Agency Profile

Established by referendum in 1957 as a special purpose unit of government as provided by the Illinois Park District Code.

The Park District was started in 1957 by “Mr. Northfield”, Jim Clarkson. While teaching Physical Education at Sunset Ridge School full-time, the Park District started out as a part-time proposition for Clarkson. The initial home for the District in the 50’s through the 70’s was Jim’s basement. Equipment was housed there, and a separate phone line was added to handle calls regarding programs. In 1980 Clarkson retired from Sunset Ridge and became the full-time Director. With the hiring of an additional full-time person and the Park District’s expanding programs and services, the need for a centralized office became apparent. The Park District moved to Sunset Ridge School, where it was housed in a 10-foot by 12-foot office. From 1987 to 1997 the Northfield Park District had offices in the Middlefork School. From April 1998 to the present the Park District has been housed at the Northfield Community Center. The Community Center was built with the unique cooperation of three entities (Northfield Park District, School District 29, and the Village of Northfield). The Park District owns the Northfield Community Center and the school owns the new gym. The school controls the gym from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and then the Park District takes over. The time available can vary during the school’s basketball season, and the summer months. Through this arrangement, each entity has first priority of the other’s facilities when not in use.


An elected Board of Park Commissioners consisting of 7 members constitutes the governing board of the Park District. Commissioners are elected to serve 4-year term. Commissioners serve without receiving any compensation.

Commissioners elect from among themselves a President and a Vice President. The President and Vice President serve 1-year terms.

Appointed Officials
Commissioners appoint an Executive Director, Treasurer and Attorney/Secretary. The Executive Director serves as the chief executive officer for the Park District and carries out the policies of the Board.

The Park District boundaries generally are from the railroad tracks north to the west side of Central on the east, north side of Winnetka Avenue to the south, east side of Waukegan Road to the west and south side of Voltz Road to the north. There are a small percentage of Northbrook residents who therefore reside in our boundaries and consequently there are also small factions of Northfield residents who do not reside within the Park District boundaries.


Park District population is approximately 5,000.


Real Estate

Equalized assessed value of real estate for 2008 is $610,539,945.



The District collects property taxes.  Sales and other taxes are not levied.  

During the most recent levy year of 2008 - $0.161 per $100 of assessed value was collected.

Fees and Charges

The District approves all fees and charges on a fiscal year (July 1 - June 30).  These fees include program, rental, membership, etc.  during the budget process.  The specific fees may be found on the website in the current brochure. 


Fiscal Year Budget

Proposed operating and capital budget for FY 2009-10 is $1,539,172.  The fiscal year begins on July 1 and concludes on June 30.


Park Resources

The District has three beautiful parks on the North Shore. The largest park is Willow Park.  The 23-acre park has many features including four lighted ball fields, two lighted soccer fields, four outdoor tennis courts, a pathway system with fitness stations, and a picnic shelter. There’s also an area at the north end of the park, which is called the bird sanctuary. 

For our indoor activities the N.P.D. utilizes the Northfield Community Center and Middlefork gyms. 

Clarkson Park is located across the street. This park is just over three acres. Contained in this park are a picnic shelter called the Cavallari Pavilion, the Clarkson Lodge, playground equipment, and a skating rink in the winter. 

Fox Meadow Park - The Park District, along with New Trier Township High School, purchased a 10 acre site on the corner of Willow and Waukegan Road for the development of athletic fields. Contained at the site are three soccer fields, concession stand, gazebo, and tot playground. Two-thirds of the site is owned by the School District and one-third by the Park District. Expenses are divided the same way. The Park District staff works with the New Trier staff to coordinate programming at the site. 

Programs and Services
Provides a full range of activities and services year round. Major recreation programs include athletics, arts, summer day camps, fitness, senior activities and trips, and special events.

Six full-time staff, 2 permanent part-time staff, and seasonal and temporary employees.

National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD), and Illinois Park and Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA).