NORMAL — Two Normal parks will be partially closed for up to six weeks, starting Monday, for upgrades.

Underwood Park, near Connie Link Amphitheatre in south Normal, and Champion Fields at west Normal's Maxwell Park, will be under construction from May 20 to about July 1, according to a town release.

Underwood will get a wider entrance off Linden Street and a wider drive from there to the Brander shelter on its north end, meaning that shelter will be inaccessible during the project.

"A new parking lot with 38 spots will be constructed, in addition to a connection from the parking lot to Constitution Trails’ Bloomer Line. Sidewalks will be added for access from the parking lot to the shelter," said the release. "Overflow parking for Connie Link Amphitheatre events will remain available in the grass area off Linden Street once the main parking lots are full."

Champion Fields will get additional parking, part of a series of upgrades coming to Maxwell Park in the next two years.

"The contractor will utilize the partial north bay to stage their equipment and supplies as the work is being performed. No cars will be able to park in this area," said the release; that bay is the northernmost section of the lot.

"The new parking area will connect the existing partial bay to the stubbed area to the east. Eight new handicapped accessible parking spots will be located on the most northern and eastern spots," said the release. "The existing handicapped accessible parking spots will be converted into regular parking spots adding approximately 38 total spots as part of this project."

Those upgrades are expected to start late summer and wrap up early fall. Normal City Council is expected to approve a $91,700 design contract for the park with Naperville-based Hitchcock Design Group on Monday.

The town will add $250,000 in capital projects money and $150,000 in parkland dedication funds for an $800,000, two-year overhaul, which will also include improved accessibility at the softball fields and trail extensions.

Contact Derek Beigh at (309) 820-3234. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_beigh


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