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The Fitness Club at the Rec Center offers amazing group fitness classes if you prefer to workout with a group, one-on-one personal training for individual coaching, and the best of cardiovascular and strength equipment to help you feel better and be better! After a busy summer, fall is the time to focus on you. We are here to help you get stronger and improve your health so you can experience life to the fullest. Are YOU ready to get fit, have fun, and get happy? Take a look at these one-of-a-kind fitness offerings:

Start your day in the most breathtaking way – with a Yoga class at Rosewood Beach! Classes are held year-round on the boardwalk and in the Interpretive Center, where the wooded bluffs and soothing sounds of Lake Michigan add their special je ne sais quoi to each session. Yoga has significant proven health benefits, including back pain relief; reduced stress; increased energy; and improving your overall strength, balance and flexibility. Sign up today!

Indoor cycling has never been this rewarding – or this much fun! The Rec Center has 21 Stages Premier SC3 Cycling bikes that engage each rider with a personalized, immersive, interactive experience via the Stages Studio Plus display. Our instructors are dedicated to your success and are pros at keeping you motivated and moving toward your individual fitness goal. Get started with Group Exercise Classes.

Here’s a pro fitness tip: We make it easy for you to try everything in the Rec Center with a two-week Trial Membership. Interested? Come into the Rec Center to get started today!

Getting into the swim of things – Every summer, Open Water Swim in Lake Michigan, at Rosewood Beach, is one of our most popular programs. Once you try it, you’ll know why! Read about it here. With the change of season and the closing of our outdoor pools, now is the perfect time to add indoor lap swimming to your fitness routine. The 6-lane, 25-yard pool provides Rec Center members with open swim/lap swim times every day, to make it easier for you to set a consistent schedule. Wondering about lap swimming as exercise? It’s easy on the joints and it has a meditative quality because you focus on your movement and breathing. Here are a few more of the benefits you can expect from swimming laps:

Change it up and move your fitness routine outdoors! – Because the Rec Center is located at our newest park, The Preserve of Highland Park, you can take easily advantage of the walking & biking trails and the woodlands & gardens throughout this unique 100+ acre green space.

Fun Fit Events – Staying fit is important all year, and we have extra special happenings every season to help keep you motivated! The popular Twisted Turkey Triathlon in November is a non-competitive event where everyone is welcome, everyone wins— and every participant gets a T-shirt! It features 10 minutes of swimming, a 20-minute Run/Walk, and 40 minutes of Indoor Cycling, plus lots of great drawing prizes. Now’s the time to start training for this fun community event, where we all get Calories Out before putting Calories In during the holidays. Learn more and sign up today!

A word about Fitness Memberships: Affordable.

Our Annual Memberships and Short-Term Passes give you options to meet YOUR needs for creating a workout plan that fits your schedule, your budget, and your goals for getting and staying healthy. Try a variety of classes and equipment with a Day Access, Week Pass, or 10-Punch Pass before you commit to an Annual Membership. Read all about them here, then give us a call and take a tour of the Rec Center with our friendly, knowledgeable staff. See you soon!

What’s in, what’s out, what’s right for you.

Before we start, let’s get one thing straight: we’re talking trends here, not fads.

At the Recreation Center of Highland Park Fitness Club, we’re always researching, learning, and implementing the best of the current health & fitness trends, so you can work out efficiently and get the results you want. Starting in 2020, through 2021, and into 2022, we offered a wide range of unprecedented programs that kept you moving, breathing, stretching, and getting stronger. Smaller classes. Outdoor classes. Hybrid classes. Online classes. All designed and run by our expert instructors, with changes and updates to keep the workouts interesting, and keep you motivated.

After a full summer of family activities, this fall is the perfect time for you to get back to your personal workout routine, and we’re ready with a combination of classes, equipment, and instructors to help you be healthy, fit, and happy!

Here’s what’s happening now in fitness centers around the world and right here at your Rec Center Fitness Club. 

Wearable Technology. This has been high on the list of every survey for the past seven years, and it’s the #1 trend for 2022. Activity trackers from all the major brands—including Apple,® Garmin,® Polar,® and Fitbit®—are on everyone’s wish list. There’s a tracker to fit any budget, and different ones are rated best for running, swimming, cycling, and strength workouts. These devices track a wide range of activities and help you monitor daily steps, calories burned, heart rate, blood pressure, and even your sleep habits. All of those are important to your overall health, and in 2022 more people are using wearable technology inside and outside the gym. What about fitness apps? The surveys say more people prefer to wear their fitness trackers on their wrist throughout the day vs using a smartphone app.

Fitness facilities, including your Recreation Center, are fast becoming the new community center and an important place for social networking. We talked with dozens of our members over the past few months, and what we heard over and over was that working out at the Rec Center simply made you feel happier. Office workers have shifted to remote work, and their time in the gym not only improves health and relieves stress, it’s where so many of you look forward to face-to-face interaction with a supportive community. At-home workouts have been popular, but training with an instructor and other fitness enthusiasts offers a completely different experience. So, while we still offer hybrid and online classes, we all look forward to welcoming you back to in-person training in our safe, friendly environment.

Let’s talk specifics. There are a number of fitness trends that have moved up in the rankings this year (and some that are not as popular as before). Here’s a bit about the ones at the top of every list:

Strength training with free weights. We have a dedicated strength training area at the Rec Center, and we’ve certainly seen the growth in popularity with our members. What does it do? Simple: It helps you become stronger. Why is that important? For basic daily activities like keeping up with your kids and carrying groceries. For athletes, it builds endurance, speed, and power. It increases your metabolic rate and helps burn lots of calories. Strength training can lead to better balance, help you manage weight, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and is proven to improve bone density. It can also help to control stress and anxiety. Talk to our staff and see if a consistent strength training routine is right for you.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has been among the top-rated exercise programs for almost 10 years. It involves short bursts of high-intensity exercise followed by a short period of rest. A HIIT fitness regimen is also in line with the move towards shorter workouts of 45 minutes or less. Try a class and see why it continues to be so popular.

Personal Training includes fitness testing and individualized goal setting. You work one-on-one with a trainer as they develop workouts specific to your personal fitness needs and goals. Training this way got a boost recently due to online availability but is now moving back into the Rec Center where it is truly more personal. Find out more.

Stretch and Recover. Recognized as excellent preventive fitness for all athletes, to minimize time away from the game and regular workouts, this is now de rigueur for post-injury exercising. Stretch and recover programs include Yoga, which also offers an increase in strength, and helps stress management.

Outdoor fitness programs. While walking, hiking, and running have been popular for decades, organized outdoor fitness classes led by our dedicated instructors are so much more fun at The Preserve of Highland Park, surrounding the Recreation Center. Three seasons of beautiful flora and fauna put you in an atmosphere that just can’t be duplicated. It’s a fitness experience quite unlike any other.

What’s new this fall? Here are just a few fun fitness programs we’re super excited about.

KidsClub (formerly KidFit) is back! Our safe and fun childcare services let you concentrate on your fitness routine while you’re at the Rec Center. KidsClub membership options include unlimited childcare, use of the beautiful indoor pool, and lots of open-gym time. Learn more about KidsClub.

Adult Full Court Basketball. Hey ballers…want to get in an energizing game with your friends and neighbors before going off to work? Gym times are being set up now for the fall. Don’t miss out—join the Rec Center today! Learn more about Open Gym.

Indoor drop-in pickleball. You asked for it, you’ve been waiting for it, and we are thrilled to offer it! Stay tuned for the days and times that play will be available. Drop-in for a daily fee, get a 10-play pass, or save on every game with a Recreation Center Fitness Club membership. Looking for a Pickleball League? We have them. Are you new to Pickleball? We have lessons! Read more here.

Wiggle Time is coming this October. Get out of the house and give your little ones room to play on our beautiful basketball courts. We provide balls, scooters, and lots of other fun equipment for kids to enjoy. Stay tuned for more information!

Stages Studio Spin – Indoor cycle enthusiasts will be blown away by our newest boutique experience at our Fitness Club. Stages Studio Pro Plus Cycling combines top-of-the-line indoor cycle bikes used in premier facilities across the globe along with exciting color-based interactive visual group display, music videos, and more. This experience levels the playing field for everyone to individually maximize their ride, feel good, have fun, and achieve goals. 

If you have any questions, contact Jodi DiTomasso, Fitness Manager, at jditomasso@pdhp.org

Updates from the August Park Board Meetings

August 10: Finance Committee Meeting 

Staff reviewed the long-term emergency replacement proposals for the compromised ice rink floor at Centennial Ice Arena and provided a recommendation. The Park Board awarded the project to Ice Builders, Inc. The emergency replacement project is estimated to cost approximately $1.5 million and will take approximately six months to complete.  

Staff also reviewed the bid results from the 2022 Centennial Ice Arena Renovation and Site Improvements Project and provided a recommendation. It was the consensus of the Park Board to proceed with the bid from Stuckey Construction which includes lobby renovations, removal of the concession area, updated locker and restrooms, along with an improved drop-off area and vehicle turn-around, resurfaced parking lots with more lighting and pedestrian connections, and drainage improvements to protect the infrastructure.  

Lastly, staff provided an update of the District’s Ten-Year Funding Model.

August 10: Workshop Meeting Of The Park Board

Finding in accordance with Park District Code, Article 8, Section 1, that–due to the unique circumstances present in this case concerning the nature of the work and the timing required–the replacement work for the Centennial Ice Arena is not adapted to award by competitive bidding; and, further, The Park Board of Commissioners authorized the Executive Director to enter into an Agreement with Ice Builders for design and construction services, labor and materials for the Centennial Ice Arena Rink Replacement Project in the amount of $1,391,790, subject to final contract document approval by Park District Corporate Counsel, Ancel Glink.

August 17: Facility And Recreation Committee Meeting

Architect consultants, Holabird and Root, and Construction Managers, Gilbane Construction Company, provided a progress of the conceptual plans and plan to deliver cost estimates at the next meeting.

August 18: Finance Committee Meeting 

Staff reviewed the quarterly treasurer’s report and financial forecasts by fund through July 31, 2022.

Staff also reviewed the bid opening for the 2022 Facility and Parks Asphalt Improvements Project and provided a contract recommendation. The project would replace cart path holes 2, 3, 4, and 5, repair the parking lot at Heller Nature Center parking, and stripe the parking lot at Sunset Woods Park. Staff received consensus from the Finance Committee to place the contract from Troch McNeil Paving Company on the consent agenda at the August 24 Regular Meeting.

August 24: Regular Meeting Of The Park Board

Staff provided a review of the design renderings and floor plan layouts for the facility and entry renovations for the 2022 Centennial Ice Arena Renovation Improvement Project. The Park Board of Commissioners accepted base bid Items 1-10 and 12-14, alternates 3,7,11,12,14 from Stuckey Construction for the 2022 Centennial Ice Arena Renovation Improvement Project, authorizing the Executive Director to enter into an Agreement in the amount of $3,533,755. The Park Board of Commissioners also accepted change order 1 amounting to a deduct of $36,858 from the project.

Staff reviewed the Park Avenue Breakwater and Boat Ramp construction schedule. Mobilization begins September 6. The concrete launch ramp and sand ramp will be closed during construction, motorized watercraft can use the Lloyd Beach boat launch with the Winnetka Park District.  Non-motorized watercraft can launch from the south beach on weeknights and weekends.

Staff received consensus from the Park Board of Commissioners to sell the 552 Electric Zamboni and request approval of a ratified Ordinance Providing for the Conveyance or Sale of Surplus Personal Property at the September 14 Workshop meeting.

With over 700 acres of land, 45 parks, four beaches and nine facilities, the Park District of Highland Park is one of the largest and certainly one of the most diverse districts in Illinois. 

View a summary of the Park District’s progress in 2021, in our Annual Report

Before heading out to your favorite Park District of Highland Park facility on Labor Day weekend, check out our hours!

FacilitySaturday, September 3Sunday, September 4Monday, September 5
Centennial Ice ArenaClosedClosedClosed; No Gymnastic Classes at Lincoln
Deer Creek Racquet ClubClosedClosedClosed
Heller Nature CenterBuilding Open 9am-3pm,Trails Open 7:30am to Dusk Building Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to DuskBuilding Closed, Trails Open 7:30am to Dusk
Hidden Creek AquaPark (closed for the season starting Tues., Sept 6) Lap Swim - 5:30-10am; Public Swim - Noon-5pmLap Swim - 5:30-10am; Public Swim - Noon-5pmLap Swim - 5:30-10am; Public Swim - Noon-5pm
Highland Park Golf Learning Center8am-7pm8am-7pm8am-7pm
Recreation Center of Highland Park (Fitness)7am-4pm7am-4pm7am-Noon
Recreation Center of Highland Park (Indoor Pool)ClosedClosedClosed
River's Edge Mini Golf8am-7pm8am-7pm8am-7pm
Rosewood Beach (swimming beach is closed for the season starting Tues., Sept 6) 10am-6pm10am-6pm10am-6pm
Sunset Valley Golf Club6am-7pm (weather permitting)6am-7pm (weather permitting)6am-7pm (weather permitting)
West Ridge CenterClosed8:30am-4pmClosed

Blast off!

The iconic Rocket Ship playground for 5-12 year-olds is now open for play! Visit it today at Sunset Woods Park! (1801 Sunset Rd) An interpretive sign at the playground tells the story of the rocketship’s importance to the Highland Park community. The playground is adjacent to a new nature-themed playground for 2-5 year-olds and a new seating plaza which opened earlier this summer. The seating plaza was funded by the Parks Foundation of Highland Park.
Stay tuned for an official grand opening event of the playgrounds and seating plaza announcement coming soon!

Thank you for your patience throughout construction!

Watch a short fly-over video!

At the August 10th Board Meeting, the Park District of Highland Park Board of Commissioners gave approval for an unexpected and necessary replacement of the Centennial Ice Arena rink floor.

During regular annual maintenance in June, staff uncovered an unknown issue on the Centennial rink floor. The Park District acted swiftly to conduct an exhaustive investigation of the facility and ice flooring system with an engineering firm. The findings confirmed that the building is structurally sound. However, the rink floor had been compromised and requires complete replacement.  

The rink floor emergency replacement project is estimated to cost approximately $1.5m. The Park Board awarded the project to Ice Builders, Inc, headquartered in Liverpool, New York. Ice Builders has completed several successful ice-skating rink installations in the Chicago area, including the Glenview Ice Center and Skokie Skatium Ice Rink, and successfully completed a project for the Park District of Highland Park at Centennial in 2003. The Centennial project begins immediately and will take approximately six months to complete.  

During the project, Centennial Ice Center will remain closed. This is very disappointing for our Park District, our participants, and the community. Our top priority is to deliver essential recreation programs to our community safely. To this end, we have several options for our skaters:

Off-Ice Programs – Students can improve athleticism by working on flexibility, core strength, balance, and jump techniques to enhance their on-ice performance. Programs will be held this Fall at the Recreation Center of Highland Park. Learn more and register.

On-Ice Programs – We have partnered with the Winnetka Park District to provide Learn-to-Skate programs for our skaters this Fall at the Winnetka Ice Arena ( 490 Hibbard, Winnetka, IL). The Winnetka Park District is also generously extending resident rates to Highland Park residents for their Fall Learn-to-Skate programs. Learn more and register for Winnetka Learn-to-Skate classes.

On-Ice Hockey Programs – Looking to learn how to play hockey? Register for on-ice programs with the Falcons. Contact Nick Meo, Falcons Hockey Association, at nmeo15@gmail.com for more information.

An expeditious replacement of the Centennial ice rink floor is a priority for the Park District so we can reopen the facility for our skating families. We will keep residents and our Centennial ice participants updated on the replacement of the rink floor timeline and progress. 

In a separate but related project, bids were considered at the Park Board of Commissioner’s August 10th Finance Committee meeting to renovate the Centennial Ice Center lobby, multi-purpose room, locker rooms, office space, restrooms, and parking lot.  The contract award for this renovation project is expected at the August Park Board meeting, and construction is anticipated to start in Sept.

Find updates and more information on the Centennial Ice Arena Renovation and Rink Replacement projects.

The Park District’s gymnastics programs will continue to be offered at Lincoln School, located at 711 Lincoln Ave. Register for fall gymnastics classes.