Local News

Newly formed Crystal Lake Parks Initiative Foundation aims to raise money for special park district projects

Foundation is currently going through steps to become a 501(3)(c) nonprofit, plans on creating a wish-list of projects

A new fundraising organization for the Crystal Lake Park District, which was formed last week, aims to raise money for different programs, facilities and projects, its organizers said.

The Crystal Lake Parks Initiative Foundation had its first meeting last Wednesday, where they chose officers and reviewed bylaws, foundationPresident Bryan Younge said.

So far, 11 people have agreed to be part of the new Initiative Foundation, Crystal Lake Park District Executive Director Jason Herbster said.

Essentially, the foundation, although a separate entity from the park district, will be an offshoot the park district can lean on when it comes to doing special projects. Ideally, the foundation initiative will focus on going above and beyond the park district’s regular projects, such as playground replacements, Herbster said.

One of the first projects the foundation initiative could potentially look at is raising funds for an outdoor ball hockey rink, an amenity not currently found in Crystal Lake or surrounding areas, Herbster said.

“We felt it was a good amenity, ... but one that we currently don’t have the funds to support,” he said.

Other communities, such as Huntley and Cary, have similar foundations to help support projects. The Cary Park Foundation, for instance, has helped support programs at the Kraus Senior Center and scholarships for local high school students, according to its website.

A previous Crystal Lake Park District foundation dissolved a year and a half ago because it was essentially inactive, Herbster said.

This new iteration will be headed by Younge, who will serve as president; Doreen Orist as vice president; Michele Hartwig as secretary; and Felicia White as treasurer.

Younge was tapped by Hartwig because of his family’s involvement with the park district and contributions to Lakewood as a former village trustee, Younge said.

“The foundation, I think, is going to enjoy feeling out where opportunities are,” Younge said, adding that this also means “understanding the needs of the community and such to develop its focus and mission.”

The foundation won’t have taxing authority but, Herbster said, taxpayers will benefit by getting more amenities and improvements to the community.

To start, the group plans on meeting every month, although this could increase or decrease depending on projects it is working on, Herbster said.

At the next meeting, foundation initiative members plan to look at creating a wish list of future projects and the foundation initiative is working on becoming registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

Anyone interested in getting involved with the foundation initiative can reach out to Herbster.

“The incubation process has begun already,” Younge said.