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Wittenberg Woods Park Taking Shape After Public Meeting

Luther Oaks
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The new Wittenberg Woods Park would be located near Luther Oaks in southwest Bloomington.

Wittenberg Woods Park in far southwest Bloomington has been on the city’s radar for years. After a public meeting Tuesday night, the new space is one step closer to reality.

The City of Bloomington has proposed a playground, shelter, and park trail near the Luther Oaks Retirement Community and Lutz Road, just west of the Prairie Vista Golf Course. Luther Oaks residents shared their input at Tuesday’s public meeting, hosted by the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts department.

“Everybody was pretty happy with what we discussed last night, which is fantastic,” Jay Tetzloff, director of Bloomington Parks and Rec, said Wednesday. “You know, when you have a public meeting like this, you don’t know how they're going to go. They (meeting attendees) liked our concept. They added some things like putting benches around the trail through the park.”

Luther Oaks residents have strongly advocated for the area to be transformed into a space suitable for enjoying the outdoors. Tetzloff said he believes listening to people has helped make the park-planning process run smoother.

“It doesn't do us any good to put in a park that we think is the right one when it's not the right fit for them. They're the ones who are going to use it. And it needs to be a good addition to the parks we already have,” he said.

Bloomington Parks and Rec has worked on many neighborhood parks in the past and is using what they’ve learned to improve Wittenberg Woods, he said.

“I think we're fine-tuning a little bit how we do these public meetings and getting the feedback. And we're doing these (park projects) for the neighbors, so every time is just a little bit different. But I think we're getting a little bit better at the process, and helping getting the word out to everybody who's involved. I think we're hitting the true stakeholders we need to hit,” says Tetzloff.

With grant funding, Tetzloff said he expects construction on Wittenberg Woods Park will begin around March 2020 and will cost around $250,000.

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Amina Jinadu is a social media and online writing intern at WGLT and a student at Illinois State University's School of Communication. She began working at WGLT in summer 2019.