Save Graf Park
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Besides being a very popular place to walk, run and play for local residents, Graf Park regularly hosts a wide range of events including the popular annual fireworks, the annual fly a kite day and a wide range of park district sports programs such as Rams football, soccer, lacrosse and softball. It is one of the few remaining large open green spaces in an otherwise increasingly developed Wheaton.
Graf park was donated to the Wheaton Park District in 1973 by William Graf. Mr Graf donated the land to the Wheaton Park District on the condition it would be used as a park to benefit the local community.
School District 200 is pushing a plan to acquire and demolish a large portion of Graf park and move the Jefferson preschool to the land currently occupied by Graf Park. The plan proposes demolishing 4.5 acres of the park, including the recently re-paved walking paths and the large green area extending from Manchester road to the rear football fields. In addition to building a 45,000 square foot building, a large parking lot and driveway for cars and buses would be constructed on the East side of the property directly adjacent to residential houses. The parking lot would extend approximately one city block down Westwood Drive. Local residents are not only deeply saddened about what the loss of a beautiful Wheaton park will do to the Wheaton community, but also deeply concerned and upset about the prospect of the installation of driveways and a large parking lot immediately adjacent to existing residences in a previously quiet family friendly neighborhood. Mr. Graf’s old house will be completely surrounded by driveways and a parking lot if the plan moves forward.
Like Graf Park, Jefferson preschool also serves an important role in our Wheaton community. The flourishing of this school is essential to maintain the quality of education Wheaton is known for. The school district has several alternatives available other than Graf Park, including the option to re-hab or to rebuild the neglected existing building at the existing location. Some of the other available options, including rebuilding in the existing location are lower cost than the proposed Graf Park demolition.
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