DeKALB – Just in time for winter’s first snowy showing, the new sled hill in Hopkins Park is open for use.
The DeKalb Park District’s Board of Commissioners, staff and trustees from the Kishwaukee Water Reclamation District on Saturday held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate the grand opening of the 50-foot hill, which underwent a two-year construction.
Saturday’s ribbon cutting, only days after DeKalb received a historic early snowfall on Halloween, included pumpkin bowling on the hill, marshmallow roasting, hay rides and arts and crafts in the Hopkins Shelter next to a fireplace.
According to a news release from the park district, the idea for the hill was conceived in 2016 during the water reclamation district’s $48 million expansion at its plant, 1301 Sycamore Road.
“This project is a great example of intergovernmental cooperation that comes from innovative thinking and great communication between leaders, and the entire community will see its benefit,” the release stated.
DeKalb Park District Board President Phil Young said the hill is an added benefit for recreational opportunities in the city.
“Intergovernmental cooperation is a great way for our entities to make efficient use of tax dollars,” Young said in the news release. “And this sled hill provides another recreational opportunity for our residents, and we need to continue to provide more fun things in our community.”
During construction, district manager Mark Eddington approached park district staff members, who indicated they may have some dirt from the project needing to be disposed of and instead crafted an opportunity to use the leftover dirt for a sled hill.
Almost 125,000 cubic yards of dirt was piled up for the hill, which if hauled away would have needed 7,000 semi-truck loads, saving the water district $1 million, the release shows.
The project cost, $321,600, was shared by both districts, the release showed.
The dirt was hauled a short distance from the site to Hopkins Park, 1403 Sycamore Road, and now awaits the first significant snowfall of the year.
The hill offers 268 feet of sledding length and 191 feet for runoff, the release showed, and will be open for the remainder of the season.