Sussex Village Park Development Met With Positive Reaction
The multi-million dollar overhaul to the park was met with mostly positive comments during National Night Out, a change compared to usual comments.
After the Village of Sussex released 3-D renderings and detailed plans to completely reconstruct Sussex Village Park, scores of negative comments were posted on Patch lashing out at officials – but Wednesday night sounded different.
Sussex held the first of two “open house” style meetings at National Night Out in the parking lot of Village Hall from 6-8 p.m., and while there were still residents who said they didn’t care for the plan, a majority of the voices liked the idea of the redesign. It was quite a change of pace compared to the initial reaction from Patch readers.
Nancy Kanter, a Sussex resident who runs a daycare, says she loves the idea to redevelop Village Park. The new amenities are things she could potentially utilize when taking care of area children.
“I run a home daycare, and I really like that splash pad,” Kanter said. “I know a lot of people don’t, but it doesn’t require as much maintenance or a lifeguard (compared to a pool). Any park with playground equipment and things to do, we’ll go a lot.”
“Not a single person has come to the multiple meetings we’ve held asking us not to do this.”
And Kanter wasn’t the only one who liked the idea. One Sussex resident who lives near the park was excited about the new amenities like baseball diamonds that will be in walking distance for his children.
And while local resident Lynn Taavola says she likes the idea for a newly developed park, she not sure she’ll actually see the day when it’s completed.
“I don’t think it’ll ever get done,” Taavola said. “It seems ambitious, especially the baseball diamond part where we don’t even own the land yet. But I guess it would be pretty nice.”
While the renderings showed the park after its completion, Taavola’s right. Village Administrator Jeremy Smith says this project could take, not years, but many decades to complete. It’s currently divided into four phases, but that could easily change.
Want to know what new amenities will be in the park, along with the reason why it's being reconstructed? Read our story with all the details here.
Want a Vote? Think Again
Because the project would be completed in multiple small phases over a long period of time, it’s currently not slated to go into referendum where residents vote to approve or deny the plan.
Smith said more than a million dollars would need to be spent on a single project in the park for a referendum to be considered, and that worries some residents. Taxpayers are currently slated to fund the project, along with other grants and donations. However, according to Trustee Tim Dietrich, feedback on the project has been mainly positive since discussions began more than a year ago.
“Not a single person has come to the multiple meetings we’ve held asking us not to do this,” Dietrich said. “They’ve come in asking for changes and tweaks, and we’ve considered them and made some of them, but nobody ever asked us to stop.”
And while the project is planned to span many decades, new estimates on the total cost just went up – from $11 million to $13 million. New 3-D designs of the park provided greater details, and with new lights and buildings, the project is costing more.
However, Smith says residents shouldn’t react to the news quite yet, as this development is still a plan, with extra emphasis on the word “plan.” Sussex is currently planning for a potential redesign, and “nothing is set in stone,” Smith said. That’s why the village was collecting comments during Wednesday’s event.
The next “open house” meeting will be during the final Sounds of Sussex concert on August 16. After the comments are tallied, they’ll be brought to the Parks Board, changes might be made, and then it will be presented to the Village Board for review.