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Dundee park dist. honors Rakow family service

The entrance Rakow Center Dundee Park District Carpentersville is seen Saturday. | KevD. Sherman~For Sun-Times Media

The entrance to the Rakow Center at the Dundee Park District in Carpentersville is seen on Saturday. | Kevin D. Sherman~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 9, 2011 8:10AM

CARPENTERSVILLE — Throngs of people made their way to the Dundee Township Park District recreation center over the weekend for the dedication of the Barrington Avenue building.

The center on the township’s east side has been renamed the Rakow Center to recognize the many years of service of brothers Craig and the late Gene Rakow to the park district.

“I think it’s wonderful the park district honored the Rakow family in this way,” Craig Rakow said during the Saturday morning ceremony.

The Rakow family has a long history of service in the village.

When in the early 1900s East Dundee was without a park of its own, Frank J. Rakow — grandfather to Craig and Gene Rakow and a former village trustee — stepped in to loan the village money to buy a parcel of land.

“So maybe the seeds for Gene and I go back to Frank,” Craig Rakow said.

Other members of the Rakow family also have served in various civic capacities. Craig and Gene Rakow’s father was a village trustee; Barb Rakow, Gene’s wife, served as village clerk; and their daughter, Jill Rakow Yucuis, was once the village president of East Dundee. Gene’s son, Mark, took over as East Dundee fire chief when his father retired.

“Our family commitment to the community grows,” Craig Rakow said.

He has served 30 years — since 1981 — on the park board and was re-elected this year to serve an additional six-year term.

Projects during Craig Rakow’s tenure have included the 1989 construction of the east-side recreation center, the 1991 purchase of the Bonnie Dundee Golf Club, and the 1992 enclosure of the outdoor swimming pool at the rec center.

Other improvements include the 1992 construction of a new clubhouse at the Randall Oaks Golf Club at West Dundee and the 1993 construction of the Dolphin Cove aquatic facility in Carpentersville. In 2002, the DTPD added the Senior Center wing to the rec center. That year, it also redesigned nine holes at the Randall Oaks Golf Club course and added a four-hole links course for people with special needs.

This year, it will break ground on a $12 million recreation center near its Randall Oaks facilities, along Randall Road north of Route 72.

Gene Rakow served as a commissioner from 1969 to 1981. During his years of service, the park district purchased Library Hall in Carpentersville to use as administration offices. He also played a role in the park district’s purchase of 130 acres of land for Randall Oaks Park and in 1972 the purchase of the Sleepy Hollow swimming pool.

Reluctant honoree

When members of the Dundee Township Park District Board discussed naming the building after the Rakow family, a modest Craig Rakow was initially hesitant, said Tom Mammoser, executive director of the Dundee Township Park District.

“But he warmed up to the idea,” Mammoser said. “Once we saw that glimmer of hope, we ran with it.”

He lauds Craig Rakow for “creating an ongoing and positive atmosphere” for park district employees.

“I think many of them have stayed here because of the atmosphere Craig and the rest of the park board members have been able to foster,” he said.

Craig Rakow praised the district employees.

“I don’t think there’s a better staff at any other park district,” he said.

During the dedication program, a plaque was unveiled in honor of the Rakow family, followed by a reception.

The ceremony proved to be an emotional event for Jill Rakow Yucuis, who had to brush back tears.

“What an honor,” she said. “This is great.”

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