At his "State of the Community" address last week, Wheaton Park District board president John Kelly said about 90,000 people enrolled in recreation and athletic programs in 2012.
Kelly went over the park district's major accomplishments in 2012, including the following enrollment and attendance stats for district events and facilities:
- Parks Plus Fitness: 22,000 people
- DuPage County Historical Museum: 14,000 people
- Rice Pool, Northside Aquatic Center: 150,000 people
- Arrowhead Golf Club: 56,000 rounds of golf
- Arrowhead (banquets): 48,000 guests
- Arrowhead Restaurant & Bar: 111,000 restaurant guests
- Events, including Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals, Reindeer Run, Wheaton Ale Fest, Taste of Wheaton, Fourth of July parade and fireworks: 45,000
The park district's biggest accomplishment in 2012 was its partnership with Bradford Real Estate, Kelly said. The district bought a portion of the former Hubble school property from Bradford for $3.25 to preserve the gyms and fields it uses for athletics. Bradford purchased the property from District 200 in June 2011 to build a Mariano's Fresh Market at the corner of Naperville and Roosevelt roads.
Because the utilities that operate the gym came from the school building that was demolished, the district will use a $2.4 million grant to complete improvements to the building before it opens Feb. 1.
Northside Park: The year also marked the completion of the three-year, $7 million Northside Park improvement project. Kelly said final improvements and roadwork should be complete this spring.
Cosley Zoo: Accomplishments at Cosley Zoo included the completion and opening of the Bobcat Exhibit, a turtle exhibit, the butterfly garden and aviary.
For years Cosley operated at a defecit, Kelly said. To work toward the zoo's sustainability and independence, the park district in 2012 implemented admission fees for non-residents. Though the 2012 audit is not yet final, "it appears Cosley revenues exceeded expenses," he said.
Arrowhead: The park district completed a three-year bunker course improvement project at Arrowhead Golf Club with the completion of the west course in the late fall. The project, Kelly said, should continue to increase rounds, which were up by 6,000 in 2012.
New office building: The park district also partnered with the Cosley Foundation to purchase a $1.5 million office building at 855 E. Prairie Ave. to consolidate some of its satellite offices to free space, Kelly said.
Leisureship program: The program provided free, or reduced, programs for 136 area families experiencing financial hardship, a 28 percent increase over 2011.