Letter from the Board President

Linda Aiani 2015 10 (298x410)

Winter/Spring 2019 

I am going to share with you the hidden jewel of Itasca…. The Itasca Nature Center!
Ten years ago the Village of Itasca, who owns the building and property, was looking for a
way to increase program utilization at the facility for the residents. Who else but the Itasca
Park District, whose purpose is to provide parks and recreation, could help in this undertaking.

The Village and Park District collaborated in 2008, to revitalize the interior of the facility –
new flooring, windows, interior painting, upgraded washrooms and more. Then in 2014,
the Park District was awarded a $335,000 grant for the Nature Center. Phase I was
completed in 2015 and included exterior building painting, building accessibility, new roof,
new HVAC and hot water heater, and other needed building repairs. Phase II was put on
hold, as the grant was suspended in early 2015. This second phase was to include the
revitalization of the interior and development of 5 new interactive animal exhibits.

 In October 2018, the Park District received notice that the $335,000 grant has been
reinstated! Staff are working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to move
forward with Phase II, with goal to complete in 2019; along with the installation of new
exterior pathway and interpretive signage throughout the trails.

 What other highlights can I mention about the Nature Center?

• The Village has completed the accessible trail system and boardwalks over the wetlands
throughout the property
• Wings and Talons has made the Nature Center home to nine birds of prey
Pathway Entrances include: the Nature Center, Depot Museum Park, behind Village Hall, off
Valley Road and on the corner of Grove and Forest. Along the paths next to the creek you will
find benches and raised logs to sit and enjoy the calming effect of Spring Brook. Lights will be
added to the bridge connecting the Nature Center to the Village’s government complex.

Since 1978, the intergovernmental cooperation between the Village of Itasca and the Itasca Park
District has continued to make possible upgrades and enhancements throughout the grounds and
the building, so that everyone can utilize them.

Programs for all ages are offered year round, the mews hold new resident birds of prey,
bicyclists can ride on wide paths, birdwatchers can see an array of feathered friends, wheelchairs and strollers can use the
entire pathway system and a small giving garden supplies the Itasca Food Pantry with fresh produce in
the summer. Inside the building there are a few critters that call the Nature Center home.

 The best part is that the grounds are open every day of the year. For the building hours you can check the
Itasca Park District website and for the latest nature news follow the Springbrook Nature Center on Facebook.

 The Itasca Nature Center is another example of how independent taxing bodies working together benefits Itasca.

Linda Aiani
President, Itasca Park District
Board of Commissioners