It is generally recognized that parks, recreation and open space provide numerous benefits and perform numerous functions including:
- Provide opportunities for active and passive recreation and exercise.
- Improve psychological and social health through exposure to nature.
- Promotes physical and social child development
- Protects natural resources and wildlife habitat
- Enhance real estate values and promote economic development.
The Hazel Crest Park District strives to prove these and more. There are 14 parks within district boundaries. Together they cover over 146 acres.
Commissioners Park (Oak Hill Park East - 171st near I-80/I-294 Exchange)
The park is located on the North side of 171st Street. It covers an area of 22 acres and includes the Community Center / Administration Building. It includes two baseball fields, soccer field, a children's playground with play equipment, picnic area with shelter, sitting areas, and grass multi-use areas. A pedestrian/bike path was recently constructed along the north frontage of 171st Street.
This park site is flat with trees. The I-80/I-294 Tollway Plaza and interchange is clearly visible from the park. There is significant vehicular noise and visual distraction.
Oak Hill Park West (171st Street, East of California Avenue)
Prairie Creek runs along the south and east edges of this park and separates it from the adjacent Commissioners Park. It covers an area of 5 acres and includes the Recreation Center. The park contains a ball field, picnic area with shelter, a children's playground (with equipment) sitting area, grass multi-use areas, a drinking fountain, and paved trails. Two pedestrian bridges link Oak Hill park to Commissioners Park. The annual festival is usually held at this park.
Crestwood/Lake Owens Park (South of I-80 and North of the Municipal Center)
Located east of Holmes Avenue, this park covers an area of 13 acres, of which approximately half is comprised of Lake Owens. The lake was excavated in conjunction with adjacent I-80 Tollway construction. This is a prime fishing area throughout the community. Each season, it is stocked with bass, trout, crappies and blue gills and is used for fishing (Permits are needed). They go on sale on April 1st of each year - stop in at the Community Center for more information. The western edge of the Lake abuts private homes. Boats up to 16 feet and without motors are allowed.
A Village owned 13 acre wooded Open Lands parcel is located east of the Lake and open for public access. An additional 2 acres is leased from an adjacent church. The overall setting is very pastoral and attractive and well suited for picnics and other passive activities.
At one time, this park also included the Crestview swimming pool, complete with a clubhouse and parking lot. The pool was demolished to make way for enhanced park development projects. Outdoor basketball courts and tennis courts are located between the lake and the Municipal Hall.
Oak Valley Park (171st East of Rockwell Avenue)
This land is owned by the Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (WRDGC) and is leased to the Park District. The site is shaped lake a bowl and is used for a storm water detention but most of the time it is dry. The park covers an area of 23 acres. During dry periods, the base of the bowl is an open grass field that can be used for various purposes but there are no demarcated play fields or fixtures. The park is used for cross-country events and the side slopes of the bowl are used for winter time sledding. There is a gravel parking lot at the park entrance. Note: Access to this park is restricted so it can be closed off when floodwater is presented in the detention basin.
James 0. Setnes Sports Complex (2500 W. Crescent Drive on 167th Street)
The park covers an area of 21 acres and hosts many active sports events. It includes five baseball fields, a football field, children's playground (with play equipment), sitting areas and grass multi-use areas and two parking lots. The playground is ADA accessible. Four of the baseball fields are sited in a "butterfly cluster" around a central field house building which contains restrooms and a concession bar. The park site is flat and mostly clear of trees. The Tollway (I-294) and Prairie Creek run along the west edge of the park and there is some vehicular noise. Recently a new scoreboard was installed in the fields.
Lions Park (169th Street between Trapet and Bulger)
The park covers an area of 2 acres and contains a children's playground with play equipment, sitting areas, grass multi-use areas.
Veterans Park (formerly Bicentennial Park - 170th and Park Avenue)
Tri-Hi Park (At Anthony between I80/I-294 Tollway)
This is another small triangular park located 171st Street. The park covers 1.1 acres and contains a children's playground (with play equipment), sitting area and a grass multi use-area. A noise wall was recently constructed along the south edge of this park to mitigate Tollway traffic noise. Before the Tollway was built, this site was part of the Calumet Country Club.
Wolf Park (Locust and Laurel Lane)
This park is located adjacent to the Highlands Elementary School. The park covers 5.8 acres and contains a children's playground (with play equipment), sitting area and a large grass multi-use area. Most of the park abuts the back yards of private homes with limited general access.
Cherry Creek Park (175th Stonebridge and Oakwood Drive)
This is a small triangular has Cherry Creek running along the eastern edge of its boundaries. The park covers 1.9 acres and contains a children's tot lot (with play equipment), sitting area and a grass multi use-area.
Stone Hollow Park (17700 Stonebridge and Oakwood Drive)
This park has Cherry Creek running along its western boundaries. The park covers 5 acres and contains a children's playground with play equipment, sitting area, grass mult use-area and a walking/jogging path along the perimeter. This park is located at the bottom on the incline and is normally used for storm water overflow from Cherry Creek. This site is being leased from the vllage of Hazel Crest.
Chateaux Park (3500 Chambord Lane)
This is a small park located adjacent to Chateaux Elementary School. It covers one (1) acre and contains a children's playground (with play equipment), sitting area and a grass multi use-area.
Thurgood Marshall Park (183rd Street Adjacent in the Fountainbleau shopping Center)
This is a linear park that runs along Cherry Creek between Fountainbleau Drive. It covers 12 acres and functions as a passive area without any specific sports or game equipment. A spillway is located in the middle of the park and there is a storm water retention area. Most of the park abuts the back yards of private homes with general access is limited to the north and south ends. The southern portion of this park is owned by the Village.
In 2012, The Million Tree Project donated over 160 trees to the Park District and Village. Many of those trees were planted in this park.
Dynasty Trails Park (183rd Street)
This is a linear park that runs along the North and South Forks of Cherry Creek. It covers 33 acres and contains three large ponds, connected to the creek, that were originally developed for water retention purposes. This park functions for passive uses such as hiking, fishing, meditation and nature watching. Much of the park abuts the back yards of private homes with limited general access. However the ponds have become very shallow, stagnant and overgrown.
Two waterways/creeks meander through the Village, Prairie Creek and Cherry Creek. In general, both creeks run from the southwest edge of the Village in a northeasterly direction into Markham and are primarily located on or adjacent to Park District and Village land. These creeks, and connected water detention areas serve local as well as regional storm water management functions. They add interest and contribute to the appearance of the community.
This creek is connected to water detention ponds in the Dynasty Lakes community. Further north, Cherry Creek runs past Stone Hollow Park which is designed to function as a part-time storm water detention basin. Also between 171st and 175th Streets, there are several small ponds and two large MWRDGC detention basins linked to Cherry Creek. The creek then runs north through the Calumet Country Club, under the Tollroad and through portion of Hazel Crest Proper toward Markham.
This is a more confined. It runs under 175th St. and under Kedzie Ave. and then runs east past the Municipal Center, through Oak Hill Park West and then runs under the Tollroad toward Markham.
Open Space and Recreation Areas
An abundance of open space makes the Village and Park District adds to the quality of life that residents have come to appreciate. Most are owned by the Village of Hazel Crest, some by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.
Kedzie (East side)
Much of the land located along the east side of Kedzie Avenue covers approximately 40 acres. It is a large open wood area and provides a serene scenic setting as the seasons change year after year. In 2009, the Village and Park District worked to design and have built a pedestrian walkway/bikepath. In the future, both governmental bodies will look to expand the pathway north to 167th Street.
Located between I-80 and 170th Street, this parcel covers approximately 13 acres and is heavily wooded. It includes trails. Each April 1st, fishing permits go on sale at the Community Center. Residence rush to be the first to catch the big fish. The lake is stocked twice each season.