H-F Park District Timeline
The Homewood-Flossmoor Park District was established in January 1969 by a merger of the separate and distinct Homewood and Flossmoor Park Districts. The combining of two governmental agencies was fairly unprecedented at that time, but with considerable vision into the potential benefits to the citizens of the greater community, the two boards recognized both communities would benefit by combining resources. These same two communities shared a high school, so it was anticipated that a merger in parks and recreation would also be successful. It is with great enthusiasm that one can look back over the years to note truly progressive accomplishments.
Park Districts Merge
On January 6, 1969, the Homewood Park District and Flossmoor Park District merge in an effort to better serve the Homewood-Flossmoor community.
Mick Pope becomes the first Executive Director of the H-F Park District.
Board of Commissioners Barth Richards, K.K. Erickson, Maurice Beckett, Donald D. Boroian and Mrs. Spencer E. Irons are appointed.
$87,000 grant received
from Bureau of
Dolphin Lake Club Purchased
The park board unanimously approves the purchase of the 8.5-acre Dolphin Lake Club complex which included the lake, land, pool and building for $175,000. The pool reopens on June 12, 1971.
Park district embarks on a $155,000 plan to upgrade the overall park system.
Irons Oaks Established
Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center is established as a jointly owned and operated facility of the Homewood-Flossmoor and Olympia Fields Park Districts. Preserve lands are acquired with funding from the Bureau of Outdoor Recreation, Land and Water Conservation Fund and land donations from adjoining residents, including the namesake Irons family.
Dave Colmer becomes Executive Director.
H-F Tennis Club Opens
The H-F Tennis Club opens on January 7 for an initial membership of 750. This facility is unique in that it was totally constructed and operated through the fees and charges of the users. This is the first facility of its kind in the State of Illinois financed 100% through publicly sold revenue bonds.
H-F Ice Arena Opens
The park district builds a 1.5 million dollar Ice Arena on 4.6 acres deeded to the park district by the school district. Fifty-four contractors work around the clock to complete the project.
H-F Tennis Club 1st expansion.
Park district purchases the Lions Club Pool complex from the local Lions Club.
Greg Meyer becomes Executive Director.
Lions Pool Renovation
With the help of a $229,200 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Lions Club Pool receives its first facelift. A new bathhouse, enlarged deck, new wading pool and a concession area are constructed. In addition, pool plumbing is repaired and/or replaced.
Hometown Award given to the park district by the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs.
Park district’s Senior Citizen Program is developed.
Irwin Community Center
The Park District receives a $2 million dollar donation from Mr. & Mrs, Richard D. Irwin to purchase and develop the Richard D. Irwin Park and the Marie Irwin Community Center. The multi-phase project is completed in September 1986.
H-F Racquet & Fitness Club Renovation
The H-F Racquet Club undergoes its second expansion in 1986. This expansion adds two more indoor tennis courts (total 10), an indoor lap pool and an aerobic studio. One of the existing four racquetball courts is turned into a physical fitness room with exercise equipment and a super circuit weight training area. The name of the club is changed to the H-F Racquet & Fitness Club.
Ridge School Demolished
The park district purchases and demolishes the Ridge School building to further expand Irwin Park. The new land makes room for the Irwin Fountain, a gazebo and playground.
Park Pride Day Program Begins
Park Pride Day begins in 1987 as a program designed to involve the community in the beautification of their parks. This program is being copied in many communities and will continue to be a great celebration of community volunteerism every year.
Purchase of the Heakin property along with the
purchases of Ridge School and Central School allowed for further Irwin Park development.
NRPA Gold Medal
The park district wins first NRPA National Gold Medal for excellence in park and recreation administration, outstanding facilities, programs and staff.
Dolphin Lake Shore mitigation plan is completed with a $70,000 expenditure to re-establish the Dolphin Lake shoreline.
Apollo Park Bike Path
The Apollo Park bike path, a $215,000 two-mile long bicycle path encompassing both Apollo and Butterfield parks is completed. A $117,000 grant was received through the Department of Conservation for the completion of this path. The path winds through Apollo Park and the wooded area near Butterfield Creek.
Lions Club Pool Renovation
Lions Club pool receives its second facelift with a $1.1 million dollar renovation. This upgrade includes a water slide, playground, sand volleyball courts and a new filter room.
H-F Racquet & Fitness Club Renvoation
The H-F Racquet & Fitness Club sees the culmination of two-years of planning with the fourth addition to the Club. The addition added approximately 30,000 square feet with a running track, a large fitness area, new locker facilities, and a health and wellness center.
Goldberg Administration Center
Dr. Alan Goldberg makes a $240,000 donation to the park district in memory of his wife, Gretchen Goldberg. The donation was the amount necessary to fund the purchase of a 3.3 acre parcel of property. In 1996, the new park, playground and administration center opens to the public and is named in Gretchen Goldberg’s honor.
With the help of the very vocal and active Friends of the Park District Foundation, the park district successfully passes a $12 million referendum for acquisition of three parcels of land – Cherry Hills Golf Course, the Hines Lumber site and the 187th Street Army Reserve site.
Before & After School Care program is initiated in conjunction with both Homewood and Flossmoor elementary school districts.
The Homewood Auditorium, leased from the village, undergoes a major renovation.
Millennium Park Opens
Millennium Park opens on the site of the former Hines Lumber Company. This land was purchased and developed with funding received as a result of the 1998 community referendum. Millennium Park includes a soccer field, in line skate rink, walking path, parking lot, pavilion, playground and the district’s first splash pad.
H-F Ice Arena Renovation
The H-F Ice Arena undergoes a million dollar facelift in 2000. Renovations include the addition of six locker rooms to the north side of the building. The pro shop was moved across the lobby and expanded. The old pro shop area was brought up to the same level as the rest of the lobby and remodeled into a new party/conference room.
Phase III of Irwin Park is completed and includes a plaza area with a gazebo.
Patriots Park Opens
The former Army Reserve site on 187th Street in Homewood is donated to the park district by the National Park Service and developed into a beautiful park, including a walking path, parking lot, ball fields, gazebo, circus themed playground and the district’s first disc golf course. After the events of September 11, 2001, the park is renamed Patriots Park.
Sports Complex Opens
The park district completes a new partnership with School District 153, splitting the cost of a Sports Complex consisting of one large gymnasium with dividing curtain and a computer lab.
Irons Oaks Administration Center Opens
The Irons Oaks Environmental Learning Center opens a brand new office and recreation building in 2002. The new center offers meeting/party rooms, program space and offices for the Environmental Learning Center staff.
An Illinois Department of Natural Resources ISM grant is awarded for construction of the Discovery Center at Irons Oaks.
Coyote Run Golf Course Opens
Following the 1998 referendum, construction begins in September 2003 for the brand new, Greg Martin designed, golf course to be called Coyote Run located in Flossmoor, IL.
Coyote Run officially opens on June 25, 2005
Debbie Kopas becomes Executive Director.
NRPA Gold Medal
The park district wins its second NRPA National Gold Medal for excellence in park and recreation administration, outstanding facilities, programs and staff.
New park district logo is adopted.
Irwin Center Remodel
The Irwin Center roof and entrance repair and remodeling project is completed.
Dolphin Pool is permanently closed due to its aging infrastructure.
Koi Pond at Goldberg Center
The koi pond at the Goldberg Administration Center is completely renovated and rebuilt. Once again Dr. Goldberg assisted with the funding for this project.
Wiley’s Grill Opens
The park district takes over the restaurant at Coyote Run Golf Course and hires a consultant to facilitate operations. The facility is named Wiley’s Grill after the goose dog at the golf course.
New Slide at Lions Club Pool
A new, modern water slide is installed for the start of the 2013 pool season. This slide replaces the aging wooden slide that was part of the 1993 pool renovations.
Construction of new high ropes course for Irons Oaks.
The Park District is awarded a $400,000 Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development (OSLAD) grant for improvements at Dolphin Lake Park.
A $10,000 grant is received from ComEd Green Regions/Openlands for pond restoration at Irons Oaks.
Clubhouse at Dolphin Lake Opens
The old Dolphin Lake Clubhouse was demolished and new construction began on the original Clubhouse foundation. The new facility features a large event/meeting room, scenic view of Dolphin Lake, wrap-around deck and a catering kitchen. The park has a shelter, walking paths, fishing outlooks and dock. The facility officially opened in October, 2015.
Park Place Remodeled
Flossmoor Fieldhouse is redecorated by the Recreation Department and renamed Park Place in Flossmoor Park.
A $7,700 grant from the Morton Arboretum helps fund 60 replacement trees after losing 308 Ash trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer.
New Splash Pad Opens
A new splash pad is installed at Millennium park. The pad features new water play components and provides a fun, unique and safe water play experience for all ages.
NRPA Gold Medal
In 2018, the park district wins its third NRPA National Gold Medal for excellence in park and recreation administration, outstanding facilities, programs and staff.