Submitted by Cary Park District
The Cary Park District received two of the highest honors presented at the Illinois Association of Park Districts and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association's Soaring to New Heights Conference. The conference was held Jan. 24-26 in Chicago. It is the industry's premier statewide conference and is attended by more than 4,200 park and recreational professionals, elected officials and students.
Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service Award: Mike Renner received the Mike Cassidy Commissioner Community Service Award honoring his 18 years of service on the park board. This annual award is presented to a commissioner whose volunteer service to his or her community emulates the vision and voluntary efforts demonstrated by Mike Cassidy, longtime commissioner of the Freeport Park District, to improve the quality of life for those in his community. Recipients of the award will have demonstrated the highest example of community service, personal integrity and ingenuity.
As part of a five-member board, Cassidy has helped the park district to grow to 41 parks and 868 acres of park space; develop soccer fields at Cary Grove Park; connect neighborhoods, schools, the library, and commerce through miles of trail; acquire Foxford Hills Golf Club; renovate the community center and the park maintenance garage; complete Jaycee Park and the phase one development of Hoffman Park; develop a 10-year master plan; and receive the Distinguished Agency/Accreditation Award three times.
As park and facility development has occurred, Cassidy has been a central contributor to the park district ending with the best end result of various sites the agency has sought to develop.
In addition to his volunteer service on the park board, Cassidy has volunteered for Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic Church, Cary Grove High School, School District 26, Cary Basketball Association, and the YMCA Indian Princess Program.
Distinguished Accreditation Agency Award: The park district also received the Distinguished Accreditation Agency Award, the highest accreditation possible in the state of Illinois for a park and recreation agency. The goal of the accreditation program is to improve the delivery of recreation services to the residents of Illinois through a voluntary comprehensive evaluation process. The process requires an agency to complete and participate in an extensive and detailed review in six critical categories; General Management, Finance and Business, Operations, Facilities and Parks, Personnel, Recreation Services, and Legal. The desired result is to improve the quality of life for Illinois residents and to recognize those agencies that have demonstrated their commitment to providing quality service.
"We are honored to once again be recognized by our peers as a Distinguished Accreditation Agency," said Cary Park District Executive Director Dan Jones. "This achievement is the result of a great deal of hard work by the Board of Commissioners and all the staff of the Cary Park District. To accomplish this takes an agencywide commitment and we hope the outcome of these efforts is the highest quality recreational programs and park amenities for the residents we serve."
The Cary Park District is one of 64 park and recreation agencies throughout the state, and the first in McHenry County, to have received this award.