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PDHP Executive Director McElroy to Retire

9/24/18 – After 38 years in the field of parks and recreation, Park District of Highland Park Executive Director Liza McElroy is ready to “pass the baton.”  McElroy, who has served as Executive Director at Highland Park for the past 10 years, announced recently that she is going to retire from her position at the end of February 2019. 

Prior to joining the Park District of Highland Park, McElroy worked at the Winnetka Park District for more than 28 years.  During her last nine years at Winnetka, she served as the District’s Executive Director. 

   “It has been an honor to be a part of the Highland Park community,” said McElroy.  “I am lucky to have had such a rich meaningful career and have been blessed to work with such wonderful people over the past 38 years.”

     McElroy earned a state-wide reputation as a dedicated park and recreational professional.  During her career, she served as President of the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA) as well as Chair of the Finance Committee.  She has also served on various committees for the Association.  She is currently on the Board of the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association and has served as its Chair.

     Recognized numerous times in her career, McElroy was the recipient of IPRA’s highest honor, the Robert Artz Award. She was also been named the Honored Professional by the Illinois Association of Park Districts.  She has received the Professional Excellence Award from the National Recreation and Park Association, as well many local community service awards. McElroy is active in Highland Park community, including the Highland Park-Highwood Rotary Club, the Highland Park Hospital Community Advisory Committee, and the Community Family Center Board.

     “Liza’s ability to develop strong working relationships within our community and the resulting improvements to our District’s delivery of recreation services and facilities leaves an indelible mark on Highland Park,” said Brian Kaplan, President of the Board for the Park District of Highland Park.  “Liza will be leaving our Park District a much better place thanks to her leadership, that will long serve as part of her legacy with the Park District of Highland Park.”

     While at Highland Park, McElroy worked with the Park Board adopting a Pension Reform Resolution, the 5-year Capital Replacement Plan and the District’s 10-year master plan: GreenPrint 2024. 

     Under her leadership, the District saw new growth and development including renovations at Rosewood Beach, Sunset Valley Golf Club, Deer Creek Racquet Club, Hidden Creek Aqua Park, and the Recreation Center of Highland Park as well as a new consolidated Parks Operations and Golf Operations Center. All of this was accomplished while keeping resident taxes in check, balancing the District’s budget, and adopting a comprehensive fund balance policy. 

     During McElroy’s tenure, the Park District of Highland Park was recognized as a Distinguished Accredited Agency by IPRA/IAPD, and won numerous awards including IPRA Facility of the Year Award for Rosewood Beach, American Institute of Architects- Distinguished Building Award for Rosewood Beach, Chicago Building Congress Merit Award for Rosewood Beach, American Shore and Beach Preservation – Best Restored Beach Award for Rosewood Beach, United States Tennis Association Facility of the Year for Deer Creek Racquet Club, Lake County Storm Water Management Award for Skokie River Woods, and ten Government Finance Officers Association Certificates of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.  The District is also an accredited member of the Park District Risk Management Association.