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Plainfield recreation center plans moving forward

Residents disappointed swimming pool wasn't included

PLAINFIELD – The Plainfield Township Park District is getting closer to the realization of an indoor recreation center.

The district went before the village of Plainfield Plan Commission on Tuesday to present its plan for the center, which would be located at Bott Park on Renwick Road if approved by the village. The center is slated to be built on 19 currently empty acres at the park.

The facility would have basketball courts, a gymnasium, fitness center, running track, multipurpose room and daycare.

This comes after voters approved a referendum in November that allows the district to improve neighborhood parks and facilities and build a new recreation center with bonds in the amount of $10.5 million.

With internal costs, the recreation center is expected to be about $7.5 million with $7 million of the cost coming from the voter-approved referendum. The district is lacking in indoor facilities for a community of its size, officials have said.

Bott Park currently includes a playground, picnic areas, concessions, trails, a basketball court, baseball fields and a skate park.

Several residents were disappointed at the Tuesday meeting that the plan didn’t include an indoor or outdoor aquatic center, while neighboring communities such as Bolingbrook and Joliet have aquatic facilities. Additionally, Plainfield schools do not have aquatic facilities and this forces parents to take their kids to other towns for fun or competitive swimming.

Jennifer Rooks-Lopez, on behalf of the park district, said the facility will be designed so that an aquatic area could be added to the north end of the building without having to reconstruct the entire building. She explained that an aquatic center simply wasn’t attainable with the referendum dollars, but if demand rises it could be added a later date if residents so choose.

One resident said she attended feasibility study meetings and the possibility of a pool was a big part of the discussion. She thought the pool would be a priority. 

Officials from the park district responded that a pool ranked just below the pressing needs of having other indoor recreation areas and a daycare when the study was conducted.

Commissioner Andrew Heinen asked for more information on where the pool might be and what would have to be done in order to add it.

“it’s the least that we can do because there were a lot of residents who were disappointed,” Heinen said. “We just want to make sure it’s planned appropriately for the future.”

The plan commission made a positive recommendation to the village board for a special use permit for the recreation center, subject to a few stipulations. The village board will review the proposal at a future meeting.

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