BATAVIA, IL — The legacy of a notable Batavian will be memorialized in a stretch of green space that will bear his name.
On Nov. 12, the Batavia Park Board of Commissioners will host a ribbon cutting and dedication at 10 a.m., naming a linear park along South River Street in memory of Philip B. Elfstrom, a Batavia leader, visionary and businessman who was instrumental in creating Kane County bike paths along abandoned rail lines.
The park district-owned trail and open space from Webster Street south to Clark Island Recreation Area will be named The Philip B. Elfstrom Memorial Greenway.
The Greenway dedication honoring Elfstrom is most appropriate because he was one of a few citizens who united to create the Batavia Park District around 1970, said Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke. In the planning stages for the park district, a model of the Batavia riverfront depicting South River Street was show. “The model clearly illustrated that this area of riverfront has a variety of natural attributes that could create a most attractive park and Elfstrom’s vision was a key factor in selling the idea,” Schielke said.
Elfstrom also aided in the beautification of South Batavia Avenue by planting trees and flowers along the roadway, and restored several downtown buildings. In 1982, he was named Citizen of the Year by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce. He died in 2017.
“Phil’s vision supports our mission of being committed to providing fun, safe and innovative space to our community,” said Batavia Park District Executive Director Allison Niemela. “As a result of the district’s planning efforts and Phil’s generous donation, we have acquired more land and created a purposeful allocation of resources.”
A memorial plaque with the inscription “This greenway park site is dedicated in memory of a man whose quiet generosity makes it possible for thousands of people each year to enjoy the Fox River Trail in Batavia” recognizes Elfstrom’s contribution to improving quality of life in Batavia.
“Phil was a dear friend of ours,” Niemela said. “We miss his chuckle, outrageous stories and his uncanny ability to navigate the political waters in an effort to paint a larger-than-life vision, which, in turn, creates a better quality of life for Batavians.”
Refreshments and snacks will be served. Parking for the event will be available at Clark Island Recreation Area, 401/411 S. River St.
For more information about the park district, visit https://bataviaparks.org.
This press release was produced by Batavia Park District. The views expressed here are the author’s own.