Elgin dedicates park renamed for Kiwanis Club
By Mike Danahey email@example.com @DanaheyECN October 24, 2013 12:42AM
The former Observatory Park in Elgin is now Kiwanis Park. | Mike Danahey / Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 26, 2013 6:21AM
ELGIN — Culminating a project in the works since early 2012, the city this week dedicated an improved and renamed park on the near southeast side.
The park, formerly known as Observatory Park, is now Kiwanis Park.
The park next, to the School District U46 Observatory, was undeveloped until the Kiwanis Club of Elgin became involved last year. Club members first met with Randy Reopelle, director of the Elgin Parks and Recreation Department, in early 2012 to discuss developing the park.
According to information provided by Kiwanis secretary Karen Maki, the group provides about $30,000 each year to support other local agencies and organizations that work with the area’s children. Over time, these gifts have totaled more than $1 million.
Maki said the club wanted to conduct a hands-on project and, after some discussion, decided Observatory Park could be improved to offer recreation and play for children living along Villa, St. Charles, National and other streets nearby.
Reopelle helped the club find other funding sources, which led to a gazebo being built last June and the project being completed in just over a year. Along with improving the park’s appearance, the gazebo is used as a shelter where more than 1,000 summer lunch program meals were served this year.
All told, the project cost $62,000 and was completed with contributions and/or labor from the Kane County Health Department, Housing Authority of Elgin, Lamp Inc., Kids Hope United, the Elgin Kiwanis Club and the city.
Earlier this year, Maki noted, the Elgin City Council approved the renaming of Observatory Park to Kiwanis Park. The Kiwanis plan to make future enhancements, and Reopelle hopes this project provides an example for further cooperative efforts undertaken by the city with community organizations.
More information regarding park development is available from the parks and recreation department at 847-931-6127. More information about the Kiwanis Club is available from Maki at 847-429-5976.