Letter from the Board President

Linda Aiani 2015 10 (298x410)

Fall 2018

Committed To Our Future, Inspired By Our Past. This Village motto is one which the Itasca Park District continues to embrace. Our latest example was on Saturday, June 23rd when the Park District rededicated the Ray Franzen Bird Sanctuary. In 1965, Raymond and Violet Franzen donated the north 5.5 acres of the Softball Complex to the Itasca Park District, to preserve open space for the community. It was used as a premier BMX Bike Track for many years in the 70s and early 80s. Then in 1985, the Franzen family donated another 11.84 acres to the Park District. Through the land agreement donation, the Park District agreed to leave this land as a bird and wildlife sanctuary and not touch it for the first five years. On Saturday, October 11, 1986 this area was dedicated as the Ray Franzen Bird Sanctuary. Several years after that dedication the Park District was awarded a grant to develop the current softball fields, parking lot, and wood chipped trails through the sanctuary. Over the years, as more land was acquired, the trails became over grown and unusable. In 2014, the Park District was awarded a $363,500 grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to assist with the $950,000 project. Construction began in 2017 and was completed in June 2018. The project included: picnic shelter, nature based playground, baggos, interpretive signage, dog park (Opening Spring 2019) and 1/3 mile ADA pathway made of boardwalk and concrete throughout the sanctuary. Now for the first time the sanctuary is accessible to all. It is open 365 days of the year, from sunrise to sunset for people to enjoy. With the forward thinking of Itasca ancestors, the continued Park District promise to preserve open space and commitment to Itasca History; this is just another Itasca Park District project which embraces this Village Motto of “Committed To Our Future, Inspired By Our Past.”

Linda Aiani
President, Itasca Park District
Board of Commissioners