Enriching community life through quality parks and recreation for all ages
Westmont is a great place for active families. The Westmont Park District maintains over 150 acres of park property throughout the village. Recreational activities are scheduled throughout the year and are listed in our seasonal activities brochure which is delivered to residents of the entire village three times each year. The Westmont Park District uses its parks and facilities as well as the recreational assets of village schools in a comprehensive program of athletics, exercise and special events. There is an activity for every age group from toddlers to senior citizens.
One of the primary goals of the Westmont Park District is to protect open land and park space for the recreational use of Westmont residents. The Westmont Park District has more than 20 parks and open play spaces located throughout the village. Each park is designed to offer its own unique setting for recreation.
The Westmont Park District has made great accomplishments since its formation in 1959. We are proud to continue to do all that we can to provide a fun and safe recreation atmosphere for all ages to enjoy.
The Westmont Park District was formed in April 1959 by a referendum. The referendum asked the Village if they wanted to have a park district. The vote was 184 for and 59 against.
The first elected Commissioners were:
- Joseph Johanik
- Robert LaPointe
- Arthur B Hancock
- Paul Erdman
- Martin Bernard
The first Budget and Appropriation Ordinance was for $20,000.
The first two parks purchased by the newly formed Park District were Kiwanis Park for $2,400 and LeBeck Park for $800. Both were purchased in the first year.
In 1959-1960 the Park District agreed to purchase Veteran’s Memorial Park from the American Legion for $25,000. This was the amount the American Legion paid for the 10 acres in the 1950’s. The agreement with the Legion stated that the property would always remain a public park.
The years from 1959 to 1972 the Westmont Park District operated with a part-time staff, utilizing public facilities in the community to run programs. The Westmont Park District owned Veteran’s Memorial Park, LeBeck Park and Kiwanis Park during this period.
The Westmont Park District contracted to have a master plan developed to determine the community’s needs and future plans. The master plan was instrumental in the passage of the 1973 referendum that funded the construction of the Community Center, the acquisition of Twin Lakes Park, Sentinel Park and Fritz Werley Park. The master plan emphasized the need for a community swimming pool along with the land acquisition and the Community Center. In 1974 the Westmont Park District hired its first full time director.
Gregg House was relocated to Veteran’s Memorial Park and serves as the Community Museum.
During the 1980’s the Westmont Park District acquired several park sites that included:
- Lions Park
- Deer Creek
- Williams Cove Park
- Rotary Park
- Mertz Park
- Muddy Waters Park
- Blackhawk Park
- Oakwood Park
In 1984 the Westmont Park District purchased Twin Lakes Golf Course for $880,000 committing current funds to the acquisition. The 26 acre site continues to serve as the District’s 9 hole golf course.
During the 90’s the District acquired several park sites and facilities. These include:
- Senior Center/Administration Center
- Bellerive Park
- Twin Lakes Woods
- Wilderness Park
- Fitness Club
In 1998 the Westmont Park District acquired 36 acres of property for 6.3 million dollars. The District issued 8 million in bonds to not only purchase the property but to develop it. The Park District was extremely fortunate to have Ty Warner decide to locate his corporate office across the street from the park. With Ty’s financial assistance the land was developed and name Ty Warner Park after his donation of approximately 7 million dollars toward the development.
Ty Warner Park opens and becomes a very popular attraction for people of all ages. Due to the popularity of the park, Ty Warner purchases a 5 acre site south of the park on Plaza Drive and donates it to the Park District. The 5 acre was purchased for a future pool site if and when the community decided they wanted an aquatic complex. The 5 acres site is called Ty Warner South and is the site of a soccer field.
In 2004 Bellerive Park was improved with the assistance of a DNR development grant. A shelter with washrooms, playground, additional parking lot and a skate/bike park were added.
A 2004 community interest survey indicated the number one desire for the community was an aquatic facility. This led to the creation of a “Friends of the Pool” foundation to educate the public and generate interest for the purposes of passing a referendum to construct an aquatic facility on the 5 acres across from Ty Warner Park. This would have involved a land swap of Mr. Ty Warner’s adjacent IGI gymnastics parcel and Blackhawk Park to assemble the acreage necessary to build such a facility. The referendum failed in the spring, and again in the fall, of 2005.
During this time numerous existing parks and playgrounds were updated and improved. Many of the District’s oldest playgrounds, many of which were made of wood, were replaced. The most significant change was at Twin Lakes Park (now known as Diane Main Park). With the assistance of an OSLAD development grant the park received a significant overhaul. Improvements included a new shelter with restrooms, new tennis and basketball courts, pathway replacement, tree plantings and new bridges over St. Joseph’s creek in what is now known as Smith Woods.
The golf course saw additional improvements when 4 of the 9 holes were redesigned creating a true 9 hole par 3 improving the pace of play and overall golfing experience. As part of these improvements the golf course tore down the old, undersized and poorly located garage on the parking lot. In its place a proper maintenance yard with garage was constructed off the 7th hole near the woods.
In 2009 the District celebrated it’s 50th Anniversary.
In 1998 the District was to be awarded a grant to purchase a 4.78 acre parcel on south Wilmette Ave. where McNaughton Homes transformed the area into upscale subdivisions. No parkland existed in this previously unincorporated area. After the homeowner pulled back on the sale the District entered into a right of first refusal on the land. In 2013 the homeowner approached the District suggesting it might be time to sell but he wanted to stay in his home. With the assistance of a DNR acquisition grant the property was acquired in 2015 allowing the previous owner to stay in his home through a Life Estate. In 2018 The District developed Robert Bernas Park with the assistance of another DNR development grant. The Village also conveyed the 2 acre fishing pond to the District increasing the open space and recreational opportunities.
2018 brought about negotiations with FMC aquatic opportunities and the Village of Westmont to bring Illinois’ first Olympic caliber Natatorium to Westmont after efforts to build this at Oak Brook Hills Hotel and Resort failed. A successful agreement was reached allowing the Natatorium at Ty Warner Park to be constructed on the 5 acres previously slated for an aquatic facility across from Ty Warner Park. The facility opened quietly in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2020 and 2021 were all about COVID-19. Programs and staffing were greatly impacted yet the need for parks and recreation proved invaluable during this time as park districts became one of the only outlets during the pandemic.
As a result of COVID the game of golf and golf industry saw a tremendous rebound. This success has allowed the District to reinvest in Twin Lakes Golf Course. Improvements were made on the irrigation system, irrigation pond and some of the course itself.
COVID has adversely impacted the District’s ability to acquire equipment and materials. Golf carts and new trucks continue to be unavailable.
In 2021 and 2022 the District acquired a couple smaller parcels with the assistance of DNR grants and a DCEO grant. The one acre parcel at 314 N. Grant St. and the adjacent ½ acre parcel at 350 N. grant St. were acquired. Additionally, a 1acre parcel at 418 N. Warwick Ave. was acquired with a DNR acquisition grant through a Village of Westmont IGA to expand Fritz Werley Park as compensation for the loss of 5 acres that made way for the Natatorium. A development grant application has been submitted in September of 2022 to help with the proposed redevelopment of Fritz Werley Park.
The most significant development occurred in 2022 with the Board’s approval of the District’s first 5 Year Capital Plan. 4.877 million dollars were obtained through General Obligation Non-Referendum Bonds in April of 2021 to fund the 5 year plan. This will chart the course for spending and development over the next 5 years funding the District’s first building in over two decades, a new multi-purpose building at Veterans Memorial Park overlooking the picnic grove. The building is scheduled to be open in 2023.