The Open Space Land Acquisition & Development matching grant is designed to help communities develop and enhance recreational spaces and opportunities. This collaborative project between the Village of Itasca and Itasca Park District will include replacement of the 38-year-old gazebo with a new performance gazebo and plaza, an interpretive trail around the existing pond, natural play area, interpretive gardens showcasing native and pollinator species, and site improvements throughout the park, which will bring the entire site up to ADA standards and provide new path locations to provide access to existing amenities.
Mayor Jeff Pruyn expressed his excitement about the project commenting, “This project is a great example of what government can achieve when we work together. The improvements at Usher Park support the Village’s Downtown Strategic Plan, along with the Park District’s master plan and Illinois’s priority of enhancing open space.”
In the summer of 2023, representatives from the Village and Park District sought input from the community to help shape the Usher Park proposal. The Village and Park District worked together to prepare the grant application with the purpose of enhancing business and development growth downtown, improving mobility and accessibility within Usher Park, and enhancing the amenities within the community.
It is anticipated that the project will be completed by the spring of 2026 in accordance with grant guidelines, allowing for a minimal impact on park programs and events. Both entities will contribute financially to the project and will continue to work collaboratively to redevelop and program the park ultimately enhancing the space and offerings to the Itasca community.