1990s

1991


WWII Armory on Howell Place was demolished.
  • It was used as a Naval Building and an Army Reserve.
  • It was built approximately 50 years prior.

1991


The Phillips Park Family Aquatic Center was constructed.
  • The project was completed for 4.4 million.
  • The project included a tube slide, a body slide and 2 drop-off slides, a children's play pool with a waterfall and water cannons, plus a tot slide. There is also a hot tub, a sand play area, a sand volleyball court and concessions. The capacity is for 1,500 people, though the facility had averaged 3,200 per day and had experienced as many as 4,500 by 1994.

1992


The zoo entrance pillars with Black Bear sculptures were constructed in April. Sculptor Steve Weitzman was commissioned by the Aurora Public Art Commission to design the entrance pillars, which are decorated with American Black Bears on top, and 6 bas-relief animal sculptures on the sides, at a cost of $12,000. On each pillar there were 3 insets designed, one of a 4-horned sheep, one of a fox and the other a swan, each on a different side of the pillar.

Stop signs were placed on empty side of each pillar. The original side sculptures rusted due to metal flakes used, so Weitzman replaced them with a second set that were used in the new pillars, built in September 2001. The molds are property of the artist.
  • 1992 - The Aurora Public Art Commission held a Dedication Ceremony on June 28.
  • 1992 - The Zoo Wall, built by staff member Nick Beyer, was installed in the fall. It included new signage, consisting of stone letters that read Phillips Park. The stone letters cost $1,200.
  • 2001 - The bronze plaques were installed on entrance pillars noting zoo was established in 1915.

1993


Veterans were invited to attend a Rededication Ceremony, where the name plaques had been replaced on the WWII Monument honoring the "Aurora Township Heroes 1941 to 1945" that had earlier been stolen.

1994


The new 4,000 square foot Greenhouse was built for $93,000, replacing an 80-year old facility.
  • 40,000 plants were grown annually.
  • Prior to 1994, a greenhouse supplier developed a fuchsia geranium and named it "Aurora," It was strictly coincidence and not named for our city.
  • "Aurora" geraniums had been used for annual plantings up through 1998.

1995

Total Acreage for all City Parks was 402 acres, with Phillips Park at 250 acres.

1996


The 1995 Master Plan was adopted by City Council. The plan, designed by Burke and Associates, included changes to three areas: the Central oak/hickory forest; the golf course; and Mastodon Lake. Highlights of the plan follow:

Oak/Hickory Forest:
  • New Playground (1997)
  • Zoo Parking Major Zoo Expansion to northwest/southeast
Golf Course:
  • New Clubhouse
  • Driving Range
  • Miniature Golf Course
  • General Improvements
Mastodon Lake:
  • Several Fishing Piers
  • Paddle Boat Pier
  • Area for Model Boat Sailing
  • Prairie Design Landscape on Islands>
  • Native Prairie Habitat
  • Wetland Area
  • New Concert Pavilion

1997


The Playground Renovation was completed.

1999


The Friends of Phillips Park donated the "Welcome to Phillips Park" entry sign across at the Parker Avenue/Moses Drive entrance. 1999 The Friends of Phillips Park and the city began the 1-year lineup of programs, activities and events to commemorate the park's Centennial.

1999


Improvements to back nine began in the fall for the total golf course renovation. Park acreage was more than 280 acres. The Groundbreaking Ceremony was held September 7, 1999.

1999


Construction began in the fall on the Mastodon Island Project that entailed two separate sites, each adjacent to the lake. Completed in May of 2000, the island site showcases a life-size mastodon sculpture, mastodon footprints, a tusk maze and a mastodon slide. The new gazebo, complete with tiered seating, will be utilized for educational programs in conjunction with the interactive displays. The other site located southwest of the lake, known as Mastodon Lake Recreation Area West, features a playground, a pavilion, sand volleyball courts and horseshoe pits. In addition, three new fishing piers were located around the lake.