OVERVIEW

The western suburbs’ newest outdoor entertainment and performing arts venue opened in the spring of 2021. The newly renovated Memorial Park features a state-of-the-art bandshell and Veterans Memorial, outdoor recreation and event space nestled in Wheaton’s most charming and historic park.

History

When Memorial Park was first acquired by the Wheaton Park District in 1921, the property was a part of the former estate of Judge Elbert Gary. It is located on a square city block just north of the downtown business district in Wheaton, centrally located in DuPage County. It is bordered by homes to the north and east, small businesses to the south, as well as City Hall, an elementary school and a church.

Remaining from the Gary estate was a coach house that has been transformed into the Mary Lubko Center that serves active adults. In the 1950s the municipal band director, Art Sweet, spearheaded an effort to raise funds and construct a band shell. In 2007, the band shell was renamed the Art Sweet Band Shell. Other additions to the park included a single-fenced tennis court, restrooms and a concession building. Horseshoe pits were also converted into a small Pétanque court; a game similar to bocce.

In addition to these uses, the park has become an anchor point for several events throughout the year. These events include the Cosley Zoo Run for the Animals, Taste of Wheaton, Wheaton Brew Fest, Shakespeare in the Park, the Festival of Cultures and weekly summer concerts from the Municipal Band.

In 2019, construction of Memorial Park began and was completed in spring 2020. Improvements consist of a modernized band shell, now known as the Memorial Park Band Shell, which was moved closer to the corner of the park and replaced the tennis courts; a new path layout; a multi-use space that provides a location for tents during special events, and Pétanque court; and a designated memorial location. Throughout the area, native landscaping was planted to provide aesthetic enhancements and environmental benefits.

Park image at top of page: © Kmiecik Imagery

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