Bensenville Park District executive director reflects on 2023

Bensenville, Ill. (December 21, 2023) — Bensenville Park District Executive Director Joe Vallez recapped the park district’s top accomplishments of 2023, noting 10 items of pride during the district’s December 20 board meeting.

“The Bensenville Park District is proud of the great year we’ve had in 2023,” Vallez said, noting numerous program, event and facility improvements. The following “top 10 list” was among the accomplishments Vallez presented to the board during its December meeting:

10. New veteran’s events: Following an announcement made by Board President Rich Johnson on Veterans Day 2022, the park district put together two new free events, a July 4 veterans swim and a veterans golf outing June 26 at White Pines. Approximately 35 veterans took part in the two events.

9. New interpretive signage at Breiter-Palm Park: Following the renovation of the park in 2022 that included a new fitness trail and accessible playground, new interpretive signage was added that highlights the activities on the fitness trail as well as park history, landscape features and the peace pole.

8. The first “Senior Prom:” In an effort to create additional special events for the active adult population, park district and White Pines staff collaborated in creating the special dance that featured a dinner, dancing and live music for an affordable price. The event has been rebranded as the “Second Chance Dance,” set for Feb. 4, 2024.

7. Basketball Champions: The Bensenville Park District’s girls basketball teams (Grades 5-6 and 6-7) won Intervillage League titles in March.

6. Park district special events: The Bensenville Park District posted strong attendance growth at the Easter Egg Hunt and Eggstravaganza (1,300), Harvest Fest (2,080), Monster Mash (1,800) and Farmside Christmas (460).

5. Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies: The Bensenville Park District forged a partnership with AllenForce to provide veterans with Wood Street Fitness memberships and classes, promoting healthy fitness habits and a positive outlet for stress relief, and up to 15 personal training sessions with a qualified Healthy Minds Healthy Bodies professional. Monthly networking opportunities provide mentoring, peer support, connections with other veteran organizations and adapted sport experiences.

4. Pickleball: The Bensenville Park District offered America’s fastest-growing sport for the first time in spring 2023, with regular court hours in the Deer Grove Leisure Center Gym. In summer, pickleball lessons were offered for the first time, and in fall, lessons were expanded because of the popularity of the program.

3. Hispanic Heritage: The Bensenville Park District hosted its first-ever Hispanic Heritage Month celebration October 6, with more than 700 attending the event at White Pines. The district hired Mariachi and Norteña bands as well as ballet folklorico. Additionally, the event included a kermes fundraiser for Fenton High School.

2. Friends of Bensenville Parks: The summer of 2023 formation of the Friends of Bensenville Parks Foundation enabled community members and businesses a means to support park district programs and participation for those who would otherwise be unable to participate in those programs due to financial constraints. The foundation’s first event, the Fore the Kids Golf Classic, raised approximately $15,000 for the foundation.

1. KABOOM: Thanks to a partnership with KABOOM! and Discover Financial, along with volunteers from the community, the Bensenville Park District addressed playspace equity in constructing a brand-new playground at Wood Dale’s Arbor Park. The playground included suggestions from a community design session conducted in June, and the playground was constructed and opened in September.

For more information about Bensenville Park District programs, events and facilities, visit

« Back to All News Items