Community, Local, Nature, Park Forest, Recreation

Parks Director Provides Update on Somonauk Park

Director Kevin Adams provided an update on Somonauk Nature Adventure Park.
Kevin Adams, Park Forest Director of Recreation, Parks, & Community Health (VOPF Photo)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Kevin Adams, Park Forest’s Director of Recreation, Parks, and Community Health, provided an update on the long-delayed opening of the Somonauk Nature Adventure Park. The groundbreaking of the park was held in May of 2021, with the anticipated opening in July 2022. Adams now believes the grand opening will be in late Spring or early Summer of 2023.

The project has been beset with a host of delays, including backlogs of equipment and labor strikes impacting nearby asphalt plants. The equipment issue was the primary reason for the delays, as suppliers were impacted by the pandemic labor issues that affected the larger economy. Adams is hopeful that all the equipment on order will be received by the end of this year.

Adams noted that the next steps in the project include installing bubblers and a circulation pump for the pond, installing the new swings, and reseeding the prairie, and planting additional trees.

The original plan called for 175 feet of zip lines throughout the park. However, Adams said the village is finding it difficult to identify a commercial zip line that could accommodate the slope of the hill, but he is “hopeful that this feature will be available” at some point in the future.

Blue boathouse with wooden bridge in the foreground
While the boathouse is completed, the kayak launch has been delayed due to supplier issues. (VOPF Photo)

Adams said that the pond has been stocked with minnows, bluegill, catfish, and bass in anticipation of opening the park for fishing. The other major pond feature, kayak rentals, was delayed due to a delivery backlog for the kayak launch. The boathouse was completed, and the village secured six kayaks for use when the launch is installed.

Construction of a new park pavilion is also a victim of equipment delays. Adams is hopeful it will be completed in time for the grand opening. Once the pavilion equipment is received, the village will begin to accept reservations for its use.

On a positive note, Adams believes that the new basketball court at the park should be completed and ready for use in the coming weeks.

While Adams acknowledges that residents are frustrated with the delays, he is hopeful that the project is back on track. “Ultimately, I just want a safe and fun amenity for our community to enjoy.” He reported that village residents living near Somonauk Park received a letter from the village with an update on the project.

Adams assumed responsibility for the project when he was appointed the new Director following the retirement this summer of former Parks Director Rob Gunther.