Thanks to the efforts of area park districts – primarily the Mt. Prospect Park District and the River Trails Park District – Mount Prospect’s recreational facilities and programs are second to none.
Mt. Prospect Park District
As it looks toward the future, the Mt. Prospect Park District has devoted energy and focus throughout 2018 to gauging the satisfaction of residents, patrons, community stakeholders and staff with regard to parks, facilities and programming. By executing a Community Attitude & Interest survey and a series of focus groups, the district gained input for the development of a new five-year Strategic Plan. The plan specifies themes, goals and objectives that define the district as it moves forward.
The “Mapping our Future” survey revealed the park district stakeholders are resoundingly pleased with the Mt. Prospect Park District. In fact, 92 percent rated the district’s parks as clean, safe and accessible; 86 percent gave the district an overall approval rating; 80 percent gave the district top marks for customer service; and while 100 percent had spent time in one of its 31 parks, 71 percent had participated in a program or event over the past year.
Based on survey responses, park district staff and board members enumerated goals in four specific areas of operations and updated their mission and vision statements. Moving forward, district employees plan to improve efforts to manage first and last impressions; personalize each customer’s experience; provide exceptional parks and facilities; and diversify programming.
Financial stewardship will remain a priority as the district continues to maximize non-tax revenues; follow financial best practices; align resources with community needs; and define the district’s long-term capital vision. A positive work environment, organizational accountability and professional growth and development opportunities will encourage employees to remain with the district. Finally, district employees will maximize internal and external communication; standardize processes district-wide; use technology to maximize service; and inspire a culture of innovation for many years to come.
River Trails Park District
The River Trails Park District has been garnering lots of enthusiastic attention thanks, in part, to its Parkour gym, opened at “The Zone,” 550 Business Center Dr. in the Kensington Business Center in 2016. One of the few such park district dedicated gyms in the State of Illinois, it has become a major draw, attracting field trips from other park districts and athletic facilities, as well as local residents.
Parkour was developed in France during the late 1980s. It is a training discipline that uses movements that developed from military obstacle course training. It enhances self-confidence and critical thinking skills and is like a non-combative martial art.
The River Trails Parkour gym features both high and low obstacles, climbing walls, a 20-foot rope, rings, a 25-foot foam pit and even a 14-foot warp wall which you climb after running up a ramp and jumping, said Executive Director Bret Fahnstrom.
The Park District is also hosting exciting “ArrowTag” parties at “The Zone” for children and adults. ArrowTag is played like paint ball but instead of using paint, balloon-tipped arrows are used to target other participants. Demand for this exciting new game is burgeoning.
In August, River Trails also implemented the “Community Pass” registration software which allows area residents the ease of more efficiently registering for programming online, leaving office personnel more time for customer service, Fahnstrom said.
Recently, the district has also been re-accredited and has earned a number of new awards. They received a Best Program Award from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association for the Parkour facility and programming and the Best Overall Event award for its Youth Obstacle Course event held last fall. In addition, Mitch MacTavish earned a Golden Guard Award for his lifeguarding skills.