Freeport, Illinois — The history of Oakdale dates back to 1895 and the creation of what became the Oakdale
Camp Meeting Association that held annual evangelical revivals on the property until the late 1960s. All of Oakdale’s existing structures were built by this Association or its successors to support these revivals. The Tabernacle or Auditorium was built in 1915.
A master plan for the 133-acre park was developed in 2015 with the help of a Chicago planning firm, Ratio Architects at a cost of $20,000. A series of four (4) Focus Group meetings were held with the public in mid-August and additional input gathered in a followup meeting on August 24 where preliminary concepts were presented to the Park Board.
After verifying the structural integrity of the building, Dewberry Architects hosted three (3) community input sessions on April 9, 2018. A total of 40 community members participated in these input sessions. Written comments from staff and the community were submitted for consideration in the days following April 9. On May 15, 2018, five concepts were presented to the Park Board for review and three options emerged for further consideration.
#1 Repurpose the Auditorium as an outdoor pavilion.
#2 Complete a historic restoration of the building.
#3 Preserve the steel frame to keep option #1 or #2 possible in the future.
On Tuesday, August 7, 2018, the Park Board voted to place an advisory referendum on the November ballot. “Shall the Board of Park Commissioners of the Freeport Park District spend up to $1,257,810 of public funds renovating the auditorium at the Freeport Park District’s Oakdale Nature Preserve Park?” Yes or No.
This ballot question is non-binding or advisory which means the referendum will not increase property taxes. It was prepared by the Park District’s attorney and approved by the County Clerk. The most expensive or largest of the three options under consideration was specifically selected so all three options (“up to”) can be considered.
The ballot question is non-binding or advisory which means the results of the vote will not authorize an increase in property taxes. The results of the vote will be used to assess public opinion on the auditorium and provide Park Board members with valuable information as they consider the auditorium and Oakdale as well as the rest of the District’s parks and facilities.
The public is invited to view the interior of the Auditorium on Thursday, November 1, 2018 from 4:30-6:00 p.m. and Sunday, November 4, 2018 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. Public viewings will take place at one of the entrances to the Auditorium. No one will be allowed to enter the building due to health and safety concerns.
Oakdale Nature Preserve Park is located at 4433 S. Cranes Grove Road which is 3 miles south of South Street on Baileyville Road. For more information, call the Administration Center at 815.235.6114 or send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org