Nearly 20 members of the McPhedran family joined in a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the new McPhedran Park in Oglesby on Saturday.
According to Jim McPhedran, the family deeded the land over to the developers with the stipulation that a portion of it be used for a park. McPhedran spoke about the history of the park during the grand opening on Saturday.
The McPhedrans purchased the property as farmland in the 1930s, McPhedran said, during the Great Depression.
“There was a lot of recreational activities that the city of Oglesby and its residents had the opportunity to participate in for a number of years (on the property),” McPhedran said. “It was Oglesby’s playground, in a sense.”
The city paid a portion of the $1.1 million cost to turn the land into a park with funding from an Open Space Land Acquisition and Development grant.
The new park features a playground and a lake surrounded by a 1/3-mile track. Finley said there are six exercise stations located around the track. The lake is stocked with fish, Finley said, but won’t be ready for fishing until probably next year.
“The big thing is it’s also a dog-friendly park,” Finley said. “Nobody had anywhere to walk dogs except on the street.”
Allison Spayer, DVM, of McNabb Veterinary provided discounted vaccinations for 15 dogs and 2 cats during the park’s grand opening celebration on Saturday afternoon.
Finley addressed a crowd of residents who gathered to celebrate the opening of the park.
“Oglesby is well-known for its parks,” he said. “Soon people will know where Oglesby is.”