Sycamore to expand community center

By Lark Lewis

The Sycamore Park District plans to expand its community center to better service the city with 25 acres of land it acquired on Airport Road.

The community center will become Sycamore Park District’s “campus” with current and new services featuring a splash pad, dog park and sledding hill. These plans are for the long term; currently, the board is coming up with funding for the building the center. Schulz said the board isn’t going to start on the project until it figures out how it is going to be paid for.

“We want to develop year-round recreation,” said Michelle Schulz, Park District Board of Commissioners vice president. “We’re just a nine-month park district; starting with [adding] a sledding hill, and maybe further down the road a skating rink.”

A renovated sports complex is also being considered. Schulz said the complex at 138 N. Fair St. is just too small of a space and safety needs to remain the park district’s first priority.

Strack has lived in Sycamore his entire life and said it makes sense to want to enhance some of the city’s facilities.

“To me, it’s to make Sycamore the best place to live,” Strack said. “It’s all about promoting the community as a whole.”

Schulz said the Park District is eligible for grant money from the city and federal government, which is how the board is hoping to pay for added trails. Schulz said the board is committed to the plan, but it’s also committed to as much fundraising as possible to make this dream a reality.

“[Sycamore Park District] owns 80 acres that we’d like to see turn into a soccer complex and reconfigure our sports complex,” Schulz said.

Schulz said Sycamore Park District compiled a community-wide strategic planning team with members ranging from elementary school children to senior citizens. The team included citizens with special needs so the district can service all members of the community.

“We tried to determine the best we can do for what the community wants,” said Ted Strack, Board of Commissioners president. “We want to do what the community wants at the end of the day.”

Even though the changes are happening in Sycamore, some people in DeKalb are in favor of them.

“I think it’s a good idea,” said Sara Crews, sophomore elementary education major. “But I’d be more likely to use the Campus Rec.”

Strack said he hopes the new amenities will make the community more attractive and more businesses and residents will move to Sycamore.

“Our No. 1 request from the public was more trails to connect from one point in the community to another,” Schulz said.