October 3, 2014 – The Carol Stream Park District has been named a finalist for the National Gold Medal Award. The award is given annually to the top performing parks and recreation agencies in the US by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The district won the award two times previously – in 2002 and 2008.
Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year. Winners will be announced live during the 2014 NRPA Congress in Charlotte, North Carolina, October 14 at the general opening session. Park district staff attending the event will immediately notify staff at home of the results. Outcomes will be posted on the district website and other communications.
Competing agencies must demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation management over the past five years. Entries are judged on planning, citizen involvement and support, positive impact on their communities, use of valuable resources, innovations, social equity, addressing of health and wellness, conservation, and overcoming local challenges.
Carol Stream Park District presented several notable accomplishments that earned its finalist status. Foremost was the extensive community involvement and support in successful passage of the $37million referendum in 2010 for recreation improvements. Those improvements resulted in dramatic increases in physical activity for residents. Biking and pedestrian use has increased from newly built and connected trails. The new dog park attracted 500 members. The new recreation center attracted 3,600 fitness members, 400 indoor track users, and 300 lap swimmers. It increased participation in swim lessons by 224%; and open gym by 20% - in just one season.
In addition to improvement of services to residents, the district demonstrates excellence in management practices. The district guides progress through long-term master plans and shorter term strategic work plans. The district’s also has a history of innovation, high productivity, recognition of sound financial practices, and active use of partnerships to improve services and efficiencies.
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year.
The 2014 Gold Medal finalists are:
Class I (population 400,001 and over)
- Chicago Park District, Illinois
- Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation, Georgia
- Maryland-National Capital Park and Planing Commission, Maryland
- Mesa Parks, Recreation and Commercial Facilities, Arizona
Class II (population 150,001 – 400,000)
- Arlington Parks and Recreation, Texas
- Bakersfield Recreation and Parks Department, California
- Henderson Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Nevada
- Plano Parks and Recreation Department, Texas
Class III (population 75,001 – 150,000)
- Allen Parks and Recreation, Texas
- Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation, Indiana
- Roswell Recreation, Parks, Historic and Cultural Affairs Department, Georgia
- St. George Leisure Services Department, Utah
Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000)
- Carol Stream Park District, Illinois
- Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, Wisconsin
- Kettering Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts, Ohio
- Willamalane Parks and Recreation District, Oregon
Class V (population less than 30,000)
- Frankfort Square Park District, Illinois
- Lafayette Recreation Department, Colorado
- Middleton Public Lands, Recreation and Forestry, Wisconsin
- Oak Brook Park District, Illinois
Armed Forces Recreation
- Fort Carson, Colorado
- Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center , California
- Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida
- Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Georgia
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.
For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal or www.aapra.org.