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Sycamore Park District celebrates its 90th year

SYCAMORE – Admission to the Sycamore Park District’s fitness center is only 90 cents today.

It will be 90 cents on the ninth day of every month this year as part of the multiple ways the Sycamore Park District is celebrating its 90th anniversary.

“We do turn 90, and we thought these are some things we can do to say thank you to our citizens for supporting us for 90 years,” said executive director Dan Gibble.

The park district also will be hosting giveaways during Concerts in the Park or Cookies with Santa in December, Gibble said.

On a larger scale, the park district will host a Geocaching Treasure Hunt on Jan. 20, said Bart Desch, the park district’s superintendent of recreation. With the help of local residents, the park district has hidden a number of items around the city’s various parks. People hunt for items that are tagged and located by devices or smartphone apps with GPS.

“It’s kind of like a treasure hunt,” said Desch, describing geocaching. “This app on your phone will give you directions. Your phone will make a noise – and some of them are in trees, you take a picture with it with your phone. It’s a hide-and-seek thing.”

Events such as the Geocaching Treasure Hunt are designed to get people outside and learn about their parks, Desch said. Experienced geocachers will be on hand to help participants, as well as to provide extra GPS devices. The event starts at 1 p.m. at the golf course clubhouse.

In addition to the treasure hunt, the park district will be hosting a bicycle rally June 8 at the Sycamore Park Sports Complex, located north of Airport Road, and an ice cream social July 14 at Wetzel Park, 212 Rowantree Drive.

Gibble said the last time the park district significantly celebrated an anniversary was its 75th.

“[The events are] being done because there aren’t a whole lot of park districts that are 90 years old,” Gibble said. “There are maybe a dozen to two dozen districts in the state that are older than we are.”

On Dec. 7 – which is the park district’s actual birthday – the park district will have an open house at the Sycamore Clubhouse, 940 E. State St. They will also name the winners of the yearlong photo competition the district is hosting. Sycamore residents older than age 7 can submit up to two photos featuring some aspect of the park district.

Desch encouraged people to stay up to date on the 90th anniversary celebration, as the park district will be hosting little events throughout the year. Gibble said it’s all being held to thank the residents for their support over the years.

“There’s 300 park districts in the state of Illinois. To turn 90 is a big thing,” Gibble said. “We just wanted to thank our residents.”

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