Oak Park, IL., Sept 15, 2015 – Months of preparation and a commitment to the highest level of service in parks and recreation has paid off for the Park District of Oak Park. They have been awarded the 2015 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), awarded this honor to Park District of Oak Park live during the Opening Session of the NRPA Annual Conference on September 15 in Nevada.
Park District of Oak Park has won the Grand Plaque in the National Gold Medal Award Class IV Division. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. The Park District’s winning application highlighted how the District meets the recreation needs of its 52,000 residents by leveraging every square foot of its 84 acres of parkland through strategic partnerships, community input, and careful planning.
“To be chosen among the elite in parks and recreation agencies across the country as the winner of the National Gold Medal Award is a proud and historic moment in Park District history,” stated Paul Aeschleman, Park District Board President. “With the support of the Oak Park community, and the hard work and dedication of the Park District staff, volunteers and Board, we’ve been able to offer innovative programming, expand our scholarship program, open doors to multiple new facilities, and lay the groundwork for future success. We’re very proud to be recognized for these efforts as a Gold Medal winner.”
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation communities and the State Park System Class awarded every other year.
A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks andrecreation on both the local and national levels.