Chicago Park District to compete for prestigious honor in the park and recreation industry
Chicago, IL, May 18, 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 Chicago Park District 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 Chicago Park District is a finalist in the Class 1 category for agencies servicing a population of 400,001 residents. The Chicago Park District is one of the largest, most interactive public park systems in the nation and serves as a global model.
“We are beyond excited to be named a 2021 National Gold Medal finalist,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. “It is a huge honor to be recognized by our peers and the two leading park organizations in the country.”
"As Mayor of a city that prides itself on providing quality services and experiences to its residents, I am honored that our Park District has been selected as a finalist for this prestigious award," said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. "Under Superintendent Kelly's leadership, our Park District has delivered nothing but excellence—even throughout a global pandemic. I want to thank Superintendent Kelly for his continued commitment and ongoing efforts to make Chicago a truly remarkable place to live, work and play in."
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 Chicago Park District joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for Grand Plaque, which will be awarded in September.
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.
Chicago Park District has served Chicago residents for more than 85 years. It is a Gold Medal Award-winning organization, which recognizes excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,800 acres of parkland, more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports and entertainment programs, please visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent? Volunteer in the parks by calling, 312/742.PLAY. Follow us at facebook/chicagoparkdistrict, on Instagram/chicagoparks and on Twitter @chicagoparks.
The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a nonprofit 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.
Partner: The National Recreation and Park Association
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.
Sponsor: 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.