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 current Board consists of Lisa Chalem, Mary Ann Chambers, Penelope J. Randel, Michael Schyman, Jeffrey C. Simon, Kenneth Slepicka and Michael Ziering.
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 700 part-time, seasonal and temporary employees and hundreds of volunteers in six divisions:
- Parks and Properties
- Golf Operations
- Information Technology and Staff Development
- Marketing and Communications
- Administration and Finance
The Northbrook Park District is 17.25-square-miles and is 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 2017 equalized assessed value (EAV) of real estate was $2,682,584,797.
The 2017 tax rate was $0.419 per $100 of assessed value (5% of average real estate tax bill).
Fiscal Year Budget
The current budget represents 12 months of activity beginning on January 1, 2019 and concluding on December 31, 2019. The total budget for 2019 is $29.3 million, which encompasses:
- An operating budget of $16.3 million
- A capital improvement and repair budget of $10.9 million
- A debt retirement budget of $2.1 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 holds title to 508.9 acres and leases 2.4 acres from the Village of Northbrook. The District maintains 23 park areas, comprised of community parks, neighborhood parks, play lots and passive parks. Unique and premier facilities include the Ed Rudolph Velodrome (banked bicycle racing track), Sportsman’s Country Club, 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, miniature golf course, two sled hills, dozens of baseball diamonds and soccer fields, 22 tennis courts, 18 playgrounds, numerous picnic areas and trails, 2 fishing lakes and a Teams Challenge Course.
The District provides a full range of indoor and outdoor activities. Major recreation programs include summer camps, ice skating, performing arts, athletics, preschool and aquatics. Annual special events include a Winter Carnival, Daddy-Daughter Dance, Spring Bunny Trail, Kids’ Fishing Derby, Northbrook-On-Ice, Rock the Green (Battle of Youth Bands), Park Fest (free outdoor concerts), Kids’ Duathlon, Liberty Loop 5K, Touch-A-Truck, and Northbrook Autumnfest.
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.