The Plainfield Park District, incorporated in 1966, is located in Will and Kendall Counties and encompasses all of Plainfield Township and portions of Wheatland Township in Will County and Na-Au-Say Township in Kendall County, including areas of Bolingbrook, Crest Hill, Joliet, Plainfield, and Romeoville, as well as some unincorporated areas. The Park District boundaries cover more than 43.04 square miles or approximately 27,545 acres and serves a population of more than 100,000 people. The Park District is ranked 9th largest in the State of Illinois based on population served.
The Park District is governed by an elected seven-member board and operates under a Board-Manager form of government, with its primary purpose to provide parks and recreational opportunities to its residents. Services provided include recreation programs, park management, capital development, and general administration. The Park District manages 91 parks on approximately 1,500 acres. Recreational facilities and amenities operated by the Park District include 64 playgrounds, 2 skate parks, 3 dog parks, 25 basketball courts, pathways, bike trails, and numerous sports fields for baseball, football, soccer, and softball in addition to the Recreation/Administration Center, Recreation/Administration Center Annex, Normantown Equestrian Center, Ottawa Street Pool, Prairie Activity & Recreation Center (PARC), Streams Recreation Center and the Plainfield Township Community Center.
Plainfield Park District – A Brief History
January 5, 1966
The PPD was founded in 1966 when the citizens of Plainfield Township authorized, by simple-majority vote, the establishment of the Park District.
January 5, 1967
The first park owned by the Park District was Four Seasons Park deeded from the Village of Plainfield December 14, 1967.
January 5, 1969
Boy Scout Park, Kelly Park, Ottawa Street Park and Village Green Park became under the ownership of the Park District in November 1969, also deeded from the Village. Village Green was originally platted in 1834 with a deed restriction stating that it remain as public open space. A Park, Recreation, and Conservation Master Plan was completed in October 1969 which laid the groundwork for the operations of the Park District in three stages: Immediate (1969-1970); intermediate (1971-1972); and long range (1973-1975).
January 5, 1972
In July of 1972 the Park District took ownership of Van Horn Woods.
January 5, 1980
An attitude and interest survey was completed in 1980 to gauge the interests of the community.
January 5, 1985
The Plainfield Park District Board of Commissioners formed the Friends of the Plainfield Park District Foundation in 1985 to act solely as a fund-raising organization (501 c 3). The Foundation’s mission “is to improve the quality of life in the Plainfield area by assisting in the preservation of open space and enhancing recreational programs in the PPD for all ages to enjoy.” The Foundation consists of volunteers from the community that are active in fundraising to support their mission.
In the late 1980’s the PPD began running the Village’s annual summer festival, “Plainfield Fest.” For years, the Chamber of Commerce ran its operation. The PPD was in charge of the fest through 2007. In 2008, Main Street Plainfield took over the fest. It is currently being organized by the Riverfront Foundation.
January 5, 1988
An update of the original Master Plan was commissioned in 1988 and completed in 1990. At the completion of the 1990 plan, the Park District owned 7 parks encompassing 183 acres of land. The seven parks included Village Green, Van Horn Woods, Ottawa Street, Boy Scout Park, Indian Oaks, Kelly Park and Four Seasons. The estimated population within the Park District’s service area boundaries was 20,000 people.
January 5, 1990
In August, 1990, a tornado touched down and ripped through downtown Plainfield killing 29 people and destroying a number of buildings including a church, Plainfield High School and historic Electric Park. The explosion of growth in the Plainfield area began in the early 1990’s. From 1990 to 2000, the area’s population increased by nearly 200 percent.
January 5, 1991
Tax-cap legislation was passed and the Park District no longer has the ability to raise taxes without voter approval. One way that the Park District is now able to realize an increase in property tax revenue is based on two inflationary factors: an increase in the Equalized Assed Value (EAV) or a rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or 5%, whichever is less.
January 5, 1997
In 1997 the Park District owned 17 parks encompassing 278 acres of land.
January 5, 1999
In 1999, Judith and William Avery donated 59.14 acres along the Lily Cache Creek to the Park District next to Four Seasons Park. Today it is known as Avery Preserve. This donation was utilized by the Park District as a match towards an Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Open Space and Land Acquisition (OSLAD)/Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grant for the acquisition and development of the River Edge park site (now Gregory B. Bott Park) and its buildings.
January 5, 2000
In the year 2000, on the November ballot, voters approved a $5,925,000 bond issue for the purpose of acquiring not less than 80 acres of land for park and recreation purposes, building, maintaining, improving and protecting said land facilities thereon and paying expenses incident thereto. The Park District utilized these funds towards the purchase of River Edge, Mather Woods, the Florek property (northeast corner of Ridge and Walker Roads), and the purchase and development of Northwest Community Park. The Park District had referenda question on the ballot in 1986, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2006 that did not pass.
January 5, 2001
In December 2001, the Park District purchased Mather Woods with assistance of Open Lands Trust (OLT) grant funding.
January 5, 2002
In 2002 the Park District owned 44 parks encompassing 681 acres of land.
January 5, 2004
In 2004, the Park District received a 106.5 acre property donation from the late Mary Clow Stephens with the intent that the property remain as open space and be developed with active and passive recreational amenities/facilities for the residents of the PPD.
January 5, 2005
In 2005, the Park District completed the Comprehensive Master Plan to guide the Park District in the development of its park land and recreational programs/services to the year 2009/10. Also in 2005, Eaton Preserve was transferred to the Park District from the State of Illinois through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). The State received the 74.77 acres of land from the Clayton Eaton Estate by conveyance of a gift. The Park District leased and maintained the property from the State from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, the PPD kicked off its first annual event called “Week of the Young Child,” and in 2005-2006 more than 15,350 people participated in 1,110 programs. Also, in 2005/06 several items were accomplished to improve
January 5, 2006
In 2006, the Plainfield Park District celebrated its 40th anniversary; entered into an agreement with the Joliet-Bolingbrook Special Recreation Association (JBSRA) to better serve residents with disabilities; the Recreation Department celebrated “Worldwide Day of Play,” and created a teen trip committee and senior coordinator’s group (Let’s Play – Seniors in Motion) with neighboring park districts; and purchased the residence next Boy Scout Park and moved the Planning and Marketing Departments into the newly purchased residence in order to free up more space at the Recreation/Administration Center.
In 2006 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2007
In 2007, the Park District’s first annual report was included in the brochure and has been done on a recurring basis since. Also in 2007, the Park District was the grand prize winner of the Staples Dream Park Challenge with the Chicago Bears in the amount of $25,000 which was used for improvements to Bott Park.
In 2007 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
Due to four different flood events from August 2007 to March 2009, the PPD decided to close the doors at the River Edge Recreation Center. The Seniors Program which utilized the facility re-located to the Plainfield Township Administration Facility on Lockport Street.
January 5, 2008
In 2008, the Plainfield Bike Park was opened. The Park District entered into a formal agreement with CAMBr West, the west chapter of the Chicago Area Mountain Bikers, to construct a bike park and skills area at Van Horn Woods. More than $115,000 in volunteer hours, material donations and equipment usage were contributed to the project. Also in 2008, the inaugural Patriotic Picnic and Fireworks event in lieu of the annual Plainfield Fest was hosted by the Park District. A new Field Use Agreement and Tournament Application for youth sports organizations and teams that use Plainfield Park District fields and facilities was established.
In 2008 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2009
(ARRA) funding for the development of a section of the DuPage River Trail from Riverview Park to the ComEd right-of-way at 143rd Street and Route 59. Also in 2009 the Park District constructed a new playground in the Sunnyland neighborhood (southeast quadrant of the Park District) on land the Park District entered into a lease agreement to use from the Church of the Good Shepherd. Also in 2009, the Park District began the process of updating the 2005 Comprehensive Master Plan and the bond rating was raised three grades from ‘A’ through ‘A+’ and ‘AA-‘ to ‘AA’ which means a very strong capacity to meet financial commitments.
In 2009 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2010
In 2010, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services affirmed the Plainfield Park District’s ‘AA’ bond rating.
In 2010 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2011
In 2011 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2012
In 2012 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2013
Long term Executive Director Gregory Bott retired in May. Garret Peck was hired as the new Executive Director. In November, River Edge Park was renamed Gregory B. Bott Park.
January 5, 2014
The Plainfield Park District Dedicated the Joey Kledzik Memorial Field located in Bott Park on Saturday, May 24 before a crowd of approximately 70 people. The project was funded by the Joey Kledzik Memorial Tournament, Friends of the Plainfield Park District, a grant awarded by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, and the Plainfield Park District.
Carlo Capalbo, MPA, CPRE was hired as Executive Director in September.
HB 5593 amending the Park District Code was passed on August 15, 2014 which increased the Board from 5 to 7 members.
The Plainfield Park District Commissioners and staff have been honored for their ongoing work in the development of the DuPage River Trail that runs through the Park District. The honor, a plaque from the Plainfield Riverfront Foundation, was presented to the Park District Board at their regular meeting last night. Begun several years ago, the DuPage River Trail is an ongoing cooperative venture of the Riverfront Foundation, Plainfield Park District, Village of Plainfield and Will County Forest Preserve District with partial funding provided by grants from both the State of Illinois and Federal sources.
In 2014 the PPD received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA). The award is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting.
January 5, 2015
The Park District’s Normantown Equestrian Center was awarded a grant totaling $12,506 from the Illinois Equine Industry and Promotion Board.
A fundraising project to construct an ADA path at Four Seasons Park begun by local resident Emily Brooks yielded a $7,000 donation for the Park District from the Plainfield Lions Club.
Mayfair Park was renamed PFC Andrew Memorial Park in honor of Army PFC Andrew Meari, who lost his life while serving in Afghanistan on November 1, 2010.
January 5, 2016
The Plainfield Park District celebrated its 50 year anniversary with special events, programs and celebrations all year long. On October 22 at Bott Park the District hosted a 50th Birthday Bash. The family community event was celebrated with music, cake, inflatables and the dedication of a time capsule.
Bott Park was renamed Gregory B. Bott Community Park to honor former executive director Greg Bott.
The District was the recipient of the Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission’s Residential Landscape of the Year Award. The award was for the Village Green in recognition of the District’s outstanding efforts to create a distinctive outdoor space that enhances the neighborhood and showcases this historic park.
The District was honored at the IAPD Best of the Best Gala for 50 years of parks and recreation and won the award for the category of Partnership with Louis Joliet Mall.
Voters approved a referendum for the issuance of $10.5 million dollars for playground redevelopment, field lighting improvements, safety repairs and improvements, and the construction of an indoor recreation facility. This was done through the support of the voters having cast their ballot by 24,459 yes and 18,347 no.
January 5, 2017
The Plainfield Park District was recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA).
The District won several awards at state conference including first place for table display and second place for paid advertising categories at Agency Showcase C&M section. A spirited competition spotlighting bright ideas exhibited by park, recreation and conservation agencies throughout the State of Illinois. And IPRA Promotes Play Initiative for Kendall Ridge Park. This award is part of an Illinois statewide initiative to promote healthy play in partnership with IPRA and GameTime a Playcore company.
August 24, 2018
Construction began for Prairie Activity & Recreation Center (PARC) at Bott Park and is slated to open January 1, 2019. The project includes a 40,000-square foot recreation facility. The district’s vision for PARC will allow Bott Park to become the recreation hub of the district, providing both indoor and outdoor amenities for residents.
Once it is completed , PARC-will be the first facility of its kind in Illinois to receive a Net Zero certification. Net Zero Certification means that the facility will create as much energy as it uses each year. PARC will achieve that by using solar panels on the roof to generate its own electricity and super-efficient walls and windows to retain heat in the winter and keep it cool in the summer.
January 1, 2019
On January 1, the Plainfield Park District opened its first recreation center to the public. The Prairie Activity & Recreation Center (PARC) is the first park district facility of its kind in the State of Illinois, and the country, to receive Passive House Certification and be a Net-Zero, energy independent facility through the use of super insulated construction techniques and a rooftop solar array.
The 40,000 square foot facility includes a 4,000 square foot fitness center, elevated indoor 10-lap track, and a full-size basketball court striped for two volleyball and pickle ball courts. It also serves as the home for the Park District’s Great Adventures Preschool program, summer camp, and includes a 1600 square foot multi-purpose room.
November 13, 2019
In November, the Park District’s Summer Day Camp program received its accreditation from the American Camp Association after a year-long review and approval process. All told, the program underwent a review of 150 standards to receive the accreditation which provides parents another level of reassurance when they are reviewing their camp options for their children.
September 17, 2021
The District enters in to an agreement with the Northern Will County Special Recreation Association (NWCSRA), an organization that provides year-round recreation programs and services for children, teens and adults with special needs and abilities. The NWCSRA is a partnership between the park districts of Bolingbrook, Lockport Township, and the Village of Romeoville.