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Park District Finalist in National Gold Medal Award Competition

May 28, 2020 09:30 AM
Arlington Heights Park District Announced as Finalist for the 2020 National Gold Medal Awards in Parks and Recreation
Arlington Heights to compete for prestigious honor in the park and recreation industry.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce Arlington Heights Park District as a finalist for the 2020 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC is proud to continue sponsoring the Gold Medal Awards program as it has for more than 20 years.

Founded in 1965, the 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.

Arlington Heights Park District is a finalist in the Class III category, serving a population of between 75,001 – 150,000.  The Arlington Park District has been impacting the community with recreation programs and facilities since 1925. 

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. Arlington Heights Park District joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for grand honors this year.

Park Board President Maryfran Leno said, “We are thrilled to be nominated as one of the top four Park Districts in our population category, and in the country.  We owe a lot of our success to our residents who challenge us every day to set high standards in our operations all year ‘round.  It’s truly an honor just to be considered as one of the best”!

A panel of five 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 Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the six Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the 2020 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually in October. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming on the virtual conference website.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit or

The Arlington Heights Park District (AHPD)
The Arlington Heights Park District is a public park and recreation agency located in Arlington Heights, Illinois, the largest community in Chicago's prestigious northwest suburban corridor, only 25 miles from business and entertainment in downtown Chicago. Our mission is to offer the community a variety of fitness and recreation opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. We operate five community centers with outdoor pools, Arlington Ridge Center, two tennis clubs, two public golf clubs, Lake Arlington, Arlington Heights Historical Museum, Senior Center, an outdoor skate park and 58 parks including a sports complex, playgrounds, picnic shelters and much more spread over 715 acres of land and 16.2 square miles.  The AHPD mission is to enrich our community by providing quality recreation, facilities and fun.

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

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 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

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