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Waukegan Park District brings families together for fitness

Duoc Acvezo Waukegan works an elliptical machine Waukegan Park District Fitness Center Thursday. | Jim Newton/Sun-Times Media

Duoc Acvezo of Waukegan works on an elliptical machine at the Waukegan Park District Fitness Center Thursday. | Jim Newton/Sun-Times Media

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Free promotion

The Waukegan Park District’s Field House Sports and Fitness Center invites district residents to experience the facility amenities, including the gymnasium, climbing wall, and more, at no charge during the following dates and times:

Thursday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Dec. 27, noon to 9 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 28, and Sunday, Dec. 29, noon to 7 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 30, noon to 9 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 2, and Friday, Jan. 3, noon to 2-9 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 4, and Sunday, Jan. 5, 12 to 7 p.m.

The Fitness Center is for ages 16 and older. Please bring photo ID for access into the facility.

For more information, call 847-782-3300 or visit the Waukegan Park District website at

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Updated: February 25, 2014 4:19AM

College men home for the holidays were showing the high school kids how to work the indoor basketball courts at no cost Thursday afternoon, thanks to a promotional program by the Waukegan Park District.

The Park District’s Field House Sports and Fitness Center is waiving membership costs and allowing district residents to try all of the facility’s features free for several days this holiday season.

It’s good for us to come home and play with the younger kids,” said Kyle Williams, 19, who came with his friend Akeem Springs, also 19, because both are home from college. “The environment is very good.”

“It brings the whole community together,” Springs said.

That is pretty much what the park district has in mind, as well as gaining additional exposure for the well-equipped facility, which in addition to indoor basketball courts features a track, a climbing wall, and weight and cardio fitness rooms with the same equipment used in the Olympics Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Group fitness classes, sauna and steam rooms are also available.

This is the third year the district has opened the facility to residents and the move has attracted hundreds each day, according to district Executive Director Greg Petry.

“It has been popular,” he said. “The nicest thing is when we see families coming out and playing together.”

Regular members at the center said they notice the increased crowds during the free days and think it’s a good idea.

“This is a great facility,” said Waukegan bodybuilder Tracy Simpson, who was lifting free weights Thursday. “To me, it’s better than going to (a private facility) all the way in Gurnee, and better than signing up with one of those fly-by-night storefront clubs.”

“It gives the kids an opportunity to do something during these two weeks and it gives us exposure,” said Park District Fitness and Aquatics Specialist Sam Stevens. “Believe it or not, there are still people who don’t know we exist.”

The facility on Grand Avenue, which opened in 2006, has seen steady membership over the years and has experienced a significant increase in membership since the fall, according to Quincy Bejster, the field house supervisor.

Bejster said he likes to see the facility hopping on the free days

“It’s a great place for Waukegan residents of all ages to come and play,” he said. “It’s rewarding to see the courts full. It’s enjoyable, and it’s a good environment.”

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