Waukegan, Illinois (October 17, 2023) – The Waukegan Park District and Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County – Waukegan have officially opened the Adaptive Recreation Center, located at 540 S. McAlister Avenue in Roosevelt Park. The facility was formerly vacant and has been renovated into programming space designed for individuals with disabilities. The facility features unique and innovative rooms, including a sensory room, an art and music room, a media room, a demonstration kitchen, a multi-purpose room, and two activity rooms.
To assist with the renovation of the facility, Senator Adriane Johnson secured the allocation of $350,000 from the State of Illinois and the Lake County Board allocated $150,000 through funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. The funds covered many of the general construction costs.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation, Inc. generously donated $25,500 to the Waukegan Parks Foundation for development of the sensory room, a hands-on area where individuals can engage with their senses and immerse themselves in a personalized experience. From bubble tubes to projected images, the sensory room is intended to provide calming and active sensory experiences.
Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County (SRSNLC) is an intergovernmental cooperative entity that provides community recreation to persons with disabilities at the Waukegan Park District and the Zion Park District. The Waukegan Park District has been a member park district of SRSNLC since 2000. Their mission is to educate citizens to become responsible, productive, and contributing members of our society by preparing them through recreation in a dynamic and caring environment, promoting enthusiasm, and inviting their participation.
Jeremiah Johnson, President of the Waukegan Park District Board of Commissioners, stated, “The Adaptive Recreation Center will enhance the recreation and leisure opportunities designed for individuals with disabilities. The facility was designed so that the Waukegan Park District and Special Recreation Services of Northern Lake County – Waukegan can better meet the needs of families in our community.”
Jay Lerner, Executive Director of the Waukegan Park District, stated, “The Waukegan Park District is committed to providing special recreation services for our community. With several accessible rooms and state-of-the-art technology, the Adaptive Recreation Center was transformed from a vacant building to an innovative facility with expanded space for programs and events designed for individuals with disabilities.”
About the Waukegan Park District
Established on December 26, 1916, the Waukegan Park District (WPD) has 53 properties and more than 742 acres of land, including the 18-hole Bonnie Brook and 9-hole Greenshire Golf Courses. Properties are managed to the highest environmental and conservation standards. Facilities operated by the WPD include the Field House Sports, Fitness and Aquatics Center, Waukegan’s Greg Petry SportsPark, Waukegan Skate Park, BMX Track, SplashZone, Percussion Playground, recreational centers, disc golf course, dog exercise area and agility course, outdoor sports fields, picnic areas, playgrounds, splash pads, and sports courts including basketball, tennis and pickleball. A full range of programs and services are offered year-round for all ages, from infants to seniors, as well as special need populations. Healthy lifestyles, wellness initiatives, and a connection with the outdoors and nature are integrated throughout programs, services, and special events. Arts and cultural activities are provided by the Jack Benny Center for the Arts, Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Concert Chorus, and the Waukegan History Museum. We offer something for everyone!
A member of the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD), Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the Park District Risk Management Agency (PDRMA), the WPD employs 73 full-time and 219 part-time, seasonal, and temporary employees and is recognized by the IPRA as an Exceptional Workplace.
Nationally accredited by the NRPA Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and State accredited through the IAPD Distinguished Agency Accreditation, the WPD has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Triple Crown Award for receiving the GFOA’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Popular Annual Financial Reporting Award, and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award. The WPD was awarded the NRPA National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management in 2013, and was named a Gold Medal Finalist in 2012, 2013, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023.