Villa Park’s Park & Recreation Department maintains 19 beautiful parks and green spaces, totaling over 100 acres, along with several quality recreational facilities, including the Community Recreation Building, the Iowa Community Center, two outdoor swimming pools and the nine-hole Sugar Creek Golf Course—a joint venture between the Villa Park and the Elmhurst Park Districts. The department also supplies residents of all ages and abilities with an exhaustive list of excellent programming. More than 600 programs, ranging from aquatics, youth sports and fitness to martial arts, gymnastics, pre-school, babysitting services and senior activities, comprise the year-round offerings discovered through the Park & Recreation Department.
The Gazebo located on the Scenic Prairie Path is the hub for numerous community events and gatherings. The Gazebo plays host to the Kiwanis Concerts in the Park and Villa Park’s Summerfest, a street fair and community block party.
Illinois Prairie Path and Great Western Trail
The Illinois Prairie Path and Great Western Trails are an integral part of the recreation amenities enjoyed by over 800,000 walkers, runners, bikers and equestrians each year. The Illinois Prairie Path (IPP) is among the region’s finest recreational resources. The 61-mile multi-use limestone path follows the former CA&E Railroad in DuPage County, with portions extending into Kane County to the west and Cook County to the east. Recognized as the state’s first nationally designated trail, the IPP came about through the efforts of May Theilgaard Watts, a writer, illustrator and teacher who sparked public backing through a letter-to-the-editor article for the Chicago Tribune in 1963. Soon after, the IPP Corporation was formed and immediately set out to work. Thanks to the dedication of these volunteers, the IPP has become a wonderful destination for hiking, cycling, jogging, cross-country skiing and horseback riding, as well as a great place for bird watching and natural science education.
In September 2008, the Illinois Prairie Path was inducted into the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame. Villa Park was chosen as the site of the Rail-Trail Hall of Fame plaque, which is prominently displayed at the corner of Ardmore and Park Blvd.
The Great Western Trail, which runs parallel to the Illinois Prairie Path, is located within the right-of-way of the former Chicago Great Western Railroad. The two trails intersect at Villa Ave., giving residents the opportunity and convenience to access both trails within the Village boundaries.
Villa Park residents volunteer in the Annual Prairie Path and Great Western Cleanup trails each year sponsored by the IPP, and the Villa Park Community Pride Commission. This successful event, which draws hundreds of volunteers, is evidence of the pride residents feel for the trail system and community.