SOUTH BELOIT — People can get a glimpse at plans for a new park in South Beloit if they stop by Nature at the Confluence before Aug. 15.
Artist renderings of plans for a new park are on display and residents are being asked to let city officials know which features they like the best by placing stickers on their favorite features.
Residents can stop by the Nature at the Confluence Learning Center, 306 Dickop St. from 10 a.m.—3 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and from noon—4 p.m. Sunday to view the images of park plans. Residents can place stickers on the posters set up at the center to identify the features they like best. Children are welcome to participate.
Ayers Architects, the firm that helped design Nature at the Confluence, provided the artist’s renderings of park plans. The city hired the firm to help design a new park.
Plans for a new park, neighboring Nature at the Confluence at the corner of Blackhawk Boulevard and Charles Street, began after City Park was closed due to flooding.
Ken Morse, who serves as commissioner of public property on the city council, said the plans started forming, not only to provide an alternative park, but to improve the curb appeal of the city.
“We knew we had to do something to enhance the appearance of the city,” Morse said.
He then started meeting with the Beautify South Beloit committee members and asked for their input for a new park plan.
The flooding of City Park also was an incentive to look at an alternative park area.
City Park has been closed since October of 2018 due to flooding. The park was closed in 2008 due to flooding and remained closed for more than two years because flood waters did not recede.
“We haven’t given up on the park. It’s just that, at this point, we don’t know what will happen,” South Beloit Mayor Ted Rehl said.
City officials had been looking at the possibility of installing a splash pad somewhere in the city before plans for a new park started. Soon, it became apparent that the splash pad’s best location would be at the new park area.
Morse said plans initially were to install the splash pad this summer, but the financial difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.
“We have some money set aside for the project, but we don’t want to do anything until we are financially sound enough so we are not taking away from any other needs,” Morse said.
Right now, plans are for the splash pad installation to go forward next spring.
The park features depicted in the images on display at Nature at the Confluence include slides and other playground equipment, a hedge maze, outdoor shelters, walking paths and more.
After more public input is collected, the city parks and recreation commission will review plans and present a recommendation to the city council.