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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 2014 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.  This year’s proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program is Musco Lighting LLC.  
“We are thrilled to be among the top finalists for this national honor,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent Michael Kelly. “Each day we strive to meet the recreational needs and interests of our city by investing in facilities, providing a diverse array of programming and taking the initiative to support and preserve our natural environment for future generations. It is wonderful to be recognized by our peers.”  
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 on odd numbered years. 
The Chicago Park District is one of four finalists in the Class I Category, having a population of 400,001 or more residents. 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.  
The Chicago Park District has been striving for this national recognition for the past few years and is very proud to be a finalist this year.  Its innovative, community driven programs like Summer Day Camp, Night Out in the Parks, Chicago Plays!, ground breakings, ribbon cuttings etc.,  have lead the Chicago Park District to become a finalist for the NRPA’s Gold Medal award.  It is the mission of the Chicago Park District to enhance the quality of life in Chicago by being the leading provider of recreation and leisure opportunities; provide safe, inviting and beautifully maintained parks and facilities; and create a customer-focused and responsive park system that prioritizes the needs of children and families.
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 Chicago Park District joins three other finalists in the class that will compete for grand honors this year.
This year’s finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the six Grand Plaque recipients will be announced live during the 2014 NRPA Congress in Charlotte, NC, Oct. 14-16.
For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit or
The Chicago Park District is the steward of more than 8,100 acres of open space, totaling 580 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 10 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, 10 bird and wildlife gardens, thousands of special events, sports and entertaining programs. For more information, visit
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  
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 40,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit
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