Willowbrook families enjoyed the new play areas at Willow Pond Park at the park’s grand re-opening Saturday.
The park, which encompasses just 4.2 acres and a pond on the northeast corner of Plainfield Road and Adams Street, underwent a six-month renovation, thanks to a $400,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Willowbrook officials, including Mayor Frank Trilla, welcomed community members with music, refreshments, face painting and other children’s activities.
A splash pad was added that has water jets shooting up from the circular base and a frog spraying water from its mouth to keep children cool on a hot day.
A sidewalk circles the pond, which is stocked with fish, and leads from a new large playground with swings and a slide to two smaller play areas that include a teeter-totter and a climbing web.
“Everything is new,” said Ramona Garcia, who had her four children at the park the day before the grand opening. They liked the handicap-accessible surface in the playground area because it’s soft and cushioned.
A new picnic shelter with picnic tables and grills was installed, too.
Display boards along the path highlight native plants, birds and butterflies in Illinois.
A handicap accessible fishing pier gives everyone a chance to pull a fish from the pond.
A fishing derby for children ages 5 to 14 will be held at Willow Pond Park from 10 a.m. to noon June 23. Prizes will be awarded for the most fish caught, largest fish and most unusual catch. The entry fee is $7 for residents, $14 for nonresidents.
During the re-opening of the park, Willowbrook officials unveiled and dedicated a memorial to abused animals. The memorial is the headstone over the grave where the remains of Noah were buried this month.
Noah, a black and tan puppy about 6 months old, had suffered numerous fractures and injuries before he was found dead in a suitcase that was abandoned outside a Willowbrook townhouse in 2015.