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Residents Plot O'Neil Park's Future at Master Plan Meeting

Bloomington residents say they want a walking trail at O'Neil Park on the west side, concessions at the baseball field, and an extended swimming season.

That's according to input provided Tuesday during the first of three public meetings on a new master plan for the city's Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Arts department.

Bloomington Alderman Scott Black's Ward 7 includes O'Neil Park. The public sessions are a new way to include residents who contribute tax dollars to parks and rec, he said.

"I can't think of anything on this scale, at least in my tenure in city council," said Black. "We always have lots of listening sessions, but this is a really concentrated effort to get the most feedback from our residents." 

O'Neil Pool may see improvements under the new plan. Residents are asking for longer hours of operation at the pool, along with an extended season.

Parents say they worry about slippery floors in the shower stalls, and many believe a concession stand would be a moneymaker for O'Neil Park.

"I've heard a lot of people talk about a wave pool, so maybe that's an opportunity," said Black. "That pool is about 40 years old. We're just gathering feedback, hearing what residents have to say to improve our parks and recreation department and make sure it gets the best value for the taxpayer dollar."

The next meeting will be held at the Miller Park Pavilion at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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Baylee Steelman joined us in November 2016. She is a journalism major graduating in May 2018. She mainly covers Bloomington City and Normal Town Council meetings, Unit 5 School Board meetings, produces the weekend News In Review, and helps run GLT events. Baylee also produces and anchors at TV-10, Illinois State University's student TV news station.
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