As the Apollo XI crew was landing on the moon in 1969, Carol Stream's relatively new, still-growing park district was reaching heights of its own.
Construction had begun on the park district's community center, located in a park north of the town's original subdivision. Residents had passed the first park district referendum proposal, allowing for the sale of bonds to build the center.
When the facility opened in September of 1970, Apollo XI astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins must have been on the minds of parks officials.
For more than four decades now, the Aldrin Community Center has stood in Armstrong Park (the Collins Pool closed in 2006 after leaks were discovered on the aging indoor pool's deck).
On Friday, the center officially will close to the public, in advance of its planned demolition next year. Park district staff members have been cleaning out their offices and packing boxes all week.
"Over 40 years of memories were made at the Aldrin Community Center and Collins Pool, but all good things must come to an end," according to an announcement on the park district's website. "The center was named in honor of the 1969 Apollo XI moon landing, and just as NASA said farewell to its shuttle program this year, we're also saying goodbye to the Aldrin Community Center, and moving forward to an exciting adventure with our new recreation center coming in 2013."
The Aldrin building will be taken down to make way for two water reservoirs and a pumping station as part of a $5 million county stormwater management project to help ease flooding in nearby neighborhoods. The park district also is planning improvements at Armstrong, such as raised ball fields with new lights, a snack bar, rebuilt parking lot and resurfaced trails.
The upgrades are part of a $37 million parks improvements program approved by voters in a February 2010 referendum. It includes construction of the new $18 million, 90,846-square-foot rec center at the Town Center at Lies Road and Gary Avenue.
The Aldrin Community Center had housed park district administrative offices and served as a meeting location for the park district's board of commissioners.
Park district officials have signed a lease agreement with the village for use of the Historic Farmhouse at 301 W. Lies Road for their temporary administrative offices. The initial term of the deal is two years, with the park district paying the village $1 a year. The agreement can be extended for up to three additional one-year periods.
Though there will be some park district offices at the new recreation center, the administrative offices are not planned to permanently move there, spokeswoman Julie Vogl said.
The farmhouse primarily is used by the Carol Stream Historical Society for its meetings and programming, but those events will now be held at the village library, among other potential locations, according to group President Barb O'Rahilly.
The society's materials are being stored in a closet at the farmhouse and at a storage locker. The park district has made temporary alterations to the farmhouse's interior, including installation of electrical wiring for computers, telephones and office equipment.
The park district will hold its monthly board meetings at the College of DuPage's satellite campus at 500 N. Kuhn Road. That arrangement will last for at least two years, at no cost to the park district, Vogl said.
An official farewell event for the Aldrin center is scheduled for next month.