The Park District of Oak Park (PDOP) received the Grand Plaque for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management at the 2015 National Gold Medal Award conference in Nevada on Sept. 15.
The Gold Medal Awards program honors the preeminent communities in the United States when it comes to excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Oak Park received the highest honors for a Class IV community (population between 30,001-75,000 residents).
“To be chosen among the elite in parks and recreation agencies across the country as the winner of the National Gold Medal Award is a proud and historic moment in Park District history,” stated Paul Aeschleman, Park District Board President. “With the support of the Oak Park community, and the hard work and dedication of the Park District staff, volunteers and Board, we’ve been able to offer innovative programming, expand our scholarship program, open doors to multiple new facilities, and lay the groundwork for future success. We’re very proud to be recognized for these efforts as a Gold Medal winner.”
Park districts were reviewed by a panel of five expert judges, each with extensive backgrounds on American public parks and the impact they have on local communities. Oak Park stood out the most to the panel because of its long list of facilities including Scoville Park, Cheney Mansion, Oak Park Conservatory, Austin Gardens, and Ridgeland Common Recreation Complex.