OAK PARK, IL, MAY 11, 2021 – The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce The Park District of Oak Park as a finalist for the 2021 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC is proud to continue its 20+ years of sponsoring the National Gold Medal Awards program.
Founded in 1965, the National Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States 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 six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces.
AAPRA Executive Director Jane H. Adams shared, “Each Finalist is congratulated for this prestigious award. We know local communities, state park systems, and military installations worldwide met the challenge of being responsive to the changing demands of delivering services during the COVID 19 pandemic. Park visitors and program participants have come to rely upon their service provider for physical, mental, and emotional support during this pandemic. The Academy congratulates each Finalist for their management excellence during this unprecedented time.”
The Park District of Oak Park is a finalist in the Class 4 category (population between 30,001 and 75,000). The Park District serves the recreational needs of more than 52,000 Oak Park residents, providing over 3000 recreation and special events programs annually. The District owns an Administrative Center, two outdoor pools, an indoor year-round ice rink, the Oak Park Conservatory, Cheney Mansion, Pleasant Home, a gymnastics & recreation center, seven recreation centers plus 18 parks totaling 84 acres of parkland.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. The Park District of Oak Park joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for Grand Plaque which will be awarded in September.
Jan R. Arnold, the Executive Director of the Park District of Oak Park, said “We are thrilled to be recognized as one of the best in the nation. Many thanks to our board, staff, and volunteers for their commitment and dedication to serving the needs of our community each and every day.”
Park Board President, Kassie Porreca, agrees, “We are truly honored to be recognized for the outstanding work of our staff, volunteers, and community members who each play a vital role in the ability of the Park District to successfully serve the residents of Oak Park.”
A panel of five highly qualified park and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.
This year’s finalists will compete for the Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the 2021 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually and in person September 21-23 in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming.
For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit www.aapra.org.