Written by Jack McCarthy
Wednesday, 13 March 2013 00:00
Artist's conceptual drawing of a playground area at Lippold Park. The Fox Valley Park District is set to resume work on the Park with Phase II of a redevelopment project.
Further development of Lippold Park will continue this spring, following approval by the Fox Valley Park District Board of Trustees on Monday of an $814,500 bid to R.C. Wegman Construction Company of Aurora.
Lippold Park – a 30-acre natural area tucked between the Fox River and Route 25, just north of Red Oak Nature Center – is being developed in phases as an outdoor educational venue.
Phase II improvements include construction of a shelter-styled “tree house” structure built amid an amphitheater setting with interpretive displays and observation areas. An accessible skywalk will run around a portion of the perimeter. A centralized fire pit and rock-ledge seating with electrical outlets are featured as well.
Trees will be interspersed throughout the new construction, with a nature-based playground area for children.
Plans also call for reconstructed wetlands and restoration of the small pond with a boardwalk lining the pond’s west edge and extending to the Fox River
“This exciting project will create opportunities to enjoy outdoor educational experiences year-round that reflect the changes of each season,” said Jeff Palmquist, director of planning, development and grants.
Last fall, as part of Phase I work, a half-mile paved trail was constructed and has been a popular venue.
The looped trail enhances river front access and connects to the Fox River Trail, which also was widened from 10 feet to 12 feet.
The project is part of the 2008 Open Space Park and Recreation (OSPRI) plan that reinvests funds into community parks. An additional $400,000 was allocated to the project from an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Completion is expected by next fall.
MapleFest at Red Oak—Red Oak Nature Center will be offering an early, sweet taste of spring on Saturday, March 16, when the annual MapleFest takes place.
The event is free to the public, with no registration required.
Tours will run every hour beginning at 9 a.m. (final tour at 1 p.m.), with naturalists from Red Oak leading visitors to various stations in the woods to view demonstrations of how maple sap is harvested and turned into delicious maple syrup. Each group will tap a maple tree, then witness the process of how sap is boiled and converted into syrup. Group taste-tests will follow.
“Early spring is the perfect time to collect maple sap because the days are getting warmer but the nights are still cold,” said Margaret Gazdacka, facility supervisor at Red Oak.
“Visitors will get to witness this age-old practice of taking sap from a tree and turning it into the syrup you use on your pancakes.”
Maple-themed treats and hot beverages will be available for a small fee.
Also, the event will feature items for sale from Vermont – the maple syrup-producing capital of the world – that include small bottles of maple syrup, maple doughnuts and maple jerky.
Red Oak Nature Center is located on Route 25 in North Aurora, one mile north of Route 56. For more information, contact Red Oak at 630-897-1808 or visit the District’s website at www.foxvalleyparkdistrict.org.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 13:29