News - Kane County

Batavia Park District to dedicate Philip B. Elfstrom Memorial Greenway Nov. 12

On Nov. 12, the Batavia Park Board of Commissioners will host a ribbon cutting and dedication at 10 a.m., naming a linear park along South River Street in memory of Philip B. Elfstrom, a Batavia leader, visionary and businessman who was instrumental in creating Kane County bike paths along abandoned rail lines.

The legacy of a notable Batavian will be memorialized in a stretch of green space that will bear his name, according to a news release from the Batavia Park District.

On Nov. 12, the Batavia Park Board of Commissioners will host a ribbon cutting and dedication at 10 a.m., naming a linear park along South River Street in memory of Philip B. Elfstrom, a Batavia leader, visionary and businessman who was instrumental in creating Kane County bike paths along abandoned rail lines, the release stated.

The park district-owned trail and open space from Webster Street south to Clark Island Recreation Area will be named The Philip B. Elfstrom Memorial Greenway.

The Greenway dedication honoring Elfstrom is appropriate because he was one of a few citizens who united to create the Batavia Park District around 1970, Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke stated in the release.

In the planning stages for the park district, a model of the Batavia riverfront depicting South River Street was shown.

“The model clearly illustrated that this area of riverfront has a variety of natural attributes that could create a most attractive park and Elfstrom’s vision was a key factor in selling the idea,” Schielke stated in the release.

According to the release, Elfstrom also aided in the beautification of South Batavia Avenue by planting trees and flowers along the roadway, and restored several downtown buildings. In 1982, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce. He died in 2017.

“Phil’s vision supports our mission of being committed to providing fun, safe and innovative space to our community,” Batavia Park District Executive Director Allison Niemela stated in the release. “As a result of the district’s planning efforts and Phil’s generous donation, we have acquired more land and created a purposeful allocation of resources.”

A memorial plaque with the inscription ”This greenway park site is dedicated in memory of a man whose quiet generosity makes it possible for thousands of people each year to enjoy the Fox River Trail in Batavia” recognizes Elfstrom’s contribution to improving quality of life in Batavia.

“Phil was a dear friend of ours,” Niemela stated in the release. “We miss his chuckle, outrageous stories and his uncanny ability to navigate the political waters in an effort to paint a larger-than-life vision, which in turn creates a better quality of life for Batavians.”

The dedication is open to the public. Refreshments and snacks will be served. Parking for the event will be available at Clark Island Recreation Area, 401/411 S. River St.

For more information about the park district, visit https://bataviaparks.org.