The National Recreation and Park Association has identified three pillars that build the basis of what parks and recreation agencies do. These pillars are Health and Wellness, Equity, and Conservation. The Champaign Park District uses these pillars as a guide to better serve our participants, community, and environment. The examples below are just a few of the ways we put these principles into practice.
We are honored to be named by National Recreation and Park Association as a finalist for the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management!
Enhancing the community’s quality of life through positive experiences in parks, recreation, and cultural arts is not only Champaign Park District’s mission, but is woven into the fabric of each park, facility, and program offered, and will continue to drive positive change to Champaign and beyond.
Without our passionate and innovative staff, and a tremendously supportive community like you, none of this would be possible. Learn more about this prestigious distinction here: https://bit.ly/3LVI5WU
Gold Medal Finalist Video
Health and Wellness
- Developed new recreation centers in low-income and indoor recreation desert zones. Vulnerable residents are now within a ten-minute walking distance to indoor recreation and wellness programs.
- Partnered with Project Athletes to provide hard-to-reach junior high and high school students an opportunity for physical activity and a sense of belonging regardless of athletic ability. This after-school program offers mentoring, academic guidance, and free healthy snacks.
- Partnered with the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District in the Passport to Health program. Based on physicals performed by their doctors, children and families at risk have free access to CPD programs and fitness center memberships.
- Hosted Special Recreation Theatre 101, Musicals 101, and Equilusion Theatre. These public performances give people of all abilities, ages, and backgrounds a voice and opportunity in cultural arts.
- Awarded over $150,000 in program scholarships to underprivileged youth and special needs populations.
- Provided free inclusion services that support 150+ people with disabilities to attend mainstream programs.
- Offered 600 senior programs at discounted rates.
- Partnered with Silver Sneakers to provide 397 seniors access to no cost fitness programs.
- Facilitated a donation of land and $500,000 from Carle Hospital to develop a 2.5-mile trail to connect neighborhoods to Zahnd Park, the YMCA, and a new corporate/shopping district.
- Partnered with the City of Champaign to redevelop Glenn Park to reduce flooding in the surrounding historic neighborhood.
- Received $12,000 in grant funding for LED light installation at Dodds Tennis Center, saving $32,000 in energy costs.
- Restored the Virginia Theatre by replacing the original 1921 HVAC system and installing LED lights using a $750,000 grant. Improved HVAC and roofing at Springer Cultural Center which is a 117-year-old National Historic Registered Place. These projects contributed to the revitalization of downtown Champaign.
- Measured 5,339 trees and calculated a removal of 26,449,653 pounds of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. This amounts to a savings of $615,105 in social carbon costs.
- Increased and diversified tree plantings to continue reduction in carbon footprint.
- Partnered with the City of Champaign to improve stormwater retention and reduce flooding at multiple park sites, playing a significant role in $365,000,000 in economic investment in the area.
- Developed a list of better-adapted tree species. Utilized this list to make changes in the species being planted, moving to trees with an extended southern range, and dropping boreal and maritime species.
- Employed online GIS tools such as the American Forests Tree Equity Score to assess canopy coverage in neighborhoods throughout Champaign. This information helped identify specific parks to focus tree-planting efforts in to better improve canopy coverage benefits.