Allerton Park Plans For Future
By Jim Meadows
Allerton Park is working with an architectural firm and holding public meetings as it works through a planning process intended to get itself ready for the next generation of visitors.
Robert Allerton donated his mansion, forest-land and farms near Monticello to the University of Illinois in the 1940s. Since then, it’s been used as a park and conference center with few changes, except for the construction of a lodge.
Allerton Park Director Bruce Branham says they’re now working with the RATIO architectural firm… to find ways to enlarge Allerton’s facilities to accommodate larger groups and attract more visitors ---- without spoiling those aspects of the park that make it special.
"It’s a delicate balance that we want to maintain", said Branham, "because the very beauty of the park is the fact that you can get there and experience nature, the artwork, the gardens in a very peaceful way. And we don’t want to lose that."
Allerton Park has already hosted one public meeting about the planning process. Branham says public feedback is welcome at another meeting set for Wednesday, August 27th, at 1:30 PM at the Allerton Mansion. Local lawmakers will be taking part in the session, including State Senator Chapin Rose, Representative Bill Mitchell and Congressman Rodney Davis.
Branham says they expect to hold another public meeting in September, when some conceptual designs for Allerton are ready for viewing.