CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, announced that the Champaign Park District is a finalist for the 2022 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.

Champaign Park District has been awarded the gold medal award three times in the past in 1979,1990 and 1998.

The award was first founded in 1965 and it “honors communities in the United States that demonstrate excellence in park and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development and agency recognition,” according to a news release.

There are three other finalists in the same class as the Champaign Park District, which recognizes communities with populations between 75,001-150,000 people.

“This distinction is a true honor,” Champaign Park District Executive Director Joe DeLuce said in a news release. “We strive to improve the quality of life of every member of our community, to be innovative and forward-thinking and to make recreation accessible to all. Our Staff has a passion and creativity that helps make us one of the best of the best!”

The grand plaque recipients will be announced at the 2022 NRPA Annual Conference in September.

Decatur Park District was a recipient of this award back in 2020.