Parks group a community gem
September 21, 2012 2:56PM
Updated: October 25, 2012 6:05AM
Those living within the Channahon Park District area know what great facilities and amenities we have.
The park district has grown from managing 12 acres at the State Park I&M Canal access in 1971 when it was first formed to encompassing 19 parks on 377 acres.
Facilities include Heritage Bluff Golf Course, Dimensions Fitness Center, Arrowhead Community Center, Tomahawk Aquatics Center and Skateland Recreation Center, to name a few.
Then there’s a multitude of programs, from preschool classes to movie making to yoga and fitness classes — way too many to mention.
In 2009 a non-profit organization was formed to assist the park district by providing other opportunities to preserve open space and develop more recreational resources.
The mission of People For Channahon Parks Foundation is to be a “vehicle for individuals, businesses and industry to partner with the Channahon Park District through donations, fundraising, grants, planned giving and community outreach.”
For instance, there is grant money available for creating recreational opportunities, but some are only available to non-profit organizations, said foundation board President Mike Rittof.
But the foundation does so much more, Rittof said. They contribute to the McCoy Scholarship fund, which assists local families in need so their children can attend park district programs at no cost; they fund the golf program at Heritage Bluffs for Channahon Junior High physical education classes; support Channahon Baseball sign program; and fund the John Cotter Endowment fund so people can choose to leave a legacy that would assist the park district and give back to the community.
There are additional projects the park district would like to take on that would benefit residents and the community, but they don’t have the funds or utilizing funds would take away from other programs.
“There are always more recreational needs than annual revenues,” Rittof said.
One project the foundation has been steadily working on since it formed was the creation of a Channahon-area public transportation system. The foundation has been working closely with the park district, the village of Channahon and Channahon Township on the project.
A public transportation bus could be used by many residents, for things like park district programs and area seniors who need to run errands locally or as far out as Louis Joliet Mall. It could someday grow into a dial-a-ride program, too.
These are just some of the ways that the People For Channahon Parks Foundation supports the park district, which in turn supports the recreational needs of the community.
During the year the foundation holds fundraisers to support their various endeavors. Next up is Bogey Nights Moonlight Golf and Patio Party on Oct. 13 at Heritage Bluff Golf Course.
Golfers will play three holes using glow-in-the-dark balls, and while they’re trying to make a hole in one in the dark, anyone who chooses not to golf can enjoy the wine tasting event by WineStyles.
There will be live music and a buffet dinner. Awards will be given for lowest and highest (or most honest) scores among team members and individual awards for longest drive, closest to the pin, straightest drive, putting and on the open driving range under the lights.
To register for Bogey Nights, provide support or to find out more about the foundation, go to the website at peopleforchannahonparks.org. Registration can be found under the events tab.
Reach Kris Stadalsky at email@example.com.