by Dave Noble, “Your Neighbors and Your Neighborhoods” Beat Writer
ELMHURST – Complaints from residents who live near Salt Creek Park have caused the Elmhurst Park District to reconsider a key component of the city’s first “Playground for the Elderly”, scheduled to begin construction in May. Those who have expressed concern are focusing on the plan to build three adjacent shuffleboard courts next to the playground.
“Shuffleboard is the type of activity that brings around a lot of people who don’t even live in Elmhurst” said Paul Grossman, who owns a house two blocks away from Salt Creek Park. “And with this particular location right off of Route 83, I have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to attract a lot of Oak Brook seniors.”
Grossman and about a dozen other Elmhurst residents voiced their displeasure during a recent park district open house, where plans were formally unveiled. Structures and equipment for the playground are to include several walking ramps reaching up to 18” off the ground, eco-friendly warm water foot baths and nearly three dozen benches.
“I’m all for the playground itself,” continued Grossman, “because most of people who use it would be off to Rainbow Restaurant or at home having supper by 4:00 p.m. But these shuffleboard players might be out there until who-knows-when. 6:30? 6:45?”
Park district officials were surprised by the reactions.
“I don’t understand why people are so worried about a few shuffleboard courts” said Board of Park Commissioners president Neil Foley. “I thought maybe we would hear some backlash on the weekend Bingo tournaments idea we’ve been kicking around, or the 41 handicapped parking spots. But this is ridiculous.”.
The next scheduled open house is for 7:00 p.m. on February 3rd at the Wagner Community Center, where the board will listen to more feedback from residents, followed by a vote on whether to amend the plans.