A Place to Belong in Oak Park

Community Celebration September 18

By Parks Foundation of Oak Park September 12, 2021

Oak Park is a place for all to feel welcome: to be safe, to be healthy, and to feel a sense of belonging.  Many decades ago, the Village took action to embrace equity for all and establish our community values of strength in diversity.  Ever since then, Oak Park has been committed to its inclusive mission.

Excitement for the Village’s new Community Recreation Center (CRC) is building, and Oak Park residents of all ages are invited to the Parks Foundation of Oak Park’s “A Place to Belong” celebration on Sept. 18 from 3:30-5pm.  

The free event features activities, refreshments, and updates on the CRC. It will take place at 229 Madison Street on the planned location for the Center. Several Oak Park leaders are expected to attend including CRC campaign co-chairs Mary Jo Schuler and Dr. David Ansell; park board and foundation representatives; and elected officials.

The celebration marks the public launch of a capital campaign designed to raise funds to build Oak Park’s community recreation center. The campaign is a public/private partnership to support the CRC, which will address several community needs and support health and wellness for residents from pre-school to seniors. The outdoor event will feature a status report on the $22 million campaign and preview of the CRC’s diverse offerings and amenities.

Community surveys have validated that Oak Park lacks several amenities, including affordable recreational and fitness opportunities for all families, in the community. “Through generous private donations, including individuals and businesses, and grants, this project is becoming a reality because people see the need and the benefits the CRC offers our community,” said Edward Kerros of the Parks Foundation Board of Directors. “We invite people to stop by the celebration event on the 18th to learn more about the Center and to share in the fun.”  

This is the largest undertaking by the Parks Foundation that raises private support for projects that enhance the public parkfacilities. Being constructed without raising taxes, the Community Recreation Center will provide space for indoor sports, including basketball, pickleball, volleyball; a walking track; a fitness center; e-sports room; community meeting spaces and after-school programs and access for middle school and high school students all while providing a place for all to be welcomed and to provide a sense of belonging. 

The Parks Foundation promotes giving opportunities around Oak Park parks and to support extraordinary projects within the ParkDistrict of Oak Park. Its mission is to collaborate with Oak Park residents, community groups and partner organizations to support exceptional and extraordinary projects that enhance our parks and community life. Founded in 2012, the Foundation is chartered with the State of Illinois as a 501(c)3 charitable organization. While a separate and independent entity, the Foundation coordinates closely with the Park District of Oak Park to help address community health, recreation and wellness needs for all. For more information, visit the Parks Foundation website at: