Oak Lawn Park District Receives National Accreditation (2008, 2013 & 2018)

CAPRA LogoThe Oak Lawn Park District joins the ranks of elite park and recreation agencies across the country by earning re-accreditation through the Commission for Accreditation of Park and Recreation Agencies (CAPRA) and the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). This distinguished accomplishment was awarded during the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

CAPRA accreditation is the only national accreditation for park and recreation agencies, and is a measure of an agency’s overall quality of operation, management and service to the community. This mark of distinction indicates that an agency has met rigorous standards related to the management and administration of lands, facilities, resources, programs, safety and services. 

As part of the accreditation process, Oak Lawn Park District had to demonstrate compliance with 151 recognized standards and document all policies and procedures. Often the process helps identify efficiencies and heighten areas of accountability, all of which translate into higher quality service and operation to benefit the community.

The process for accreditation involves a formal application, self-assessments, a site visit by a team of trained visitors that results in a written report, and a hearing with the commission to grant accreditation. Once accredited, the agency must uphold the standards by submitting an annual report and is reviewed again in five years.

The Commission is comprised of representatives from NRPA, the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the National Association of County Park and Recreation Officials, the International City/County Management Association, the Academy for Leisure Sciences, the Armed Forces Recreation Network and the Council of State Executive Directors.

For more information about CAPRA accreditation, visit 

About the National Recreation and Park Association 
The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all Americans 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


Oak Lawn Park District Receives Distinguished Agency Accreditation (2004, 2010, 2016 & 2022)

On October 17, 2003 the Oak Lawn Park District was evaluated by a committee of commissioners, directors from other park districts and six additional observers from the fields of parks and recreation.

After a grueling process that the park district had been preparing for for two years, the committee announced that the Oak Lawn Park District had earned the distinction of being a Distinguished Agency.

Out of over 357 agencies in the Illinois Parks and Recreation Association, less than 10 percent have achieved Distinguished Agency status. Only 30 of the park districts, Special Recreation Associations and forest preserve districts located in Illinois are Distinguished Agencies.

The Oak Lawn Park District is the 31st. Certification is for six years and then the entire process must be repeated.

Oak Lawn Park District’s Columbus Manor Park Recognized

The Oak Lawn Park District was recently awarded Illinois Park & Recreation Association’s (IPRA’s) 2020 Outstanding Park Award for Columbus Manor Park located at 99th & Moody.

Columbus Manor Park includes an All Inclusive Playground that features a Sensory Wave Climber, Merry Go ALL, Shadow Play, Biggo Swing, Rocking Raft, Music Section, Net Climber, Bay of Swings, benches and slides. This unique playground allows play for all abilities and needs.  Inclusion allows participants to be a part of the community where playing and making new friends is easily available to them. Columbus Manor Park also has a play area with splash pad toys and new pathways.

The award was presented at IPRA’s Annual Business meeting at the 2020 Soaring to New Heights conference on Friday, January 24th.

Caption (Pictured from left to right): Ryan Gory, Oak Lawn Park District Assistant Superintendent of Parks; Kim Laper, IPRA’s Education & Events Manager; Joel Craig, Oak Lawn Park District Superintendent of Parks; Maddie Kelly, Oak Lawn Park District Executive Director; Mary Pat Coughlin, Oak Lawn Park District Board of Commissioner; and Denise Iwinski, Oak Lawn Park District Marketing & PR Supervisor accepted the Outstanding Park Award for Columbus Manor Park on behalf of the Oak Lawn Park District.

Exceptional Workplace Award

The Oak Lawn Park District is honored to announce that we have earned the Illinois Park & Recreation Association (IPRA) Exceptional Workplace Award for 2018. Congratulations to board and staff on this achievement. This award will be presented to the Oak Lawn Park District at the IPRA conference at the end of January. 

Special Event Award

We are also excited to announce that the Racquet, Fitness, & Gymnastics Center's "EGGcellent Open Gym” was chosen as the winner in its division and category for the Illinois Park & Recreation Association’s Awards and Recognition Program. Winners will be highlighted on large video screens during the IAPD/IPRA Conference Awards Luncheon on Friday, January 25, 2019.

GFOA Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting

GFOA CAFR AwardThe Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting has been awarded to the Oak Lawn Park District by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.


The Oak Lawn Park District has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive "spirit of full disclosure" to clearly communicate its financial story.

Oak Lawn Racquet, Fitness & Gymnastics Center Receives USTA Facility Award (2018)

We are excited to announce the Oak Lawn Racquet, Fitness & Gymnastics Center has received one of 24 USTA 2018 Outstanding Facility Awards! This award recognizes excellence in the
construction and renovation of tennis facilities throughout the country. A big thanks to our patrons and staff for your continued support!

The Oak Lawn Park District would like to congratulate Mr. Tom Hartwig, Superintendent of Special Facilities/Pavilion Manager for the Oak Lawn Park District, for winning South Suburban Park & Recreation Professional Association's (SSPRPA) Professional of the Year Award at April's meeting at the Fountain Hills Golf Club in Alsip.

SSPRPA is an organization of active park districts and recreation agencies located in the south suburban metropolitan area. Tom currently serves on SSPRPA's Executive Board as the President Elect. In Fall 2012, Tom will serve as President.

The Oak Lawn Park District would like to congratulate Mr. Ryan Gory, Assistant Superintendent of Parks for the Oak Lawn Park District, who was selected as the 2012 Southern Illinois University (SIU) Recreation Rising Star Award recipient in April. Ryan was honored at the Allen Symposium on Thursday, April 12th, at the Carbondale Civic Center, 200 South Illinois Avenue.

In addition to his award, he presented a session discussing the career opportunities available on the park side of community parks and recreation and shared the recent park side accomplishments made by the Oak Lawn Park District.

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