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Arlington Heights Park District Plan Honors the Past While Responding to the Community’s Voice Today


Perched high atop the Recreation Park Community Center building, a clock stands guard over the continuously changing landscape at the center of the Arlington Heights Park District (AHPD)

This illuminated clock –admired today mostly for its aesthetics – once served an important purpose to mark the hour as most people did not have watches in the 30’s when even home clocks were rare. Clock towers were historically placed near the center of towns and were often the tallest structures around.

On August 14th, the Park Board of Commissioners voted to place a referendum question on the November 6 general election ballot asking voters to choose whether or not to support a $39 million bond issue. This bond would allow the district to bring about a confluence of the old and the new as the main focus would be to respond to the voices of residents’ today and to enhance the overall user experience and meet the needs of future generations for the next 25-40 years.

Today, watches are no longer rare and most smart phones and portable digital devices feature clock options that tell what time it is in every time zone across North America and in foreign countries around the world. Clocks aren’t the only things that have changed and evolved to better serve consumers. The Park District’s referendum will renew, revitalize and reinvest in modernizing buildings that were built 43–73 years ago and that were sufficient for the needs of smaller populations in 1939 and 1969. Not today.

Not since the post-World War II boom of the late 1940s through the 1960s have residents of the Arlington Heights Park District experienced such a profound effort by the District to provide parks and recreation options designed by the people and for the people.

Three indoor walking tracks, enhanced walking path at Lake Arlington, improved accessibility at Camelot, Frontier, Heritage, Olympic and Recreation Parks, energy efficient mechanical systems, more multi-use programming space, multi-purpose gymnasiums, improved parking, increased dance/fitness options, renovated and new buildings, synthetic turf fields at Frontier Park and Sunset Meadows and a new youth activity pool at Recreation Park – are just a few of the components defining what District officials are calling the “Your Voice. Your Choice. Neighborhood Park Referendum.”

“The Arlington Heights Park District has experienced a “recreation renaissance” of sorts over the past few years especially since opening the doors to the new Pioneer Park Community Center in 2008 and since unveiling the cooperatively installed and managed synthetic turf field with District 214 at Hersey High School in 2011,” said Maryfran Leno, Park Board President.

Leno added, “The response from the community, parents, players and participants, all has been overwhelmingly positive with these two new facilities. And, these successes would not have been possible had it not been for the amount of input we sought and received from residents. The components in the November 6th referendum are the results of three years of master planning meetings with neighborhood residents, a community needs survey, a political poll and several follow up community input meetings since March of this year. We asked our community to work with us to plan what we should do in order to evolve the District so that we can continue to meet their needs now and well into the future.”

The Board’s decision to place the question on the ballot in November brings the underlying sentiment of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to the fore. Lincoln said, “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”

In 1925, exactly four score and seven years ago, the founders of the Arlington Heights Park District envisioned that the village of good neighbors needed safe parks and that affordable and accessible recreation options were essential to the quality of life for the people of Arlington Heights. AHPD’s neighborhood parks are woven into the fabric of this great community. The Park Board’s goal is to honor the Park District’s 87-year legacy by ensuring that future generations are able to raise their families here and so that our community remains an attractive place to call home for future residents as well.

The Arlington Heights Park District is a three-time winner of the National Recreation and Parks Association’s Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, is an Accredited Illinois Distinguished Agency and maintains an Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investment Service, Inc. This is the highest rating available and allows the Park District to issue debt at the lowest possible interest rate. The Arlington Heights Park District is one of only eight Illinois Park Districts at the Aaa rating level. There are 294 park districts in Illinois.

An average home in Arlington Heights has a market value of $300,000. Should the referendum pass, a homeowner can expect to see an increase in their tax payment to the Park District increase by an average of $71 per year over the next 25 years. The first few years (2012-2015) will see a lower average increase of about $26. The District plans to blend the proposed 2012 referendum bonds with retiring debt payments. The chart below illustrates the additional cost homeowners can expect to pay based on a $300,000 home:


The Park District will be hosting several community meetings in October to provide factual information about the neighborhood park referendum. The public is encouraged to attend, get the facts, to ask questions and to take tours of the facilities.

Community Information Meetings Schedule

All Meetings from 7:00-8:00pm*

Wednesday Oct 10 Recreation
Thursday Oct 11 Frontier
Monday Oct 15 Olympic
Tuesday Oct 16 Camelot
Wednesday Oct 17 Olympic
Thursday Oct 18 Heritage
Wednesday Oct 24 Olympic
Thursday Oct 25 Frontier
Saturday Oct 27 Pioneer (9:30-10:30AM)*
Monday Oct 29 Recreation
Thursday Nov 1 Olympic

More information about the Your Voice Your Choice Neighborhood Park Referendum can be found on the Park District’s website. Residents will also start to see factual information made available at community centers, and in the Winter program guide being delivered on November 3rd. For more information call 847-577-3007.


The Arlington Heights Park District enriches the community by providing quality recreation, facilities and fun.

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