General Archives

Find Buddy the Elf!

Posted December 02, 2020

Buddy the Elf will be hiding out at a different park each week starting the week of November 23. A new clue for Buddy’s location will be posted on this webpage and our Facebook page each weekday at 12pm. Every Sunday at 9pm, Buddy will pack up and find a new park to hide out at and a new set of clues for his location will be shared.

Bring your camera to snap photos of Buddy in his hiding spot to share with us on Facebook (be sure to tag @winnetkaparkdistrict). Photos can also be uploaded via this form. The first five people to share photos with us will receive a $10 gift card to a local Winnetka business!

Guidelines

  • The first five people to share a photo of Buddy in his hiding spot each week will receive a gift card. A photo of Buddy is required to receive the gift card – a guess alone does not count.
  • An individual or family may only win one gift card throughout the five weeks, but are encouraged to continue searching for Buddy every week!
  • Please follow social distancing guidelines and wear a face covering when near others outside of your household.
  • Do not touch or move Buddy the Elf.
  • Buddy will remain in his hiding spot from Monday at 12pm through the following Sunday at 9pm before moving to a new location.
    • Week #1: Monday, November 23 at 12pm through Sunday, November 29 at 9pm
    • Week #2: Monday, November 30 at 12pm through Sunday, December 6 at 9pm
    • Week #3: Monday, December 7 at 12pm through Sunday, December 13 at 9pm
    • Week #4: Monday, December 14 at 12pm through Sunday, December 20 at 9pm
    • Week #5: Monday, December 21 at 12pm through Sunday, December 27 at 9pm

Clues – Week #5

Monday, December 21

Tuesday, December 22

Wednesday, December 23

Thursday, December 24

       

Veterans Day Observance

Posted November 11, 2020

Please join us in watching this short video tribute to honor those who have served our country.

Winnetka Park District to acquire lakefront property

Posted October 14, 2020

Charitable transaction helps Park District preserve its beaches

After months of due diligence by the Winnetka Park District’s board of commissioners and staff, the Park District is acquiring the lakefront single-family home and lot that separates Elder Lane Beach and Centennial Beach, allowing the two parks and beaches to be combined into one.  The transaction is being accomplished through a property exchange agreement, which results in the Park District exchanging the southernmost end of Centennial Park/Beach for the lakefront property between Elder Lane Park/Beach and Centennial Park/Beach. The parcel of property the Park District is acquiring is the same width at Sheridan Road and the same width at the beachfront as the parcel of property the Park District is conveying.

“This exchange marks a significant milestone for our Village, aligning Winnetka’s lakefront property to create one of the largest public beaches on the North Shore,” said Mickey Archambault, Winnetka Park District Board of Commissioners President.

The property exchange allows for the combination of Elder Lane Beach and Centennial Beach to provide nearly 1,000 feet of continuous public beach.  It also joins the two parks to create nearly eight contiguous acres of parkland.

“One of the key steps in the Winnetka Waterfront 2030 plan is to acquire the residential property between Elder Lane Park and Centennial Park,” said Warren James, one of seven commissioners of the Winnetka Park District board, which voted unanimously in support of the property exchange. “Only with the acquisition of the property can we implement the Waterfront 2030 plan as it was envisioned and adopted by the Board back in 2015.”

Mr. James, who co-chaired the development of the Winnetka Waterfront 2030 plan, continued, “We are now positioned to construct shoreline breakwaters in a cost-effective, efficient manner to protect Elder Lane Beach, Centennial Beach, and the respective bluffs.  Shoreline protection planning is in the works. We are working to apply for permits in an effort to begin shoreline work next spring.”

The Winnetka Park District recently issued $9 million in bonds to pay for lakefront improvements, $4 million of which is earmarked for significant, critical improvements at Lloyd Beach.

“The remaining $5 million is available for essential shoreline protection measures at Centennial Beach and Elder Lane Beach, which are in dire condition,” said Archambault.

“The two beaches (Elder and Centennial) are approaching a critical condition, similar to Lloyd Beach, as recent lake conditions continue to inflict significant damage which will make future restoration far more expensive if not addressed now.  If we were to pause and not act, we very likely would incur more damage along this shoreline.  In these times, it’s incumbent upon the Park District board to be responsible financial stewards and, in so doing, maintain the value of Winnetka’s wonderful lakefront assets.”

Aside from standard real estate transaction costs, the Winnetka Park District will not incur any expense to exchange the properties, thanks to a private individual’s generosity.

“Merging these two parks by acquiring the private parcel between them has been a priority for many years,” said James.  “So, we’ve kept our eyes on the prize for quite some time.  The pandemic drastically affected the Park District’s revenues and we have been required to significantly tighten the Park District’s expenditures. The Park District has been, and continues to be, without the resources to conduct an outright purchase of the property. In light of its many competing priorities and extremely limited financial resources, the Park District could not have acquired the private parcel independent of the exchange.  When we were presented with an opportunity to accept a gift of substantially greater value in exchange for a parcel of park property, we realized it was a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

“To have a long-term goal realized, given all its positives, truly is amazing and is of great, great benefit to the residents of Winnetka.”

Conceptual rendering from the Waterfront 2030 plan of Elder Lane Beach/Park and Centennial Beach/Park combined into one.

Website Focus Group Participants Needed

Posted September 10, 2020

We are redesigning our website and want to hear from you on what you like and don’t like about our current website. Your input will help us create a new website that is more user-friendly, easier to navigate, and visually appealing. 

Focus Groups

  • Date: Tuesday, October 13
  • Times: 9-10:30am, 11am-12:30pm, or 6-7:30pm
  • Location: Winnetka Golf Club, outdoor patio/screened-in porch

Participant Commitment

  • Fill out a short questionnaire before your focus group (five minutes or less)
  • Actively participate in focus group (90 minutes)

Social Distancing

Focus groups will be outdoors or in a screened-in area (depending on weather). Each group will include eight to ten participants, one moderator, and two park district staff. Participants will be spaced at least six feet apart. Sanitizing stations will be available, and all tables and chairs disinfected between groups. 

Sign Up

If you are interested, please fill out this form. We will finalize focus groups and notify participants by September 30. Thank you in advance for your time and input! 

If you have questions or need additional information, please reach out to Kelsey Raftery at kraftery@nullwinpark.org or (847) 501-2044.

Green Bay Trail Photo Contest

Posted September 01, 2020

Co-Sponsored by Friends of the Green Bay Trail and Charles Schwab

 

Enjoy some time outdoors and help us celebrate the beautiful Green Bay Trail! Submit your photos to Friends of the Green Bay Trail anytime before September 30th, 2020.

Voting is open from October 1st through the 18th. Anyone and everyone is encouraged to vote for their favorite photos! A total of 12 winners will be chosen.

Click here to learn more.

 
 
 
 

The Butterfly Garden at Dwyer Park

Posted August 14, 2020

You may have noticed an explosion of color and a host of butterflies in The Butterfly Garden at the north end of Dwyer Park this summer. This garden, created and maintained by Garden Guild of Winnetka for more than 20 years, is a beautiful landmark in our community and a crucial habitat for butterflies and bees.

All the plants in the garden serve as nurseries for caterpillars and/or nectar sources for butterflies. The garden features two different species of milkweed — the only feeding source for monarch caterpillars and the only plant that monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on.

Blooms start in spring, with white daffodils and purple grape hyacinth. Summer exhibits intense color from orange and yellow yarrow, purple coneflower, and magenta blazing star. Fall brings the jewel tones of asters, goldenrod, and ornamental grasses. Take some time to smell the fragrance of butterfly bush, garden phlox, and sweet pepperbush. Nearly 30 botanical plant markers are on-site to aid in identification, and the Life Cycle of the Butterfly sign at the west corner of the garden is great for children.

We encourage you to enjoy this garden gem throughout the seasons! Stop by to read a book, have your morning coffee, or to find ideas for your own pollinator garden at home. Click here to view all the plants in the garden.

To learn more, visit the Garden Guild of Winnetka website or reach out to Meg O’Gara at mogara1@nullme.com.

A friendly note: please do not capture the butterflies, as this is their home.

Congratulations to our Fourth of July Parade Winners!

Posted July 08, 2020

Thank you to all who participated in our Fourth of July Parade. We had a total of 73 vehicles come out and celebrate with us. Prizes were given to the best decorated vehicles. Congratulations to the winning families!

Click here to view a recording of the parade.

Best Decorated Vehicle

#1 Free session of summer camp: Vehicle 26, Hardy Family
#2 Beach season pass for a family of four: Vehicle 7, Brown Family
#3 Free session of tennis group lesson: Vehicle 71, Wentezl Family
#4 Free session of skating or hockey group lesson: Vehicle 45, Morse Family

People’s Choice Award

Free golf foursome with two carts: Vehicle 10, Evans Family

Tennis Returns to Winnetka!

Posted May 14, 2020

In accordance with national, state, and local directives, and industry guidelines, we’ve developed a phase-in approach to tennis. Our number one priority is to provide a safe, cautious, and slow return to tennis. Here is the current four-phased overview to gradually return to tennis:

Our responsibility is to provide a safe, cautious, and slow return to tennis. Please review the United States Tennis Association website to learn more about playing tennis safely.

The first phase of tennis in Winnetka will look different in many ways. Here are the current guidelines to begin play using the outdoor courts:

  • The courts currently are available via the reduced operating hours of 6:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., seven days a week.
  • All courts must be reserved by contacting the A.C. Nielsen front desk. Please dial (847) 501-2065 ext. 0.
  • Each participant will be required to waive claims and hold the Park District harmless for injuries, illness or losses, including COVID-19, sustained as a result of his or her tennis play at the Park District.
  • While it is not mandated, each player is encouraged to use a mask or a bandana mask.
  • Currently, only singles recreational play is permitted.
  • Play is limited to two adults. If one player is 18 years of age or younger, she/he must be accompanied by an adult within the minor’s immediate family.
  • Private lessons are provided on a one-on-one format only.
  • Each player is required to use no more than six (6) specifically numbered tennis balls to manage touch-points between players.
  • At the time of a reservation. A two-can ball purchase will be required for $10.
  • Ball purchase will be charged at time of reservation. Payment for the tennis balls will be by credit card only.
  • Balls will be delivered to the court at your reserved time.
  • To manage social distancing, only outdoor courts are available (courts 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 12).
  • Indoor facility and related amenities remain closed.
  • All drinking fountains are off and all bathrooms are closed.
  • No food is permitted on the courts.
  • All benches and score tenders have been removed from the courts.
  • All entrance gates must remain open.
  • Congregating is not permitted on the courts, near the courts, or in the parking lot.

The Nielsen Tennis Center operates as an enterprise fund within the Winnetka Park District and is supported solely by user fees. Since early March, the facility and its operations have been significantly impacted, leading to a significant financial impact. We ask that you support safe play practices and the Nielsen Tennis Center by purchasing a two (2) canisters of new tennis balls for $10 total, which will include differently numbered balls for each player to handle.

As always the Winnetka Park District thanks you for your support of the A.C. Nielsen Tennis Center as we continue to work together to bring tennis back in a safe manner.

Call (847) 501-2065 ext. 0 to reserve a court today!

Winnetka Resident and Former Board Member Named Park District Executive Director

Posted April 27, 2020

The Winnetka Park District Board of Commissioners appointed resident and former vice president of the park board, John Peterson, as the new executive director of the park district at the April 23 board meeting. Peterson’s appointment is effective May 1. He replaces John Muno who served as executive director since March 2017. Muno will be retiring after more than 30 years in the parks and recreation industry, including nine years with the Winnetka Park District. Muno and Peterson will work closely together now through July to ensure a smooth transition of leadership.

“The board and I are confident that John Peterson is the right person to lead the park district, especially through these uncertain times,” said Mickey Archambault, park board president. “He is a seasoned leader with extensive experience managing and directing business operations. This combined with his first-hand knowledge of our community makes him uniquely qualified to lead the Winnetka Park District successfully into the future.”

Peterson has served on the park board since May 2015, taking on the role of vice president in 2018. He has been involved in several large-scale park projects, including the renovation of both Hubbard Woods and Dwyer Parks and the development and execution of the Winnetka Waterfront 2030 Plan. He has also served on the board’s administration, revenue facilities, and stormwater management committees, and as a park district representative to the Winnetka Parks Foundation and District 36.

Peterson and his wife, Julie, have resided in the North Shore since 1991, moving to Winnetka in 2012. They have a daughter and a son who attended District 36 and New Trier. Peterson earned a bachelor of science in journalism and a bachelor of arts in economics from Northwestern University, as well as a masters in management from the Kellogg School of Management. He spent his 31-year career with Aon plc, holding various leadership roles to establish and grow business units, improve employee engagement, drive client excellence, and deliver strong financial performance.

At-home activities and resources roundup

Posted March 19, 2020

During our district-wide closure, we want to provide the community with tips and ideas to stay happy, active and healthy at home during this challenging time. Follow our ideas for fitness and exercise, indoor and outdoor activities, crafts and projects for all ages. We will be updating this blog post, our Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Workouts

woman-exercising

Stay healthy and active with at-home workouts. We’ve started compiling a list with many options – from local studios doing Facebook lives to YouTube channels to free trials!

Kid Activities

Virtual Museum and Parks Visits

Meditation and more

Helpful Links