PDOP Supporters Honored With Community Service Awards

OAK PARK, IL (Feb. 22, 2024) – The Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) have announced recipients of the 2023 Community Service Awards, which honor individuals and organizations who made significant contributions to enhancing parks, recreation and the arts in Illinois. This year’s recipients include Park District of Oak Park supporters who were pivotal in the development of the Community Recreation Center (CRC) and the Park District’s arts programming:

· Illinois Senate President and Oak Park native Don Harmon

· Illinois State Representative LaShawn Ford

· Illinois State Representative Camille Lilly

· Camille Wilson White, Executive Director of the Oak Park Area Arts Council

“The Park District of Oak Park is immensely proud to honor Senator Harmon, State Representatives Ford and Lilly, and Camille White for their impactful and outstanding service to the Oak Park community,” said Jan Arnold, Executive Director of the Park District of Oak Park. “These leaders stood with us and listened to what our community told us they needed. And then they helped us bring the Community Recreation Center to fruition. They represent our shared spirit of selflessness and commitment to making Oak Park a better, more inclusive place for everyone.” The CRC was developed as part of the Park District’s comprehensive master plan after conducting a feasibility study and holding community meetings to identify residents’ needs including access to affordable fitness and wellness programs, safe spaces for teens and youth and community resources.

Opened in 2023, the CRC is a 42,000-square-foot facility hosting a range of recreational, community and wellness programs for the Oak Park area, including:

· Free indoor walking track

· Affordable gym memberships with access to the gymnasium, fitness center and Esports Lounge

· Fitness studio

· Free after-school programming for middle and high school students: open gym, activities, tutoring, trusted social worker

· Inclusive locker rooms

· Community resource referrals for mental health and wellness through the Community Mental Health Board

The Park District paid for $15.5 million of the $22 million cost of the recreation center with private donations, grants and capital improvement funds, without raising taxes for the development. Since its opening, the CRC has served nearly 10,000 patrons and provided programming for more than 1,000 youth. The CRC was also recently recognized by the IPRA with the Outstanding Facility Award.


Senator Harmon actively supports the Park District of Oak Park and is frequently seen at its programs, parks and facilities. Senator Harmon was a key donor to the CRC, playing an invaluable role in the Park District’s funding goal to develop the CRC without raising taxes.


Representative Ford served as Co-Chair for the CRC project, helping guide how youth will build connections, access support services and foster a sense of belonging. Additionally, Rep. Ford identified State capital funding that could be used to help the Park District achieve its fundraising goal.


Representative Camille Lilly also served as Co-Chair of the CRC project, shaping access to safe after-school spaces and affordable fitness options, and incorporating inclusive features and programs. Rep. Lilly identified State capital funds that could support CRC’s development.


Camille Wilson White is instrumental in strengthening the Park District’s arts programs and identifying opportunities to cultivate an appreciation for the arts in Oak Park, including curating art pieces to display outside the CRC and across many civic and commercial properties in the community.

# # #

About Park District of Oak Park: The Park District of Oak Park serves the recreation needs of Oak Park’s 54,000 residents, providing nearly 8,000 programs and special events annually throughout our versatile recreation centers, 18 parks totaling 84 acres, a community recreation center, two outdoor pools, indoor ice rink, gymnastic center, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion and Pleasant Home. Since 1912, our high-quality programs and well-maintained parks and facilities have dependably met residents’ diverse leisure, wellness, childcare and other needs and helped enhance quality of life. Learn more at https://www.pdop.org/.

Skip to content