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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. This year, AAPRA and NRPA will award the prestigious and highly sought State Park System Class Gold Medal award.
Oak Brook Park District is a finalist in the Class V Category (population less than 30,000). In December of 2011, the Oak Brook Park District completed a rigorous master plan process (download the complete Oak Brook Park District Master Plan document) that implemented input from resident focus groups and surveys. Since then, the park district has diligently pursued the projects outlined in the plan, utilizing support from corporate sponsors and community groups to help offset the cost of larger projects. The park district now offers a wide variety of new outdoor recreational opportunities at the Evergreen Bank Group Athletic Field and outdoor sled hill. The park district has also made vast improvements to existing amenities through the renovation of its disc golf course and outdoor wading pool/splash pad, and increased accessibility by connecting the pathways within Central Park.
Agencies competing for the prestigious Gold Medal Award are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Oak Brook Park District joins three other finalists in the class that will compete for grand honors this year.
"I am so pleased to see the hard work and professionalism of the Oak Brook Park District," says Sharon Knitter, Park Board President. "It takes thoughtful leadership, common goals, and an outstanding team to make the Oak Brook Park District such an asset to the community. I am proud of the entire staff and Board of Commissioners."
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 and recreation on both the local and national levels.
This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Charlotte, NC, Oct. 14-16 2013.
The Oak Brook Park District strives to provide the very best in park and recreational opportunities, facilities and open lands for our community.
The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit www.aapra.org.
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 30,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit www.NRPA.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit www.musco.com.