After 54 years serving the Sussex community, leaders have a clear vision for how Village Park will serve residents for the next five decades or more.
After more than 2 ½ years of focus groups, meetings, and feedback from the community, the long range Village Park master plan received the stamp of approval from board members Tuesday.
“A little over 1,000 people lived in the village 54 years ago. No we have over 10,000,” said Village Trustee Tim Dietrich. “It’s served the community well, and it’s time to move forward and prepare ourselves for the next 50 years.”
In reality, the approval of the Village Park master plan is just the beginning. Over the next few decades, park improvements will gradually be made as the money is raised and structures are replaced. The master plan acts as a loose framework for all future improvements at Village Park.
There aren’t any specific timetables for implementing the four-phase master plan. Furthermore, the plan can continue to evolve as the years pass.
“There’s no real carved in stone way in which the improvements will be made. This is just a blueprint that can be changed, and probably will be changed, before this whole concept comes to pass,” Dietrich said.
However, it seemed village leaders had reached a milestone once the plan was unanimously approved.
“We’ve been through meetings with frequent user groups and went through four design tracts,” said Program Coordinator Megan Sackett. “It’s a park used by many people for many different activities. We took the time to lay it out with the proper use, and the plan is highly recommended by the Park Board.”
The most prominent feature of the revitalized park would be the baseball diamond quadplex, which would be situated on 20 acres of land east of Faith Lutheran Church. The quadplex would include additional parking, concession facilities and scoreboards. The park plans also feature a splash-pad, which was a compromise with requests for a pool.
The plan also includes other major additions like a redesigned Lions Open Air Shelter, soccer fields, tennis and sand volleyball courts, new storage facilities, additional pathways and more playgrounds.
The master plan will be folded in with the Sussex Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan allowing the village to be eligible for state and federal grant funds for the gradual redevelopment. Initial estimates for the cost of the preliminary stages of the project reached roughly $11 million, but those figures are far from set in stone.
Now, the Village Board will begin the incremental process of prioritizing improvements and finding pathways to fund those improvements.