Celebrations honor history, mission to enrich the lives of residents
Established in 1911, the St. Charles Park District board members had a vision to develop parks and open space along the Fox River. And now, 110 years later, the district is still enriching the lives of residents through parks, programs, facilities and services — along the Fox River and beyond.
To recognize the history of the many facilities that have made the Park District what it is today, the district has planned a July Jamboree of Anniversaries. The facilities celebrating anniversaries with events, giveaways, discounts and more include: River View Miniature Golf Course, Pottawatomie Community Center, STC Underground Teen Center, Hickory Knolls Discovery Center, Otter Cove Aquatic Park and John B. Norris Recreation Center.
“These facilities were opened out of a need from the community, and as a result, have brought the community together to connect, to socialize, and to learn. And that’s something to celebrate,” said Director of Parks and Recreation Holly Cabel.
“We encourage everyone to come out and reconnect with one another in the facilities and programs that they’ve enjoyed throughout the years,” she added.
River View Minigolf
Celebrating 50 years is River View Miniature Golf Course. Located along the Fox River, you won’t find a better view while playing putt-putt with your family. It was originally named Oak Valley Miniature Golf Course for the many white oak trees in Pottawatomie Park, but despite the name change, River View did not lose its character.
In fact, a recent community survey concluded that residents like the 18-hole mini golf course just the way it is, Cabel noted. Incorporating elements such as logs, tunnels and water and with entertaining hole names such as “I Dare You”, “Dead Man’s Curve” and “Leap of Faith”, features have been added over the years such as the lighthouse at hole 18, but it has stayed true to its original design.
“For fifty years the course has fulfilled a need for generations of residents, and we are honored to continue to provide family, fun entertainment to the community,” said Sabrina Hunley, River View Supervisor.
But River View is not just for mini-golf. It also offers non-motorized boat rentals along the Fox River. In the past, River View rented canoes, but that trend transitioned to kayaks and pedal boats. And this summer residents can enjoy a ride on the new swan pedal boats.
River View will celebrate its anniversary with giveaways and discounts such as paying 50 cents for a round of mini golf from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays in July.
Pottawatomie Community Center
Not far from River View sits another important recreational destination that serves the whole family: Pottawatomie Community Center, celebrating 30 years since the Park District built the facility that offers a fitness center, dance studio, multi-purpose rooms, gymnasium, Adult Activity Center and preschool.
Prior to the PCC, programs were spread out across the community, many held in Baker Community Center and local schools. In 1991 the new building brought residents together under one roof.
The original PCC offered multipurpose rooms shared by preschoolers and active adults, but in 2004, an addition changed all that – providing separate dedicated spaces for the Adult Activity Center and Pottawatomie Preschool.
“The intent of Pottawatomie Community Center was to meet the needs of the community by offering a variety of programs for all ages and abilities, and it’s still doing that today – 30 years later with now more than 1,000 programs offered annually,” Cabel said.
The PCC will host a variety of events to celebrate its anniversary such as an Adult Activity Center open house, dance party in the park and free fitness classes.
STC Underground Teen Center
In 2001, the STC Underground was born in the basement of the Baker Community Center.
Complete with a lounge, computer lab and TVs, plus billiards, foosball and air hockey, as well as an art area, the STC Underground caters to all interests and provides programming ranging from video game tournaments to painting parties.
“The STC Underground provides a safe and dynamic space for teens to call their own, free from bullying and social pressure,” said Chris Holling, STC Underground Supervisor. “This would not be possible without the foresight of the Park District 20 years ago, when they recognized a teen center as an important piece of its mission.”
To help celebrate its 20-year anniversary, residents are encouraged to stop by one of the STC Underground open houses, July 3 and Aug. 7.
Other facilities celebrating anniversaries with special events include Hickory Knolls Discovery Center and Otter Cove Aquatic Park, both built 10 years ago, and John B. Norris Recreation Center, which entered into a partnership with the park district 5 years ago.
For more details about the July Jamboree of Anniversaries, visit www.stcparks.org