Oak Lawn Park District Receives National Accreditation

CAPRA LogoThe Oak Lawn Park District maintained its position in the ranks of elite park and recreation agencies and departments across the country by earning 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 on Thursday, Oct 10, 2013, during the 2013 NRPA Congress and Exposition, held earlier this month in Houston, Texas.

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, the Oak Lawn Park District had to demonstrate compliance with 144 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 self-assessments, a formal application, 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 and is reviewed again in five years.

In 2008, The Oak Lawn Park District became the first agency in the State of Illinois to earn both National and State Accreditations. With our reaccreditation being announced this week, we remain one of only five agencies in the State of Illinois to be recognized on the national level.

For more information about CAPRA accreditation, visit

IPRA LogoOn 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.

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.

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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