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DECATUR – While the Overlook Adventure Miniature Golf and accompanying restaurants are the most noticeable change, the Decatur Park District continues to chip away toward other additions in Nelson Park.

The district's board of commissioners last week approved a $633,000 contract with Dunn Co. to resurface the parking lot and road leading to Pavilion No. 2, near the former location of the Nelson Park swimming pool.

Ryan Raleigh, the park district's director of operations, said work is likely to begin this year, but it won't be completed until early next spring.

The pavilion previously received improvements as part of a state grant, but the asphalt work was not part of that funding, Raleigh said.

He said people would likely still be able to use the hill near the pavilion for sledding, though they wouldn't be able to park in the parking lot.

Other aspects of the state grant, which the district received in May 2013, are moving toward fruition.

The district has received more than 20 pieces of stationary outdoor fitness equipment, which Raleigh said he hopes to have in place near the dog park by the end of this year. The exercise stations include items such as exercise bikes, ellipticals and chin-up bars.

Raleigh is still working with the equipment manufacturer to determine what type of material should be used underneath the stations, such as concrete, rubberized surface or Fibar wood chips.

“This isn't a playground; it's a fitness park,” he said. “But you still have the fear, if I put something over concrete and a kid climbs up on a pull-up bar and falls, he can get hurt. We're trying to figure that out now as to what to put under these.”

The park is also slated to receive a mountain biking path next summer, as well as a bioswale and native plantings.

Next year, it will also begin work on a large amphitheater on the shoreline near the rock garden. The district received a $2 million state grant and $1.5 million donation from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation in September for the amphitheater, which is a key element of the ongoing lakefront development.

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Regional Editor

Regional editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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