The residents of Mount Prospect have wonderful, constantly improving recreational facilities and programming at their disposal so that everyone who wishes to do so can stay fit, healthy and engaged. The majority of residents are served by either the Mt. Prospect or the River Trails Park District, although small areas are served by three additional park districts.
Mt. Prospect Park District
As the village looks to the next 100 years, the Mt. Prospect Park District also looks ahead in order to meet the needs of patrons fully focused on active, healthy lifestyles. The development of parks, programs and facilities is essential to the district’s continued success.
Joining the district in June 2017, is new Executive Director Dan Malartsik with over 20 years of parks and recreation experience at various levels, most recently as director of facilities and technology for the Park District of Highland Park.
Malartsik has begun the implementation of a 2017-18 Community Attitude & Opinion survey last completed in the district in 2005. The survey results, combined with a series of focus groups, will gauge the satisfaction of residents, other patrons, community stakeholders and staff with regard to parks, facilities and programming.
In 2018, the data will serve as the foundation of a new three- to five-year strategic plan specifying themes, goals and objectives and defining the district as they move forward.
“The park board, staff and patrons are energized by the opportunity to shape the future of the district based on the information provided by the survey,” said Ruth Yueill, director of community relations and marketing. “It will provide a roadmap for years to come.”
The Mt. Prospect Park District remains committed to the redevelopment of aging playgrounds. In 2018, they will celebrate the grand re-opening of Kopp Park near RecPlex. Big Surf renovations are also under consideration, and the Friendship Park Conservatory will benefit from a fresh marketing plan focusing on its stunning transformation as a 120-seat wedding venue.
In 2017, The Mt. Prospect Golf Club was named one of the top 15 in Illinois by Golf Week Magazine. Over 1,000 programs, for young and old, were offered in the summer 2017 program guide.
River Trails Park District
The River Trails Park District on Mount Prospect’s north side is actively working to improve its programming and events in order to appeal to its diverse community.
For instance, it opened a Parkour gym last year, one of the few such dedicated gyms in the state of Illinois, and that has become a major draw for the park district, attracting field trips from other park districts and athletic facilities, as well as local residents, according to Joel Tornquist, sponsorship and marketing coordinator. “The Zone,” as it is known, is located at 550 Business Center Dr. in the Kensington Business Center.
Parkour was developed in France during the late 1980s. It is a training discipline that uses movements that developed from military obstacle course training. The idea is to overcome and adapt to mental and emotional obstacles as well as physical barriers. It is supposed to enhance 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, a climbing wall, a 20-foot rope, rings, a 25-foot foam pit and even a 14-foot warp wall that users climb after running up a ramp and jumping.
In addition, children who enjoy swimming are now better able to improve their skills in the water, thanks to the new Jeff Ellis Swim Program that River Trails has adopted. Its licensed swim teachers/lifeguards have been trained to teach swimming in a way that allows children to learn and progress at their own pace, which may be faster or slower than their peers.
It also bears noting that the River Trails Park District caters to residents of all ages. Active seniors gather each Wednesday for trips, craft sessions and lunch. They pay only $20 per year for the weekly activities, available to anyone over age 55.
The River Trails Park District is also beefing up its event offerings, holding a youth OCR obstacle course event featuring between 12 and 16 man-made obstacles on a course at Woodland Trails each autumn, as well as its popular Labor Day celebration that features a petting zoo, inflatables, crafts, swimming and much more.
Winter activities include an annual Breakfast with Santa at Rob Roy on Dec. 2 and a Polar Express train ride from the Prospect Heights train station to the North Pole (Lake Villa) on the afternoons of Dec. 18, 19, 20 and 21. This one fills quickly, so watch for registration information, Tornquist noted.