St. James Farm Picnic Pavilion Improvements

Planning Project

St. James Farm: Picnic Pavilion Improvements

Summary of Work

The popular 150-person picnic pavilion at St. James Farm Forest Preserve is one of the District’s most often reserved picnic shelters. The pavilion is in need of repairs and improvements to extend its useful life to support existing and future programs at the preserve.

Plans call for replacing the cedar shake roof with an asphalt shingle roof; repairing posts and foundations to stabilize the structure; connecting both sides of the pavilion with a covered roof to protect from weather; adding a permanent grill patio to the south shelter; and providing benches and artificial turf game courts. In addition, the entire floor of the shelter and the outer plaza space will be replaced to meet accessibility guidelines and increase capacity of the shelter for larger group use (up to 200 people).


The pavilion is currently closed for improvements. The District’s Planning Department has worked with a consultant to put together complete construction drawings and submitted for permits in summer 2020. The construction contract was awarded in September 2020, and work began in October 2020. Unfortunately, the structure's deterioration was more extensive than anticipated and further work needs to be done. Construction is expected to finish by July 2021. 



The project received a $150,000 matching grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program. The District has allocated $155,000 toward this project.