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Recreation

The Green Oaks, Libertyville, Mundelein and Vernon Hills communities are fortunate to be served by two outstanding park districts and a municipal recreation department, offering world-class facilities allowing residents to swim, golf, bike on dedicated trails, skateboard in a dedicated skate park, compete on a sports team, learn to dance or even watch a musical or dramatic performance and more. And all of these entities are constantly upgrading their facilities and programming in order to better meet residents’ needs.

Libertyville Recreation and Sports Complex Department

The Libertyville Sports Complex & Recreation Department offers a variety of programs, activities and events for residents of the Village of Libertyville, as well as people in neighboring towns and visitors to Libertyville. Unlike many municipalities that have separate Park Districts, the Village of Libertyville operates its parks, facilities and recreation programs through the Recreation & Sports Complex Department. Over the last several years, the Department has received distinguished recognition from the Daily Herald Readers’ Choice Awards including “Top Pick” and “Best of the Best” honors in many categories.

“We’re in the fun business,” explains Conrad “Connie” Kowal, Director of the Libertyville Recreation & Sports Complex Department. “We take great pride in creating enjoyable experiences and developing relationships. We have fun working with families, groups, leagues, tournament directors, event promoters, corporate planners and people seeking fun and memories. We want people to think of the Libertyville Recreation & Sports Complex Department as their first and best option for fun and events.”

With 21 parks featuring a wide range of amenities, Libertyville Recreation facilities include public swimming pools at Adler Park and Riverside Park, the Crawford House at Butler Lake Park and the Adler Park Lodge, both buildings available for public rental use. Popular Libertyville recreation programs for kids include a wide variety of Summer Day Camps, Pre-School Classes, Dance Programs, Arts & Craft offerings, Youth Basketball Leagues, Youth Indoor Soccer Leagues, Swimming Lessons and Golf Lessons. Special events are hosted throughout the year including an indoor HalloweenFest, Lunch with the Bunny, Breakfast with Santa, Mom & Son Campfire Cookout, Daddy-Daughter Valentine Dance, 4th of July Fireworks, and the annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Cook Park.

The Libertyville Sports Complex (LSC) campus, located at the corner of Peterson Road and Route 45 on the northwest side of Libertyville, has become a popular destination for sports and special events. The LSC features award-winning facilities including a Fitness Center, a Driving Range (open all year), a lighted Softball Field and the signature LSC “Indoor Events Center.” This indoor venue has two artificial turf fields for soccer, lacrosse, football and other sports, eight basketball courts for basketball and volleyball play, Conference Meeting Rooms and small Birthday Party rooms. The LSC centerpiece is the region’s tallest Climbing Mountain. The LSC has been the home to a wide variety of sports and special events including major Youth Basketball Tournaments, dog show agility competitions, business Trade Shows, School Graduations and Reunions, Family Parties, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and other special events. The LSC has been a host site the past five years in a row for the “Roadwatch Parties” of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The Libertyville Recreation & Sports Complex Department also provides a variety of programs for adults, too. Offerings and leagues include Adult Softball (12- and 16-inch), Basketball, Flag Football, Indoor Soccer and many “co-ed” leagues for men and women, such as kickball and 14-inch softball.

Have fun in Libertyville! For more information about the facilities and programs of the Libertyville Recreation & Sports Complex Department visit www.Libertyville.com/recreation, email ckowal@libertyville.com, stop by the Administrative Offices at the LSC, or call either (847)918-7275 or (847)367-1502. Mundelein Park & Recreation District

Mundelein Park & Recreation District’s tag line is “Connecting the Community” and in the past year the park district’s focus has been to make that process easier for residents. This fall was the debut of a newly designed brochure. It is now more functional while keeping the look appealing.

Another new look will be the website. The new site rolls out later this year and will not only be easier to navigate, but will also be mobile-friendly.

Efforts to expand and improve the district’s facilities are continual; this year many of the outdoor basketball courts were rejuvenated. This summer the park district took a new approach on three basketball courts at Leo Leathers, Maurice Noll and Gordon Ray Parks, using a slip sheet overlay method. A new court is literally built on top of the old court, which is less expensive than removing and replacing the existing court, said Margaret Resnick, executive director.

Another improvement, (even though it’s a hazard) is the addition of a new bunker in the 8th hole at Steeple Chase Golf Club. While this addition may not be great news for some golfers, the new challenge will be a hit with many.

Events are perhaps the most direct way to connect with the community. 2015 saw both new events and additions to many existing events. Here are a few highlights.

The Cardboard Regatta is the newest annual event and fundraiser. It is open to both community and businesses. Boats are constructed using only cardboard, duct tape and paint. Although small, the inaugural event was a splashing success. Proceeds go to The Mundelein Parks Foundation, which provides program scholarships to Mundelein residents needing financial assistance.

Zumba on the beach was a new addition to the park district’s 2015 Community Picnic. Folks started the morning off dancing their way to fitness to the sounds of Latin music. This annual free beach event provides day-long fun for friends and family and culminates in the evening with a water ski show on Diamond Lake.

Another event expected to grow is the ghoulish Carnival of Chaos, held every Friday and Saturday night during October. Started in 2014, this freakish haunted house is held at the entrance of Barefoot Bay. This event is geared toward ages 14 and up. Younger children will enjoy Boo Bash, one of the park district’s most successful autumn events.

Next year the park district joins forces with the Mundelein Community Connection to present the 6th annual Mundelein Fine Arts Festival, held at Kracklauer Park. This juried art show features art from 45 artists, live music, local food and a high school tent to showcase up-and-coming artists. Annual scholarships are awarded to the high school students.

Whether it be improvements to parks and facilities, programs or events, Mundelein Park & Recreation District continually strives to connect the community, making Mundelein a great place to live.Vernon Hills Park District

Since its founding in 1973, the Vernon Hills Park District has been serving the needs of a burgeoning area as open lands have been gradually replaced by houses full of families. Today the park district owns more than 400 acres of land and water, encompassing 24 parks and seven facilities.

Among the newest facilities is the Lakeview Fitness Center at 700 Lakeview Pkwy. Formerly known as the Central Lake YMCA, the building was purchased by the park district in late 2012 and totally transformed, enlarged and updated in 2013, according to Cheryl Baron, Communications Manager.

Today the facility includes a larger, redesigned group exercise area, cardio and free weight rooms with state-of-the-art equipment, a renovated spa area, new lobby area and a redesigned babysitting space. The entire building also got new flooring and a fresh coat of paint. Today it is the home of the park district’s fitness equipment and group exercise classes, as well as the Little Learners Childcare, a fully licensed, DCFS childcare facility for ages six weeks to five years. Lakeview’s indoor pool is also the home to the Turtles Swim Team.

The Park District has acquired the Hawthorn Afterschool Program beginning fall 2015. The program is designed to provide positive afterschool activities for elementary children in a safe and enriching environment. The program is open to students in grades K-6, Monday through Friday with a before-school and afternoon program located at Hawthorn Elementary schools North and South.

Baron is particularly proud, however, of the park district’s new, totally updated and interactive website. It, along with three program brochures mailed to residents each year, a monthly E-newsletter sent to subscribers and a monthly newsletter sent to Hawthorn District 73 students, will keep park district residents in touch with the many opportunities offered by the park district from competitive sports leagues to camps, dance and art classes to festivals.

For more information, visit www.vhparkdistrict.org
or call (847) 996-6800.•

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