50 Years of Bringing People Together
The Channahon Park District was created August 13, 1971 by the community to manage the I & M Canal State Park in Channahon, a 12 acre park. 50 years and more than 500 acres, 19 parks and four facilities later, the Channahon Park District is proud to celebrate its 50th anniversary!
In its early years the Park District offered a few summer events and programs including day camp, tennis lessons, softball and swimming at the Manor Motel’s pool, which the district leased.
In the mid-1970s, the Park District acquired approximately 120 acres of the Scarcelli Farm east of Interstate 55 on Canal Road. The result, Community Park, remains the Park District’s largest park.
The approval of a park site contribution ordinance by the Village of Channahon in the late 1970s, which required developers to donate land to the Park District for park sites, allowed the Park District to expand its outdoor park space. Eighteen of the Park District’s neighborhood parks were obtained under the ordinance.
Before obtaining its own program facilities, the Park District utilized many local partnerships including Channahon School District 17 gymnasiums for indoor activities.
During the 1980s, the Park District continued to grow. In 1983, the Park District acquired the property for what is now 44-acre Central Park, as well as Skateland Recreation Center. In 1991, the Park District opened Arrowhead Community Center on the Central Park property and relocated Park District offices there.
The Park District’s long-sought plans for an aquatic facility and a golf course were realized in 1993, with the opening of Tomahawk Aquatic Center and Heritage Bluffs Public Golf Club. The Bluffs was quickly recognized as one of the top public golf facilities in the nation and has garnered numerous awards throughout its 28 years.
Playing a lead role in community partnerships has continued to help the Park District grow and expand services to the community. The most significant has been the development of Heritage Crossing Field House with Channahon School District 17 in 2003. Constructed with Channahon Junior High School, the facility has been a model for intergovernmental cooperation in facility development and use.
Another more recent partnership with the Channahon Township brought Sengo Adventure Garden to the community in 2019, the first inclusive playground in the area. The adventure garden was named to recognize the area’s Potawatomi heritage, Sengo is the Potawatomi word for red squirrel.
Arroyo Trails, a popular 78-acre nature park and trail, was created through a partnership with the People for Channahon Parks Foundation. The nature park development was funded by the dollars raised by the People for Channahon Parks Foundation. Founded in 2009, the Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that solicits support for the Channahon Park District through volunteerism, gifts and grants.
The Park District has been recognized as a premier provider of parks and recreation. A National Park and Recreation Association National Gold Medal Finalist in 1996 and 1997, the Park District was named the Grand Award Winner in 1997 as the top public park agency in the country with a population under 25,000. The Park District has been recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency by the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association since 2014.
In celebrating 50 years of serving the community the Channahon Park District will be burying a time capsule later this year to be opened in 50 years! The community is invited to include a special moment they’ve had at a Channahon Park District event, facility, park, camp, program or activity that you would like to share with the community in 2071. Visit www.ChannahonPark.org/50-years for more information.
The Channahon Park District looks forward to continuing to fulfill its mission of bringing people together through the numerous parks and facilities it maintains, and a variety of programs and activities it plans for all ages throughout the year.
Check back often for updates on activities, events, specials, and more throughout 2021!
Channaholidays, a Winter Celebration – Free Event!
Channahon Village Hall/Central Park
Brought to you by the Village of Channahon, Channahon Park District and Three Rivers Public Library District.
Kick off the winter season with the Channahon Park District, Village of Channahon, and Three Rivers Library to celebrate all things winter! Play a game of Winter Bingo, decorate a cookie with way too many sprinkles, grab a hot chocolate, stroll the luminary walk, enjoy a carriage ride, make a holiday craft, stuff your pockets at the candy cane scramble, and enjoy performances from local student groups. Finish the evening off with the lighting of Channahon’s holiday tree!