lack of use from the community.
“As a park district, we only use the Glen Oak Amphitheater about 15 times a year,” Cahill said. “We see that for 350 days a year, nobody goes into that space, and it’s about 12-15 acres of land that could be used on a daily basis.”
Sperry suggested bringing more programs to the amphitheater, but Cahill said the proposed changes will allow for more activities, including special events like the Third of July.
“The idea to have more programs here, that’s not wrong. But, we can have more programs in this park without that space,” Cahill said.
The park district is still contemplating what to do, and no plan is set in stone yet.
“It’s really, really important that people use their voice. If they have an opinion, we need to talk about it. I’m not going to change everyone’s mind, I know,” Cahill said.
The park is offering several ways for the public to provide input on the changes to Glen Oak Park, including:
- Emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
- Provide feedback through the “contact Us” page at PeoriaParks.org
- Join public input sessions on either Monday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. or Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. or watch via Facebook live on the district’s Facebook page
- Join the Park District’s Facebook lives every Friday in August and September at 10 a.m.
- Visit Emily Cahill during the Talk about it Tuesday/Thursday events in Lakeview Park beginning Aug. 12.
A full list of upcoming events should be available on the park district’s website.