2020 in Review

A look back at a challenging yet productive 50th Anniversary Year for Bolingbrook Park District  

District Wide Operations

BPD Finance

Despite COVID-19 and its horrible effects on the overall operation of BPD, the District remains in good financial standing.   This is due to a comprehensive expense management program, when traditional revenue streams were suspended.

  • Facility closures, event cancellations, and program revamping.
  • Full time staff hiring freeze and merit raise suspension.
  • Admin and the Board made the difficult decision to place the part time staff on furlough (since April 8, 2020) with only necessary staff returning.
  • In addition several full time staff were placed on Furlough late in 2020. 
  • BGNR, Marketing, Technology, Recreation, and Golf Course purchase reductions and eliminations.
  • Projected overall expense savings nearly $5 million      
 2020 Budget 200 Est. Actual Est. Net 
BPD Operational Revenue $16,586,574 $11,890,483 $-4,696,034 
BPD Operational Expense $17,639,286 $12,671,446 $-4,967,840 
Bottom Line $-1,052,769 $-780,963 $-271,806 

Community Wide Survey

Bolingbrook Park District conducted a Community Wide Survey in 2020 and was presented to the Board at the August 20 Board Meeting by the facilitator – Customer Life Cycle.     

  • The survey consists of both a qualitative study (focus groups) and a quantitative study (survey).
  • More than 480 completed surveys were received via e-mail or phone from a random sampling of residents
  • Primary objectives of the research include measuring perceptions of customer friendliness and service.   Awareness of/knowledge about current programs and facilities.   Needs and wants of the diverse Bolingbrook community.  Understanding how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected constituent views of BPD.  Understanding what constituents want from BPD after the crisis of COVID-19 has passed. 
  • Organizational Strengths Include:  Customer service and Instructor knowledge.  Strong satisfaction with BPD.   Strong likelihood to use a BPD Park or Facility.   Strong recommendation for parks and programs.   Strong feedback on value for their tax dollars.   

LCSRA transition / merge with NWCSRA

Approved in 2019, LCSRA was initially scheduled to merge operations with Northern Will County Special Recreation Association on September 1, 2020.  Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic and shut-down, NWCSRA requested that the merge happen earlier (July 1, 2020).  BPD staff worked with NWCSRA staff to allow the merge to happen two months ahead of schedule.  The entire transition went smoothly and allowed for some summer programming to happen in all 4 communities.  

Recreation and Facilities Comprehensive Plan

  • In 2019 and throughout 2020, Recreation and Facilities Leadership Team worked on a long range departmental strategic plan that initially covered the next three years.  However, due to COVID-19, the focus of the entire District is to be adaptable to the ever-changing needs of the community.  This plan was scaled back to a two year plan with a goal to build on the knowledge and information accumulated from the past three years of operations and incorporate information from a community engagement process. 
  • The overall goal is financial sustainability for the recreation programs, facilities, and services with a strong focus on community needs. The 2021-2022 R&F Comprehensive Program Plan is a blueprint that outlines actions to maintain the highest-quality service delivery desired by the community in fiscally responsible manner. 
  • Each operational area within Recreation and Facilities has 2021 initiatives that they will be working toward.  The 2022 initiatives are more of a mid-range goal that can be adjusted based on operational activity and environment.  The plan will be implemented immediately and reported on quarterly.

Other Operational Successes in 2020

  • Received the awarded $104,000 from the IDNR from the frozen Museum Grants of 2014.  Thanks to the efforts of Senator Pat McGuire to re-visit past frozen grant awards.
  • Received notification of a $400,000 OSLAD Grant Award for the Century Park development plan.
  • Received notification of a $504,000 Museum Grant Award for the Hidden Lakes Bait Shop and Learning Pavilion.
  • The Illinois House of Representative and Illinois State Senate as well as IAPD honored Bolingbrook Park District for our 50th Anniversary.   IAPD also honored Commissioners Hix and Vastalo for their years of service as Bolingbrook Commissioners.  
  • The Business Office pursued COVID-19 Relief through the Will County CARES Act.  To date BPD has received $60,000 with another $25,000 applied for.   This funding covers expenses BPD incurred due to added equipment, staffing, and supply expenses related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Implemented new registration modules through WebTrac to improve access by customers and encourage program registration.  In addition, staff simplified the Resident ID registration and verification process.
  • BPD partnered with the Foundation for Bolingbrook Parks to fundraise to install an 80’ flag pole on Frontage and Recreation Drive (along I-55).   A 25’ American Flag proudly waves on this lighted pole.   We received donations from 21 different vendors including the concrete footing, electric, and installation.   In total over $20,000 was raised and no tax dollars were used for this project.
  • BPD successfully participated in PDRMA’s pilot revamp of the Risk Management Review.  We were one of 50 agencies participating in the program, providing feedback regarding changes.  We did retain our Accreditation.
  • The Business and Technology Department processed nearly $1,300 refunds in 2020 as well as keeping up with a constant flow of programming and operational changes. 
  • Staff and the community came together to donate Money toward Project Thanksgiving (dinners for Seniors) as well as collected and donated gifts to 127 Senior Citizens in three assisted living facilities in Bolingbrook.


  • The 9-acre parcel of wetland that the Park District acquired in late 2019 is officially the 50th property owned by Bolingbrook Park District and is now appropriately named Prairie Path Wetland. 
  • The 2020 ADA transition plan included work to the trailhead for the ComEd Greenway at Remington Lakes, as well as ADA path upgrades at Community, Plimmer, and Wipfler Parks.
  • The comprehensive tree inventory was completed by Graf Tree Company.  This report will allow Bolingbrook Park District to directly apply the best arboriculture practices for optimum forestry management.
  • StrikeGuard Lightning Detection system was installed at the Annerino Community Center, Pelican Harbor, Lily Cache Sportsfields East Campus, and Indian Boundary Park.  
  • The 23-year-old BRAC Gymnasium Curtains were replaced the week of February 24 with a royal blue to match the finished décor of the BRAC Expansion project. 
  • Five playgrounds were replaced in 2020.   The first being Central Park and River Bend Park.  These were closely followed by Indian Chase Meadows, Indian Boundary, and Remington Parks.  Remington has awesome new outdoor fitness equipment! 
  • Pelican Harbor’s Island renovation project was completed in May.  The island is spectacular, with green grass, beautiful structures, and a great bridge to access.  We look forward to using the island in 2021!
  • The BRAC renovation project kicked off early in 2020 and continued throughout the year.  The project included 5 new family changing rooms, renovated fitness and aquatic locker rooms, a re-configured pool entrance and lobby, and a new multi-purpose room.  We also included long time replacement projects including a new flat roof, lobby flooring, a new entrance, a new fire panel, revamped score boards in the gym, and new lobby furniture.    
  • Staff completed $100,000 in improvements to Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm including plantings, mowing, Poison Ivy control, work on the 2020 Illinois American Water Grant, general landscaping.  We also completed the Hidden Lakes Master Plan conducted by Engineering Resources Assoc., completed the installation of 9 additional aerators into the 4 ponds which will help with weed control and reduce water stagnation, completed the installation of a water well for pond water fill.  The addition of this well has resulted in the removal of the feed pipe from the quarry that stretches across the DuPage River. 

Special Events

  • Lifestyles started the year with the Cheers to 50 Years event on January 11.  The event featured an exclusive membership offer (first month’s payment is just 50 cents). All attendees received a free t-shirt and drawing tickets for a chance to win cash prizes!  Existing members that attended were entered into a separate drawing to win Amazon Gift Cards!
  • DanceForce hosted their annual DanceForce concert called “Legendary” at Bolingbrook High School on January 31 and February 1. 
  • Daddy Daughter Social took place on Thursday, February 6 at the Levy Center in Bolingbrook.  Ice Cream Sundaes were served along with an interactive DJ, Photo Booth and crafts.   114 attended!
  • Winterfest was held at the Annerino Community Center on Saturday, February 8 from 10:00am to 2:00pm. The weather was great and there were many smiling faces in attendance that day. 
  • The PreSchool team held virtual graduations and drive through celebrations for their kiddos moving up to Kindergarten!
  • The LifeStyles team created Parkie’s Cares Virtual 5K Race, benefiting the AMITA Health Foundation.  This first-time event had 101 participants!  
  • BPD purchased a portable movie screen and offered three Drive in Movies at the Brooks Middle School parking lot.  50 cars fit in the parking lot, and were charged $5 per car to reserve their spot.   Proceeds went to the Foundation for Bolingbrook Parks
  • Four out of the six Wednesday Night Concerts were held at Village Hall on stage with no audience in attendance due to COVID-19 gathering protocols.  However, the concerts were live streamed on Facebook, the Village Website, and Bolingbrook Community Television.   Audience was permitted for the final two concerts (with distancing protocols).  
  • Rec and Facilities staff offered and participated in multiple virtual program offerings including dance classes, group fitness classes, trivia nights, dance parties, and a fun Reverse Father’s Day Parade on June 20 with a home visit drive-by from Parkie the Pelican.
  • Two Fishing derbies were held at Hidden Lakes (one of them a night time derby).  In addition, Bolingbrook Park District held a free family fishing day at Hidden Lakes in conjunction with IPRA’s Unplug Illinois Day on July 11. 
  • Also on July 11, BPD held its inaugural Family Bike Challenge.   Fourteen Families attended this safe and fun outdoor family activity.   Participants met at BRAC to start the event and were given a map of all challenge locations. Participants had to complete as many challenges in the given 2-hour timeframe. 
  • Reptile Rockstars, was held July 29. Thirty three guests attended and enjoyed a meet-and-greet with five of the facility’s animal residents.  The was the first of several Meijer sponsored partnership programs.
  • Freaky Fun Friday returned to Hidden Oaks on Friday, October 16. In its fourth year, this festival included a Trick or Treat Trail supported by members of the Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce.  Hidden Oaks was also the site for the inaugural Pumpkin Shoot, held on Sunday, November 1.  Fifty people brought their no-longer-needed jack-o-lanterns and shot them with arrows. The event raised funds to support the animal population at Hidden Oaks Nature Center. 
  • Parkie’s Pumpkin Patch was held on October 23 at Pelican Harbor Indoor.   Participants swam, picked a pumpkin, and decorated it!

Recreation Programing, Facilities, and Services 

After the 70-day Shelter in Place (SIP) / Stay At Home Order that began on March 20, Bolingbrook Park District began to re-open facilities (with restrictions) and bring back programming (again, with restrictions).  The following is a comprehensive list of facilities, programs, and services offered following the SIP.

LifeStyles Fitness Center (BRAC Location Only):  LifeStyles was made available for use of equipment through a reservation only system. Some equipment has been moved to the gymnasium to meet the social distancing requirements. General fitness center use is for 45-minute time slots, which are available online.  Group Fit Classes are available for registration only both indoor and outdoor (weather permitting).
Pelican Harbor Indoor/Outdoor Aquatic Park: Pelican Harbor Outdoor Aquatic Park opened on July 16.   Three 3-hour Open Swim sessions per day were held, with a maximum bather load of 200 per swim session.   Thanks to the BGNR team for getting the park operational in 2 weeks!!
Pelican Harbor IndoorLap Swim: Lap swim was made available by reservation for 45-minute time slots.
Camp Connections: Day Camp was re-designed and was called Camp Connections!   Ratio was 8:2 camper/counselor allowing for proper social distancing, handwashing, health checklists, masks worn inside, and appropriate group management and games/activities.
Summer Programming On July 13, Gymnastics/Ninja, Dance, Theatre, Adult Rec classes and Athletics leagues (softball, volleyball) resumed in-person programming  (with restrictions).   
Annerino Community Center:  Daily hours for ACC were reduced from regular open hours to program ending times, due to LifeStyles at ACC permanent closure. 
Bolingbrook Recreation & Aquatic Complex:  Regular daily hours for BRAC were also reduced for BRAC with a slightly later opening and earlier closing.
Hidden Lakes Historic Trout Farm:  Tackle Box Bait Shop opened May 1 and was a busy facility all throughout 2020. 
Boughton Ridge Golf Course:  Open to the public.  Walk up and on-line tee times are available.  Foursomes were allowed with 10-minute tee time intervals.
Ashbury's at Boughton Ridge: Ashbury’s is open daily for patio seating and limited indoor dining from 11:00 am-8:00 pm, Please note there was a limited menu and seating capacity.
Sports Fields:  Sports fields were available for use but were limited to 50 individuals (25 per team, including coaches and officials). There were new use guidelines instituted by the DCEO which affected many of the youth and adult sports
Tennis/Pickleball Courts:  Are open for singles play only (one person on each side of the court). Doubles play is not permitted during this current phase
Basketball, Volleyball, Sand Volleyball Open for play since the beginning of June
Fall Recreation Programs All program areas ran fall programs with COVID-19 protocols, including Pre School.
All Day REACH Working with Valley View, the district implemented an All-Day REACH program to support community members needing care during remote learning time.


Additional Recreation and Facilities Information and Statistics

  • Bolingbrook Park District initially awarded more than $5,000 in Financial Assistance, however cancelled classes resulted in a total of just over $1,100 awarded. 
  • Athletics held both a mens and a co-ed overnight Softball events.  Fifteen and nine teams respectively participated.    
  • Tier 3 Mitigations were put in place beginning November 20.  This affected programs (Gymnastics/Ninja, Indoor Group Fitness, Dance, PreSchool, Theatre, Adult, Athletics, Youth Sports) and services (Ashbury’s indoor dining and banquets).  
  • DanceForce competed virtually in the REVEL Convention and Competition held December 4-6 where many received honors for their performances.  
  • Theatre performed The Year Santa Got Mixed Up in a Zoom performance on December 16. 
  • The Marketing team created Parkie’s Holiday Recreation Pack (letters to Santa, Hot Chocolate Bomb recipe, Parkie’s Paper Ornament Craft, Christmas Light scavenger hunt, and a YouTube link to Recreation Staff reading children’s books) was launched on December 1 with over 500 downloads. 
  • Despite the COVID-19 shutdowns, Bolingbrook Park District ran over 600 Recreation Programs with more than 20,000 participants.  These numbers are significantly lower than our average (3,000 and 100,000), however they demonstrate our commitment to providing as many opportunities for programed rec as possible for our community.
  • Pelican Harbor’s Management and Lifeguard Team earned the 5-Star Aquatic Safety Award for the 2020 season from StarGuard Elite. This award is in recognition of exceptional operational safety standards, lifeguard professionalism, and excellence in risk management practices.
  • Boughton Ridge Golf Course saw the highest golf round total in the last 24 years (25,891) in 2020!


Apex Award

Our Marketing team was recognized as a 2020 APEX Award of Excellence Winner in the Social Media-Facebook Sites category! The Apex Awards are based on graphic design, editorial content, and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence. 

50th Anniversary Celebration

The official 50th Anniversary of Bolingbrook Park District was celebrated on August 11. Even though we weren’t able to celebrate with a community party as we wanted to, staff found ways to mark the occasion in a positive way including:

  • Created a video of Parkie the Pelican decorating the Rec Room at BRAC and celebrating with a dance party on his own and posted to social media. 
  • Created a video documenting the opening of the time capsule in front of BRAC and posted to social media.
  • Released the new playground that opened at Remington Lakes Sports Complex

Family Parks Challenge

A total of 41 families took part in our Summer Parks Challenge: 50th Anniversary Edition. Four winners were selected and received a $50 BPD Gift Card. The challenge took them through 20 of our parks, including those with updated playgrounds as a result of the 2018 referendum. This was a great way to engage with the community and offer a fun way to visit our parks. 

The Bolingbrook Park District News was created as a communication resource and tool to send readers to our website.  

  • Starting in December 2020, this newsletter/newspaper-style mailing piece took the place of the traditional program guide.

  • The program guide has transitioned to digital. Using feedback from the community-wide survey, this new publication accomplishes the following:
    • Provides a considerable cost saving from mailing the traditional program guide while reaching Bolingbrook residents more often (six times).
    • Offers step-by-step instructions to find the digital program guide.
    • Showcases programs and events that have occurred through the use of more photos.
    • Highlights upcoming program and events information. 
    • Explains how our team keeps Bolingbrook beautiful. 
    • Features fun articles about what we’re up to behind the scenes.
    • Introduces our team through staff profiles.