Thanks to the foresight and good will of former businessman Verne E. Joy—and legions of citizens—Centralia, Illinois, has a scenic park that is truly a local treasure.
In 1943, Mr. Joy established the Centralia Foundation Trust with an initial donation of $9,000. From this, a parcel of land was purchased on the outskirts of town; more land was added in the following years and a master plan was created. Today, Centralia Foundation Park is a testament to dedicated residents, and a place that everyone can enjoy.
Over the years the park has grown to nearly 300 acres that celebrates nature and provides ideal habitat for a multitude or plants and animals. There are beautiful, natural wooded areas with a wide assortment of trees (glorious in autumn!), a rambling creek, restored prairie, wetlands, and ponds—peaceful places that feed the soul and nurture the ecosystem.
The park also caters to those who enjoy being active, with miles of trails, a playground, fishing pond, and nine and 18-hole disc golf courses. Covered shelters offer spaces for family gatherings, and there’s an outdoor amphitheater for performances. Come winter, the hills become prime sledding areas.
Centralia Foundation Park is home to the annual Balloon Fest, Christmas in the Park, and other community events throughout the year. For a town the size of Centralia (around 13,000 residents), the park looms large; a natural wonder that adds immeasurably to the lives of all who go there.
Take time to enjoy a walk or picnic in Centralia Foundation Park the next time you visit Clinton County. We guarantee you’ll want to return!