On June 29, 1927, the Northbrook Park District was formed with Commissioners Clarence Bartelme, Wallace Clore, J.W. Cooksey, E.D. Landwehr and Herman Meier, President. The first order of business was to appropriate an $1,800 budget for fiscal year 1927.
In 1994, the District became the first park district in the United States to be accredited by the National Park and Recreation Association (NPRA) for its management, programming and operational proficiency. Then in 1996, the District received the National Gold Medal Award from NPRA for excellence in park and recreation management.
A seven-member, volunteer Park Board of Commissioners establishes District policy, strategic direction and governing ordinances. Commissioners are elected to serve staggered, four-year terms.
The District has an appointed Executive Director responsible to the Board of Commissioners for the administration of the District, along with a full-time staff of 73. The District also employs roughly 500 part-time, seasonal and temporary employees and hundreds of volunteers in five divisions:
- Parks and Properties
- Golf Operations
- Marketing and Communications
- Administration and Finance
The Northbrook Park District is 17.25-square-miles and located in northern Cook County, 26 miles north of downtown Chicago, Illinois. The District lies in Northfield and Wheeling Townships and is bordered by Deerfield and Highland Park on the north, Glenview on the south, Glencoe and Northfield on the east, and Wheeling on the west. In addition, hundreds of acres of Cook County Forest Preserves surround the District. The District serves all of Northbrook, as well as small portions of Deerfield and unincorporated Cook County.
According to the 2010 census, the population of Northbrook is 33,170, with 25,361 residents over the age of 18.
The District serves a highly educated, professional community of homeowners with an estimated median household income of $95,665 and a median age of about 48.5 years. Northbrook has 13,434 housing units (12,642 occupied, 792 vacant).
The District has continued to grow in importance to the community. As the population ages, the District adjusts program offerings and concentrates on customer service, helping to maintain goodwill in the community. In addition to its own programs, the District works with several affiliates to offer recreational opportunities, including baseball, hockey, soccer, tennis, biking and skating.
To help families with financial need, the District offers scholarships for some camps and programs, working with Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook to determine need. The 2017 budget for scholarships is $9,000. The District also offers extended payment plans for program participation.
The 2019 equalized assessed value (EAV) of real estate was $3,000,974,422.
The 2019 tax rate was $0.416 per $100 of assessed value (5.5% of average real estate tax bill).
Fiscal Year Budget
The current budget represents 12 months of activity beginning on January 1, 2021 and concluding on December 31, 2021. The total budget for 2021is $28.9 million, which encompasses:
- An operating budget of $15.0 million
- A capital improvement and repair budget of $11.6 million
- A debt retirement budget of $2.3 million
The District occasionally issues General Obligation Bonds for capital improvements and holds an Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investor Service on its outstanding debt.
The District maintains 543 acres across a service area of 13 square miles. The District maintains 24 park areas, comprised of community parks, neighborhood parks, play lots and passive parks. Unique and premier facilities include Techny Prairie Activity Center, a 44,200 square foot facility for fitness and recreation, Heritage Oaks Golf Club with the Classic 18 and Legacy 9 courses, Techny Prairie Park and Fields, the Leisure Center, Senior Center, Northbrook Theatre and the Northbrook Sports Center, containing two full-sized indoor ice rinks. Recreational facilities include two outdoor swimming facilities, 36 holes of golf, a driving range, two sled hills, dozens of baseball diamonds and soccer fields, 19 tennis courts, 18 playgrounds, numerous picnic areas and trails, and two fishing lakes.
The District provides a full range of indoor and outdoor activities and special events. Major recreation programs include fitness, summer camps, ice skating, performing arts, athletics, preschool and aquatics.
The Northbrook Park District is a member of the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD).
The District is affiliated with the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) to provide recreational activities and services for residents with special needs.