Oak Brook Park District keeps rolling
Painting rocks in a 1994 Oak Brook Park District Playground Camp are (from left) Tiger Leader Tracey Degnan, Donald Romano, Susan Mazurek and Daniel Romano. | Doings file photo by Mike Johnson.
Updated: June 25, 2012 1:15AM
Though its official birthday is not until November, the Oak Brook Park District’s 50th anniversary celebration has been in full swing since winter.
Planning for the year-long celebration began late in 2011 when the 50th Anniversary Committee was established. The committee included staff members from all Park District departments and was assisted by Oak Brook Historical Society President Kathy Maher.
Officially chartered on Nov. 5, 1962, the Park District began this year with Winterfest, which featured a Park District classic.
With help from the Civic Association, funding from homeowners groups and assistance by the Oak Brook Fire Department, the Central Park ice rink officially opened the anniversary celebration.
“The Park District’s first program offered after it was organized in 1962 was ice skating,” said Executive Director Laure Kosey. “Winterfest was a community effort.”
The committee has decided to bring back some programs from the Park District’s past and coined the term “retro-programs.”
This summer will include archery (originally offered in 1978), horseback riding (originally offered in 1976) and flag football (originally offered in 1970) among other activities.
“Just seeing the retro styles of the kids in our summer camp photos has been really great,” said Administrative Assistant Bonnie Gibellina. “It reminded us of some of our popular programs and helped us decide what to bring back.”
Community assistance has long been a tradition of the Park District and the district once again reached out to the creative minds inside Oak Brook schools.
Students in Butler District 53 were asked to design this season’s brochure cover and fourth -grader Maggie Huber took home an iPad as her prize for the winning design.
In 1971, Judy Truedson won a $100 savings bond for designing the Park District’s insignia. The design continues to live on as the Park District’s seal. She is the sister of Park District commissioner Tom Truedson.
Facilities brought to the community over the years include the Family Aquatic Center, built in 1999; the Family Recreation Center, built in 1996; the Splash Park, built in 2005; and the Dean Nature Sanctuary, which was acquired in 2005.
The 40-acre parcel was transferred to the Park District by Dorothy Dean, who wished the site of her former home to remain undeveloped as a nature preserve. The site includes hiking trails, fishing pier on the pond, canoe/kayak launch on Salt Creek and gateway between the bike trail systems of DuPage and Cook counties.
More than 75 children participated in Saturday’s “50 Kites for 50 Years” in Central Park. (See coverage, page 8.)
In keeping with the celebration, the Park District’s Pioneer Movie Matinee will screen movies from 1962. Many more events are expected throughout the year.
Park District staff are modeling new uniform T-shirts with the district’s 1971 seal, a 50th anniversary logo and a 1960s design.
An official birthday celebration will be held Nov. 5 at the Park District as a way to celebrate with the community.
“We’re having a lot of fun with the 50th anniversary and are thankful for the community’s excitement as well,” Executive Director Kosey said.