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Village Recreation

Woodridge

The Woodridge Park District’s new Athletic Recreation Center is open for business and, as a result, new programming abounds. Pickleball leagues and open play, as well as adult dodgeball, coed adult softball and indoor and outdoor coed adult soccer leagues have all been added, thanks to the new facilities. The spectrum of group exercise classes has also been enhanced with Pilates Barre, Strong by Zumba and a variety of Les Mils-trademarked classes like BodyPump and BodyCombat. Program. League and fitness information is available at www.wpdarc.org.

Summer camps have also been moved to the recreation center and a new Thursday morning play time for young children on the indoor turf field using a variety of inflatables was offered in the spring and will continue in the fall.

The popularity of the new dodgeball program also led to the establishment of a summer special event in July. Duck and Dodge Fest was held on the recreation center’s soccer fields for those in third grade and up, divided into age categories. Adults also competed against one another.

A third multi-activity court at the recreation center is expected to open next spring, according to Mike Adams, executive director of the Woodridge Park District. The court was part of the original plans for the facility design, to be funded by a $2.5 million grant from the State of Illinois. When that grant was postponed by the state, the project was scaled back. Now that the grant funding has been restored, construction on the third court will proceed.

Other capital improvements around the park district will include the clearing of invasive species from several woodland stands, the enhancement of 83rd Street Park adjacent to Sipley School with a picnic shelter, baseball dugout shelters, an open play field for passive and active recreation and walking paths, the construction of a path connecting Timber’s Edge and Ide’s Grove East Parks, various parking lot and pathway resurfacing/resealing and the addition of algae aeration systems to two district-owned ponds.

Finally, the Village Greens Golf Course is now participating in the national Youth on Course program for those aged six to 18. Youth who register online at youthoncourse.org can play Village Greens and scores of other golf courses around the country for $5 per round on weekdays.

Downers Grove

Improvements to facilities and programming that allow the Downers Grove Park District to better serve residents are a constant. In fact, they are currently working on a community-wide needs assessment survey, as well as focus groups, which will provide input for an updated master plan, according to Dawn Hartman, manager of marketing and creative development.

In the meantime, however, they continue to progress under the previous plan. For instance, a grant from Illinois Energy Now has recently allowed numerous behind-the-scenes improvements to make the Downers Grove Park District’s facilities more energy-efficient and “green.” Specifically, LED lighting fixtures have been installed in the recreation center and its parking lot, as have improvements to the gymnasium and fitness center environmental conditions with the installation of destratification fans.

The district also continues to implement its Americans with Disabilities Act improvements with regard to district walkways and sidewalks so that those in wheelchairs and other mobility issues can successfully navigate its parks and other facilities.

Finally, at the Downers Grove Museum Campus, the district has been transitioning rooms in the 1892 Blodgett House back to their original uses when the family lived there. The office has once again become the kitchen. The kitchen has been transformed back to a dining room and the dining room has once again become a sitting room.

“This is being done to more accurately interpret the house as a historic museum and also to accommodate furniture that we have received as a donation from Blodgett family descendants in Georgia. This includes a 1910 dining room table, eight chairs, a china cabinet and a sideboard for the dining room and a sofa and two side tables for the sitting room,” Hartman said.

Programming is also constantly evaluated, improved and expanded upon. For instance, the district will soon launch very affordable before and after school programming at the Lincoln Center. It will be available to anyone who lives or works in Downers Grove, however, it is specifically geared to students attending District 58 schools. The Link, as it will be called, will open at 6:30 a.m. each day and will close at 6:30 p.m.

Enrichment activities focused on recreation, nature, art and more will be provided. In addition, transportation to and from District 58 schools will be offered, as will transportation to other Downers Grove Park District facilities in the event that participants want to take advantage of other programs at this time, Hartman noted. Registration will be ongoing and children may be enrolled for between three and five days per week, mornings and/or afternoons.

At the Downers Grove Golf Club, a new 1892 Loyalty Club is being offered which is free to join. Members get a free round for every 10 rounds they play, as well as discounts and other perks.

Finally, some new special events are planned this fall. The annual Haunted House event will be moved from the Lincoln Center to a newly-acquired vacant house adjacent to McCullum Park. Details will be announced soon.

In addition, Harvest Fest on Sept. 30 has been reworked. The Downers Grove 5-Miler Race, which previously was held in the summer, has been moved to the morning of Harvest Fest and an eight-mile option has been added.

Following the Downers Grove 5 & 8 Miler, Harvest Fest will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., featuring live music, a beer garden, food trucks, the annual Chililympics cook-off, a craft fair, pie eating contest, pumpkin patch and a “bags” tournament.
The park district has also entered into a partnership with Alter Brewing Company.

Under the agreement, Alter has provided funds for Lyman Woods to install five new honeybee hives. The honey from those hives will be harvested specifically for an exclusive brew for Harvest Fest.

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