July 1, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Group asking for feedback on community building proposal

Almost exactly a year ago, St. Joseph resident Jim Page presented the St. Joseph Village Board with a plan to improve Woodard Family Park.

The plan called for the complex to provide the community with four baseball or softball diamonds, six soccer fields of various sizes for the high school and recreation league play, a football field, three basketball courts, bleachers for fans, a playground, a large concession stand, a large pavilion, parking for 400 spaces, a one-mile walking path, and a community center.

A large part of the plan focused on Page’s desire for the St. Joseph-Ogden soccer team to play at Woodard Park.

Page told the village that the field the team previously played on at Hackler Park didn’t meet IHSA requirements and the fact that the school had no way to charge admission at Hackler Park meant they could not hold IHSA postseason games.

The village and the high school worked out an agreement where the high school field was moved to Woodard for the 2019-20 season.

The second part of Page’s plan called for a community building at Woodard Park.

The village has $317,000 set aside in CDs for the building of a community building.

A community building would be a multi-million dollar endeavor.

Villa Grove recently received a state grant of $2.1 million for a new community building and Villa Grove Mayor Cassandra Eversole-Gunter said that would cover more than half of the project which will include a gym, locker rooms, seating for fans, a walking track, kitchen, concession stand, restrooms, and storage.

The community group Page is spearheading is working with the village to determine the design, location, and management of a proposed community building.

They said they believe the first step of the project is to survey the citizens of St. Joseph and the surrounding area to determine interest and support for the project.

They are also specifically looking for input on who would use the community building and for what purposes.

The committee is considering a large room that would hold 300 seats, additional meeting rooms, a possible village board meeting room, bathrooms, kitchen, outdoor area and off-street parking.

The group plans on applying for public and private grants to offset the cost of the building.

The group is asking residents to take a survey to see if there is support for the building. You can take the survey here.

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