Evanston has been named one of four finalists for a 2017 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

The three other towns competing in the 75,000 to 150,000 population category are Arlington Heights, Illinois; Mountain View, California, and Roswell, Georgia.

The award competition is organized by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.

Founded in 1965, the 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.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff, and elected officials.

Evanston’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department maintains the city’s 3.8 miles of lakefront, 77 parks and seven community centers.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Free Resident Access to All Public Held Lands

    It would be lovely to receive this award.  Perhaps it could spur our city government into action around free beach access for all residents.  The amount we receive in beach token sales is a pittance in our budget as a whole.  We don’t pay for access to our parks, which also require maintenance, so why do residents pay for beach access?  If you want to charge non-residents, terrific, but residents already pay a hefty tax bill or hefty rents.  Our beaches should be a resource that is offered to everyone who lives here, regardless of income. 

    If our city government lacks the will to offer free beach access to all residents, then the free token program should be run hand in glove with our schools.  Any student receiving free lunch should automatically get a beach token.  This would have a major impact in getting the tokens into the hands of the families who live below the poverty line.

    1. tokens, etc.

      Great ideas….thank you!  Will they ever happen??????   Most likely not.  Maybe the wrong people are handling these issues.

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