Dundee Township Park District
The Dundee Township Park District is located in Kane County, approximately 40 miles west of Chicago, along the Fox River. It consists of 31 neighborhood and community parks, two championship golf courses, two outdoor swimming pools, an indoor pool, zoo, senior center, two recreation centers, two fitness centers and 879 acres of land for the diverse Dundee Township community. For almost 60 years, the Park District has been providing an array of recreational activities and community events. It serves the communities of Carpentersville, East Dundee, West Dundee, Sleepy Hollow and portions of Elgin, Barrington Hills, Hoffman Estates, Gilberts and Algonquin.
The Park District was established in 1952 to serve the recreational needs of the community. The formation of the Park District was the result of a successful referendum campaign that was motivated by the need to have a permanent administrative body to oversee the operation of Edmund H. Haeger Memorial Pool which was located in Lion’s Park. The referendum passed on November 22, 1952, followed by the first Park District meeting on June 16, 1953 at Fireman’s Hall in East Dundee, and the opening of Haeger Pool on June 12, 1955. In the beginning, the Dundee Township Park District used village and school district facilities for programming before opening the Besinger Community Center in 1959. This facility housed the Senior Center until it moved to its new location in 2003.
Since its formation sixty years ago, the Dundee Township Park District has continued its tradition of providing recreational programs, state of the art facilities and beautifully landscaped parks.
The Dundee Township Park District has had a lasting impact on the surrounding communities and will continue to plan for the future and provide recreation for generations to come.
During the 1960’s, Thresher Pool was constructed on land that was donated by L.W. Besinger. Then, Randall Oaks Park opened in 1964 and included the petting zoo, which is still a thriving operation more than 45 years after opening. The Randall Oaks Golf Course was completed with 18 holes available for play in June of 1966.
In the early 1970’s the Park District purchased Library Hall, a historic building that was constructed in 1895. This became the administrative offices of the District and remains so to this day. Over the course of the decade the Park District purchased the Sleepy Hollow Pool in 1972 and two air structures which were used to enclose Haeger Pool and some tennis courts at Randall Oaks Golf Course. However, these structures existed until the early 1980’s. At the end of the 1970’s, the Park District received grant funds to purchase an additional 130 acres to add on to the existing 27-acre Randall Oaks Park. A few years later a community building was constructed and dedicated to Al Price, whose family owned and operated the farm prior to the Park District’s purchase.
In 1986 the Park District began the process of considering the construction of a Recreation Center. Construction on a 50,000 square foot Recreation Center began in July 1988. The pool for the Recreation Center was completed in early 1989, and the building was opened to the public in September of the same year. The Recreation Center, is located on Route 68, just north of Route 25 in Carpentersville.
In 1992, the Recreation Center added an addition of a Fitness Center and the pool was enclosed thus; making it useable year-round. Also in 1992, a new clubhouse was completed at the Randall Oaks Golf Course. This clubhouse contains a pro shop, locker rooms, bar and grill, banquet facilities for up to 200 guests, and an enclosed cart storage building. The Park District purchased Bonnie Dundee Golf Course course in 1992 and in 1995 the course was renovated to include an underground irrigation system and an additional parking area on the golf course grounds. In 1994 the purchase of Raceway Woods was finalized and the Park District received two grants in 1999 and 2000 to work on the restoration of the property. By 1993, the Park District created Operation Outreach. Initially, the program serviced at-risk youth by offering recreational programs at various schools, primarily in the Carpentersville area. Operation Outreach programs offered day camps, sport programs, and a youth center for children in grades 1 through 6. Since 1997 these programming needs have been met by the Boys & Girls Club of Dundee Township. The Park District helped establish a Boys & Girls Club which began operating at the Morningside Youth Center in 1997. The Boys & Girls Club is a separate entity from the Park District, but receives administrative and facility support from the park District. In 2006, the Club had over 1,200 members and operates at Perry, Golfview, Lakewood, and Carpentersville Middle Schools. There is also a Teen Center at the Knox Unit on Wakefield Avenue in Carpentersville. During the last few years in the 90’s a community picnic shelter, playground, basketball court, and trails were built at Randall Oaks Park. More recently, baseball and football fields have been added to the park. As part of the Randall Road widening project, Centerville School was moved to Randall Oaks Park in June 1999. A cooperative effort between the Park District, Kane County, and the Dundee Township Historical Society saved the historic one room schoolhouse and restoration to the interior and exterior of the building was completed.
In the 2000’s
The Dundee Township Park District continued to flourish well into the new millennium. As the population continued to increase in the surrounding communities so did the demand for more parks, facilities and programs. In 2000, the Greater Raceway Woods Ecosystem Partnership was established. This partnership of adjacent land owners created a long range plan of property. The partnership received $400,000 from the Army Corp of Engineers for the implementation of the plan.
Construction of the new senior center began in spring of 2002.
The Park District added a few parks from 2000-2007 including Prairie Meadow Park, Shenandoah Park, Liberty Elementary School Park, Rolling Hills Park, Carrington Park, Silverstone Lake Park, Grandview Park, and Deerpath Park.
A cooperative venture with School District 300 was agreed upon in the winter of 2001. The Park District contributed funds to enlarge gyms to provide additional programming areas at two new schools. Algonquin Lakes and Liberty Elementary School gyms opened in the fall of 2002.
The construction of a new senior center began in 2002 and was completed in 2003. It was developed as an addition to the existing Recreation Center on Barrington Avenue. A large multi-purpose room with a stage, arts and crafts rooms, library and computer rooms, and a kitchen were included in the new senior center.
In the spring of 2002, the Park District began work on renovating Randall Oaks Golf Course. This work concentrated on revising the front 9 holes of the course, incorporating 45 additional acres to the course. The renovation addressed some of the safety concerns as well as added additional yardage to the course. The project was completed in the summer of 2003. The intent was to have golf course revenues eventually reimburse the Capital Project Funds for the cost of the improvements.
In 2002, the Park District also completed a land exchange with the Village of West Dundee. This brought an additional 6 acres of park land adjacent to Tartans Glen Park where two soccer fields were constructed. Also within the Village of West Dundee, two major park renovations at South End Park and Grafelman Park occurred. Both of these projects were funded by the Village of West Dundee.
In 2008, an intergovernmental agreement between the Township and the Park District was established for a long-term lease of the Bartel’s Property. The programming of the property is currently in the planning stages.
Grande Pointe Park, in West Dundee, was leased and developed in 2010. White Oak Park, in Carpentersville, was acquired in 2009 with plans to develop the property in 2010.
In 2009, property at the Brunner Family Forest Preserve was leased from the Forest Preserve District of Kane County. The programming of the leased property is currently in the planning stages.
In 2011, construction began on a new recreation facility, the Randall Oaks Recreation Center, located on the west side of the township near Randall Oaks Park. The Randall Oaks Recreation Center opened in August 2012. The new facility houses a fitness center, double gymnasium with an elevated walking track, multi purpose rooms and a west side branch of the Fox River Valley Public Library District.