In November 1973, Dolores C. Sullivan’s dream of establishing the Vernon Hills Park District became reality. With a Board of 5 Commissioners, the Park District designed and defined the District’s future.
Today, over 40 years later, the Vernon Hills Park District is still striving to meet the leisure needs and physical activity demands of a rapidly growing Village. The Park District boasts more than 400 acres of parkland and waters throughout the Village that serves as a backdrop for leisurely walks as well as competitive sports leagues and festivals.
As Vernon Hills has grown, so has the Park District. Executive Director Jeff Fougerousse oversees a staff of 47 full-time employees and approximately 350 part-time and seasonal employees who are responsible for providing quality programs and community events, maintaining seven facilities and 24 parks, and continually meeting the needs of Vernon Hill’s residents.
In January 2003, some of the administrative staff moved into the former Village Hall, now known as the Larry Laschen Community Center. In addition to the office space, the Laschen Center offers additional room rentals as well as a home for more Park District programs.
The Dolores C. Sullivan Center, 635 N. Aspen Drive, still serves as the heart of the Park District, housing some of the administrative personnel as well as most of the programs the Park District offers.
In December, 2012, the Park District purchased the Central Lake YMCA, which is now known as the Lakeview Fitness Center. The cardio and weight rooms at the Sullivan Community Center were closed in February, 2013, and all equipment was moved to the Lakeview Fitness Center. In 2013, the Lakeview Fitness Center underwent a transformation to increase space and update the facility with a modern and bright design. Improvements included a new lobby area, redesigned babysitting area, redesigned group exercise area increasing space by 50%, created separate cardio and and free weight rooms adding new new equipment, and renovated the spa area. The entire interior of building received a fresh coat of paint and new flooring. Housed within the Lakeview Fitness Center is Little Learners Childcare, a fully licensed DCFS Childcare facility for ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. The Lakeview Fitness Center is also home to the Turtles Swim Team.
In the Spring of 2014, the new 15,000 square foot Park Maintenance facility opened on Indianwood Drive in Century Park North. This facility is nearly double in size from the former Park Maintenance building on Phillip Drive. All vehicles, equipment, and dry goods are stored inside the facility. The building also boasts men’s and women’s locker rooms, office spaces, lunch area, and meeting space.
In addition to the web site, three program brochures are mailed to all residents throughout the year. Students attending schools in Hawthorn District #73 receive a monthly newsletter during the school year that acts as a reminder of events and programs. The District also sends out a monthly E-newsletter to subscribers about Park District events and programs. From youth sports to a variety of summer camps, the Park District prides itself in offering quality family-oriented programs and events for all ages.