Decatur Parks Foundation


Please Support the Foundation!

 As I am just in the beginning of my first year as president of your Decatur Parks Foundation, I feel overwhelmed following the footpath left by Judy Locke. She is a hard act to follow, but I feel confident that she will still be available for advice and help when needed. I am thankful to have Jill Applebee as our full-time director, plus a very talented board behind me. And we are always on the lookout for new board members to complement those who are already on the board. We are presently in the process of reorganizing the Foundation to broaden our reach for even more support to the Decatur Park District. Our park system is a jewel in this community, and we strive to continue that in the changing times in which we live. Thanks for your ongoing interest and support! ~ Dr. Bill Van Alstine, Presidentpacer


About Us

By encouraging the financial support of businesses and individuals, the Decatur Parks Foundation supports the Decatur Park District’s park & recreation programs, which spur economic development, nurture our citizens’ health and well-being, and enhance our community’s quality of life.

We appreciate the generosity of all who have made the following projects possible:

  • Anna Bethel Fisher Rock Garden
  • Decatur Park District Bike Trail System
  • Dreamland Lake
  • Fairview Park Rose Garden (2012)
  • Fido Fields Dog Park (2007)
  • Project Playground I and II
  • DSC_0951Rotary Park
  • Schaub Floral Display Center, Greenhouse & Norma Schaub Memorial Garden
  • Scovill Zoo Shilling Environmental Education Center
  • Scovill Zoo Endangered Species Carousel
  • Scovill  Zoo Penguin Exhibit (2013)
  • Scovill Zoo Zebra Exhibit (2007)
  • Ursula Beck Tennis Center
  • Wikoff Oriental Garden at Scovill Park


Foundation Board of Directors

Dr. William Van Alstine, President
Jim Schwarz, Vice-President
Mindy Chadwick, Secretary
Rod Schanefelt, Treasurer
Chris Riley, Park Board Liaison
Jack Kenny, Park Board Liaison

Erv Arends
Brian Byers
Kara Demirjian-Huss
Ed Flynn
Tom Hostetler
Dr. Stephen Huss
Kara Johnston
Chuck Kuhle
Cindy Laegeler
Judy Locke
James Neff
Cyndy Smith
Mark Tupper
Kathy Wiesemann


Winter Newsletter

Read the Winter 2014 Foundation newsletter here




Park Reforestation Project

On September 9, the Park District partnered with WSOY and Team Soy for a Park Reforestation Radiothon in recognition of the Park District’s 90th anniversary. Gifts from individual and corporate donors far exceeded our goal of 90 donors pledging $90 for 90 trees! Over $22,000 was raised for trees in Fairview and Nelson parks. “On behalf of the Decatur Parks Foundation, I thank all who helped us celebrate the Park District’s 90th Anniversary,” said Jim Schwarz, Foundation Vice-President and tree reforestation project coordinator. “Special thanks to Brian Byers, Neuhoff Media, and Team Soy for their efforts in the great success we achieved. We also appreciate the generosity of Elwin Tree Farm and look forward to working with them on this project. Planting trees in our parks is a contribution to future generations who will enjoy our parks as much as we have over our lifetime.” View the Herald & Review thank you ad here. Thank you again to all who contributed to this important initiative!


Zoo-rific Evening at Scovill Zoo   

The 5th Annual Zoo-rific evening turned out to be an evening of MORE… more attendees, more great acts of daring, more delicious food stations, and more personal animal encounters, including a brief visit with the new red panda baby “Tusa,” a chance to feed our 10 fun-loving penguins, and the opportunity to learn more about our newest flamingo chicks! Raising over $62,000, this year’s event was not only a fun-filled night for adults but also an important part of our efforts to update older zoo exhibits and provide new ones. Special thanks to the committee members, Park District staff, zoo staff, zoo volunteers, media and sponsors, restaurants and food donors, auction contributors, and especially Brandy Brown who will take over the reins of chairing the event for next year.  Save the date for the 2015 Zoo-rific Evening, scheduled for August 22 at Scovill Zoo! ~ Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer

Zoo-rific Evening Sponsors

Air Choice One, Dee and Larry Altenbaumer, Sally and Mick Andreas, Linda and Erv Arends Foundation, Joan & Duane Avis, Ramona Borders, Brechnitz Group of Raymond James, Susan & Kevin Breheny, Brandy & David Brown, Mindy & Dr. Stephen Chadwick, Theresa & Donald Couch, Beth & Dr. Alan Frigy, Judy Locke, Peggy Madden and Dick Phillips, E.L. Pruitt Company, Susan & John Skeffington, Surgical Specialists of Central IL, Team Soy Capital, Kathy and Bob Wiesemann

In-Kind Sponsors

Bizou, The Beach House, Country Club of Decatur, Culver’s, DCC Marketing, Del’s Popcorn Shop, Dynagraphics/Fast Impressions, Events Plus, Neuhoff Media, Paco’s Sol Bistro, Refreshment Services Pepsi, Scovill Zoo & Park District Staffs, TapRoot, Texas Roadhouse, West End Trio


2014 Zoo Open

Special thanks to Team Soy, Refreshment Services Pepsi, and the 27 teams that participated in the 2014 Zoo Open at Hickory Point! This is an important fundraiser that has generated over $300,000 for Scovill Zoo. Guests of Honor were Linda and Erv Arends, who have made countless contributions to the Park District and Parks Foundation, including adoption of the Endangered Species Carousel panda, sponsorship of Zoo-rific Evening, gifts to the Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship Fund, as well as support of the tennis court renovations at Kiwanis Park, the Dreamland Lake pavilion, Project Playground, and the new penguin exhibit at Scovill Zoo! Erv has also served on the Foundation board for over 7 years. Thank you for all you do, Linda and Erv!  Save the Date for the 2015 Zoo Open, scheduled for May 15 at Hickory Point!



Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship

The Jerry Menz Arts Scholarship provides opportunities for talented youth to succeed at the highest possible levels in the arts by offering scholarships for the Park District’s programs in music, theatre, and dance. Awards are based upon staff recommendations, prior participation in Park District programs, and a demonstrated talent and passion for the performing arts. Gifts of any size are most appreciated and will keep the arts alive in the greater Decatur area.

To make a contribution, please call the Foundation office at 422-5911. For details information, visit the Arts Scholarship page.


Fun for All Scholarships

Children grow and learn from recreation, sports, the arts, and play! The Fun for All Scholarship program ensures that all qualified Decatur residents are able to participate in Park District activities. To donate to this important program, call 422-5911.



Memorial Gifts

Living Tribute Program

Honor a loved one or commemorate a special event by having a tree planted through the Park Foundation’s Living Tribute Program. With your $500 donation, the Park District will plant and care for your tree. In addition, you will be presented a Living Tribute Certificate and a map highlighting the location of your tree. The trees are also linked via an online map here.

Select from a red maple, red oak, or dogwood. The Living Tribute program offers a natural gift that will beautify Decatur’s parks for years to come.

Download a request for Living Tribute trees here or call Jill Applebee at 422-5911.




Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners Decatur Park District - Partners


Preschool Activity at the DISC: Young Artist


Greater Decatur Chorale Spring Semester Auditions


Preschool Activity at the DISC: Sports Sampler