Elmhurst Park District was thrilled to receive the 2022 Outstanding Park and Facility Award from the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association (IPRA) for Centennial Park. The award was presented at the IAPD/IPRA Annual Conference in Chicago on Friday, January 28.
The award is presented to public agencies for outstanding and unique achievements in the design and development of new or renovated recreation parks and facilities.
In 2019, the Park District purchased the nearly three acre Redeemer Center property. The neighborhood surrounding the property was considered a park desert at the time, with no park within walking distance to most homes.
On Monday, July 13, 2020, the park was officially dedicated and named Centennial Park in honor of the District’s 100th anniversary. It was a historic moment for Elmhurst Park District, as it was the first new park in Elmhurst in more than three decades. The next steps were to determine what the neighborhood would like to see built at the new park.
Community feedback was an integral part of the planning process. After contracting with Upland Design, Ltd. in March 2021 to provide landscape architecture and engineering services for the park, an open house was scheduled at the site. With the community still in the midst of the pandemic, Park District staff also hosted a Facebook Live during the open house, allowing residents to view the idea boards at home and ask questions online.
Two concepts were created following community feedback and a second public meeting was held to garner input on the two concepts and a survey seeking additional feedback was made available online. A Master Plan for Centennial Park was approved by the Park Board in June 2021. The plan included playground equipment for ages 2-5 and 5-12, a green roof shelter, adult fitness equipment and fountain geysers.
Construction began in the fall of 2021 on the park and was completed in the summer of 2022 with a ribbon cutting held to celebrate the new addition.
The park immediately became a popular destination for the neighborhood, with families making use of the shady shelter while children enjoyed the equipment and geyser fountains. The park’s fitness equipment increases the amenities available to all ages and provides new programming opportunities, with a senior fitness class making use of the equipment during the warm weather months.
“The community was a driving factor in developing Centennial Park, and this award recognizes the collaboration between residents, the Park Board, staff, and Upland Design, the landscape architecture firm responsible for the design of the park,” said Executive Director Jim Rogers, “It is truly an achievement the entire community can be incredibly proud of!”