The Fox Valley Park District invites the public to join its grand opening ceremony for Blackhawk Park on Wednesday, Oct. 18, at 4 p.m.
Located along Galena Boulevard between Blackhawk and View streets on Aurora’s near west side, Blackhawk Park is built on the site where the original West Aurora High School stood since 1905.
The site’s historical significance played an influential role in its planning and development – as did Park District residents, who helped shape concept plans through open house forums last winter. Naming of the park was also put to public vote, with “Blackhawk” the overwhelming favorite.
“This has been a collaboration of community all along,” said Park District executive director Jim Pilmer. “We’re proud to have converted this into a public amenity that is free and open for everybody to enjoy.”
The ceremony will include appearances by three local citizens who share a long association with the site and the schools that stood there – Neal Ormond (West Aurora Junior High School), Larry Shepard (Benjamin Franklin Junior High School) and Dr. Paul House (Aurora Christian schools).
The park’s highlight design feature is a centralized, circular “great lawn” area that encourages unstructured play. The northeast section of the park features innovative playground equipment, a splash pad (open next spring) and a unique shelter reminiscent of the old West Aurora High School.
An interpretive plaza offers educational opportunities and environmental awareness, marked by a flagpole at the entrance – the same flagpole location as it was for the high school. The plan also provides an area for public art displays.
Extensive landscaping – including a rain garden adjacent to the splash pad – will buffer the park from nearby traffic and provide natural beauty.