Grand Opening of the CRC

Park District of Oak Park Celebrates Grand Opening of the New Community Recreation Center

The highly anticipated new Community Recreation Center (CRC) located at 229 Madison Street is officially opening its doors to the public on May 22, 2023. The much-needed community facility offers a wide range of amenities and programs designed to promote health, wellness, and community engagement. The 42,000-square-foot Center features the following amenities:

•Three-lane indoor walking/running track
•Fitness center with cardio machines, strength-training equipment, and free weights
•12,000-square foot gymnasium with 12 basketball hoops that can be converted into two middle-school sized basketball courts or four short courts and will also host pickleball, volleyball, badminton, and more
•Esports Lounge equipped with consoles, PCs, and video games for classes, tournaments, and open play
•Childcare (3 months to 11 years old) for CRC visitors
•Inclusive locker room equipped with individual lockers, private changing rooms, lavatories, and showers
•Multi-purpose room for programs and events
•Two community rooms available for programs and meetings
•Free afterschool program for Oak Park youth in 6th through 12th grade on school days from3:00 – 6:00 p.m. with structured and unstructured activities supervised by our staff social worker beginning fall 2023
•Access to mental health resources from the Community Mental Health Board office suite
The facility is fully electric and collects energy through solar panels and energy saving construction and mechanics. The facility is also equipped with battery storage that collects and stores electricity so the facility may continue operations in the event of a power outage. This

facility is the second Park District facility built to operate as a Net Zero facility and is a testament to our commitment to sustainability. This amenity was made possible by a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Foundation and supplemental funding from the Village of Oak Park’s sustainability funding.

“We are thrilled to provide our community members with a new space to engage in healthy activities and to connect with neighbors,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the Park District. “Our goal is to create a welcoming, inclusive environment where everyone feels they belong, and encouraged to pursue their health and wellness goals.”

To celebrate the grand opening of the Community Recreation Center, there will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a grand opening event on Sunday, May 21 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. The community is invited to explore all the CRC has to offer with family friendly activities, games, and giveaways. Visitors are welcome to walk the indoor track and participate in organized and open game play in the gymnasium, Esports Lounge, and Playzone childcare room. They can also explore the fitness center where staff will be available for questions and demonstrations or enjoy fitness and dance demos in the Fitness & Dance studio. Additionally, Rush Oak Park Hospital staff will provide health screenings and feature our “Walk with a Doc” program.

Monthly memberships starting at $25 for adults 19+, $20 for 12–18-year-olds, and $5 for 8–11-year-olds will be available for purchase. Fitness and Playzone childcare passes will also be available for purchase. Finally, all Oak Park residents can sign up for a free CRC Track Membership which allows access to the walking/running track during normal operating hours.

“We invite everyone in Oak Park to join us for this exciting occasion and learn more about the many ways the Community Recreation Center can enhance their quality of life,” added Kassie Porreca, Park Board President. “We’re confident the CRC will be a central gathering place for our community and a great source of pride for years to come.”
For more information about the Community Recreation Center and its

programs, please visit


About the Park District of Oak Park: The Park District of Oak Park serves the recreation needs of Oak Park’s 53,000 residents, providing nearly 3,000 programs and special events annually throughout our versatile recreation centers: 18 parks totaling 84 acres, two outdoor pools, indoor ice rink, gymnastic center, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion and Pleasant Home. Since 1912, our high-quality programs and well-maintained parks and facilities have dependably met residents’ diverse leisure, wellness, childcare and other needs and helped enhance quality of life. Learn more at

2021 Frank Lloyd Wright Races Go Virtual

After much thought and consideration with PDOP staff and the Oak Park Health Department, it is with great disappointment that we announce the cancellation of our in-person Frank Lloyd Wright Races this year. In light of the continued rise in Oak Park COVID-19 cases and the change in Oak Park’s community transmission range from Substantial to High, which would require every race participant (regardless of vaccination status) to provide a negative COVID test within 48 hours of the race, we cannot safely and logistically provide a high-quality race experience for our community and race participants.

This unfortunate decision was not taken lightly as our staff and participants were preparing for the races with much excitement and enthusiasm. In order keep the tradition going, we will once again host our races virtually as we did in 2020 when the pandemic cancelled many in-person events.

How does a virtual race work? Register for the virtual race here: FLW Virtual Races. The cost to participate is $18 and includes our uniquely designed Frank Lloyd Races, long-sleeved t-shirt. On October 17, or any day before that, run/jog/walk the 5K or 10K route of your choice and enjoy participating in this 45-year-old, Oak Park tradition.

For those who registered for the in-person race, please check your email for details about your registration options.

We hope to see you back in 2022 as we plan to host the FLW Races in person once again. Until then, we wish you continued good health.

Community Service Awards

(left to right) Board Members Kassie Porreca, Chris Wollmuth, CSA Recipients Mary Ellen Murphy, Isabel Romero Calvo, Mary O’Kiersey, Board Members Sandy Lentz, David Wick

Every year the Park District of Oak Park presents Community Service Awards to organizations and individuals in our community who have made a significant impact on parks and recreation in our community, improving the quality of life for all residents. This year’s recipients personify this spirit of commitment and dedication.

Mary O’Kiersey, a volunteer since 2010, Mary helps manage special events for the Oak Park Conservatory along with participating in the Cheney Mansion vegetable volunteer group, Mills Tower Garden Club and a member of the OPRF Garden Club.

Mary Ellen Murphy, a volunteer since 2010, Mary Ellen is the co-chair of the Friends of the Oak Park Conservatory Plant Sale, a University of Illinois Master Gardener and volunteers weekly with the Exploration Station. Mary Ellen is also an active volunteer in the native and perennial beds at Cheney Mansion and volunteer at the Park Ridge Garden Club.

Donna Makow, a volunteer since 2010, Donna is a dedicated weekly volunteer in the Cheney Mansion vegetable garden as well as various events for the Friends of Oak Park Conservatory.

Martha Yount, a volunteer since 2016, Martha volunteers at Cheney Mansion and Oak Park Conservatory and has helped with education programs and special events at the Conservatory in the past.

Kathie Gillies, a volunteer since 2018, Kathie is currently a member of the education committee and in the past, has been a key member in planning special events for the Oak Park Conservatory.

Isabel Romero Calvo, a volunteer since 2019, Isabel can be found working in the gardens of Cheney Mansion or at the Conservatory helping with various projects. Isabel is a native of Granada, Spain but after moving to the South Loop, found the Conservatory and has volunteered ever since.

Ann Courter, a volunteer since 2020, Ann started in the docent-training program abut moved on to become a weekly volunteer at Cheney Mansion when tours were sidelined due to COVID-19. Ann also helps out at the showrooms at the Oak Park Conservatory.

It was an honor to recognize these community leaders at the June Park Board Meeting.