We are happy to report that the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to the Park District of Highland Park for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.  This is the 32nd consecutive year the Park District has received the award.   The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

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.

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources, and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

The City of Highland Park is now accepting nominations for several awards honoring the outstanding achievements and contributions of community members and organizations. Nominations for the 2022 Highland Park Awards may be submitted online via the City’s website at cityhpil.com/awards through February 21, 2022.

Anyone may nominate an individual member of the Highland Park community or a Highland Park business or nonprofit organization for an award; nominators should carefully review the award descriptions and nomination requirements before submitting their nomination. The recipients of the Arts, Environmental, and Humanitarian awards will be selected by the City Council with input from City advisory groups. Nominations for the Character Counts Pillar Awards will be reviewed by the Character Counts Steering Committee, a joint endeavor of the City, the Park District of Highland Park, North Shore School District 112, and Highland Park High School.

The City will host an awards ceremony on April 5, 2022, tentatively planning for this event to be held in person at Highland Park High School. Details will be posted to the City’s website at cityhpil.com/awards.

The Highland Park Awards are:

Arts Award
The Arts Award recognizes outstanding achievement in, or contributions to, the visual, performing, literature, and digital arts in Highland Park. Nominations will be reviewed by the Cultural Arts Advisory Group.

Environmental Award
The Environmental Award recognizes individuals and businesses who have made substantial contributions to improve the environment. Nominations will be reviewed by the Sustainability Advisory Group.

Humanitarian Award
The Humanitarian Award is presented to an outstanding Highland Park individual who has rendered significant, sustained service to the Highland Park community. Nominations will be reviewed by the Human Relations Advisory Group.

Character Counts Pillar Awards
The Character Counts Pillar Awards recognize community members who have demonstrated the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

For more information about the Highland Park Awards, including lists of previous winners, visit cityhpil.com/awards.

Moody’s Investors Service assigned an Aaa to the Park District of Highland Park, IL’s $19.7 million General Obligation (Limited Tax) Debt Certificates, Series 2021. Moody’s maintains the Aaa issuer rating and Aaa general obligation limited tax (GOLT) rating on the district’s outstanding bonds. The district’s issuer rating represents Moody’s assessment of the hypothetical debt of the district supported by a general obligation unlimited tax (GOULT) pledge. The district does not currently have any rated debt supported by a GOULT pledge. Following the sale, the district will have $33.4 million in outstanding GOLT debt, all of which is rated by Moody’s.

RATINGS RATIONALE
The district’s Aaa issuer rating reflects its large and affluent tax base, strong financial position that is further bolstered by additional liquidity within its capital projects funds, a moderate debt burden and modest adjusted pension burden.

The absence of a distinction between the rating on the district’s GOLT debt and the issuer rating is based on the nature of the pledge, which is a first budget obligation payable from all available funds.

RATING OUTLOOK
Moody’s typically does not assign outlooks to local governments with this amount of debt.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN DOWNGRADE

LEGAL SECURITY
The Series 2021 debt certificates are a general obligation of the district payable from all legally available funds.

USE OF PROCEEDS
The Series 2021 debt certificates will finance refunding and new projects. A portion of the debt certificates will be used to partially refund the Series 2012 and 2013 debt certificates, which originally financed beach improvements, improvements to a tennis facility, park renovations and acquire and maintain park land. The remaining proceeds will finance various capital projects, including reconstruction of a recreation center and improvements to a boat launch
and dog beach.

PROFILE
Located about 26 miles north of the City of Chicago (Ba1 stable) in suburban Lake County (Aaa), the Park District of Highland Park continues to benefit from its favorable location on the North Shore of Lake Michigan. The district encompasses the City of Highland Park (Aaa stable) and a small portion of the Village of Deerfield (Aaa stable). The district serves a population of roughly 30,000.

To read the full press release, click here.

The Park District of Highland Park received state-wide recognition with an Illinois Association of Park District (IAPD) Best of the Best Award for Sportsmanship, honoring two of our outstanding volunteer coaches David and Andy Engle. Award winners will be recognized at the IAPD Best of the Best Awards Gala on October 15.

IAPD winners were selected from entries submitted throughout the state recognizing the “Best of the Best” park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation, and special recreation agencies in eight categories. For a complete list of winners, click here.

This award is truly an honor for the Park District, our Athletics Program, our fabulous coaches, and the Highland Park community!

Here is a synopsis of our winning Coaches:

Coaches Andy and David Engle have been with the Park District of Highland Park for three seasons as volunteer Travel Baseball Coaches. Both have volunteered well over 1000 hours throughout their three seasons. They have been instrumental to Highland Park’s baseball community on many levels. Andy and David embody what it means to be committed volunteers, from ensuring our playing fields are safe and adequate to recruit players to organizing home field tournaments. They instill teamwork, hard work, respect, safety, and a family environment while ensuring everyone is having fun. They do not coach to the scoreboard or concern themselves with the team’s record; however, their teams have been very successful. This past season, the 12U team they coached went 31-14 and won two out of five tournaments. They both are exemplary role models for their young players. They teach respect, dignity, sportsmanship, hard work, and pride in the community they represent. Andy and David are most deserving of the IAPD Good Sportsmanship Award.

Featured in the photo (L to R): Andy Engle, Sammy (Andy’s son), Noah (David’s son), David Engle

A recent episode “Storms, Sanctuary and Suckers” of the PBS series “Great Lakes Now” featured the work our Park District of Highland Park Natural Areas Department is doing to help scientists learn more about the Great Lakes. Natural Areas Manager Rebecca Grill and Program Volunteer Coordinator Liz Ricketts are featured in the episode.

The Park District of Highland Park is part of a Shedd Aquarium research project led by Shedd researcher Karen Murchie to track the movements of sucker fish across the Great Lakes. The sucker fish up until now has been kind of a mystery, but the incredible work being done has allowed a better understanding of their biology. The episode highlights the work Murchie, and her team has done to learn more about the fish that is such a vital part of our local ecosystem. Murchie explains that “if there was an academy award for fishes, she would give suckers the academy award for best supporting fish because of the amazing services they provide.”

The episode aired on PBS across the Midwest, and the full video is below.

The  Level 3 Gymnastics Team placed 2nd at the AAU Central District Meet in Bourbonnais, IL on Sunday, May 2.  Individually, our gymnasts were represented on the podium in each of their age groups.  In the Junior A Division, Hannah Maletksy came in second on vault, bars, beam, and was awarded state champion on floor and all-around.  In the Junior C Division, Kenna Reed placed 8th on vault, 2nd on bars, 4th on beam, 7th on floor, and 3rd all-around.  Also, in the Junior C Division, Sydney Genser placed 3rd on bars, 5th on beam, 9th on floor, and 6th on vault and all-around.

In the Senior B Division, four gymnasts received medals.  Charlie Weisbart placed 11th on vault and bars, 2nd on beam, 4th on floor, and 7th in all-around.  Naomi Rago placed 8th on vault, 5th on bars, 9th on beam, 7th on floor, and 6th all-around.  Lauren Smiley placed 5th on vault, 6th on beam, 2nd on floor, and 3rd on bars and all-around.  Rounding out this age group was Fiona Brownstein who placed 4th on beam, 2nd on bars, and all-around and was awarded the state champion on vault and floor.

Picture: Bottom row L to R: Kenna Reed and Hannah Maletsky.

Back row L to R: Naomi Rago, Lauren Smiley, Fiona Brownstein, Coach Bruce Keeshin, Sydney Genser, Charlie Weisbart.

The Park District’s Liz Ricketts and videographer Andy Cutraro took stock of white sucker fish in the outfall at Ravine Drive Beach earlier this week. The pair were filming for an upcoming PBS Detroit’s Great Lakes Now (https://www.greatlakesnow.org/ for a segment about the Shedd Aquarium’s efforts to track the annual migration of these native fish from Lake Michigan.

The Park District’s natural areas staff and volunteers have partnered with the Shedd since 2017 to do daily spring counts of fish in our ravine streams. The data is collected, along with weather and water conditions, from sites in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to provide insights into what triggers the annual migration to streams along the Lake Michigan shoreline. For more information on the project, see https://www.sheddaquarium.org/stories/researching-a-great-lakes-migration-the-sucker-spawning-run

Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) has awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting to Park District of Highland Park for its comprehensive annual financial report for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019.  This is the 31st consecutive year the Park District has received the award.   The report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the program, which includes demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the report.

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.

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources, and practical research for more than 21,000 members and the communities they serve.

The Park District of Highland Park Competitive Gymnastics Team traveled to their first meet of the season on Sunday, Feb 14.  The Level 3 team came home with the First Place team award. Individual awards went to Hannah Maletsky for 1st place in the All-Around for the nine-year-old division. Her teammate Kenna Reed came in 6th place in the All-Around for that age group. In the ten-year-old age group, Sydney Genser took the top honor with a 1st place All-Around award. In the 11-year-old age group, the PDHP team was represented by Fiona Brownstein in 1st place and Naomi Rago in 2nd place for the All-Around. Rounding out the team, in the 12 & up age group, Lauren Smiley was awarded 1st place All-Around and Charlie Weisbart 2nd place.

“The girls have worked hard all summer and waited patiently for the season to get the clearance to start up within the state restrictions,” said Carol Sassorossi, program manager.  “It was very exciting seeing the improvement and confidence shine through the girls.”

Chicago Golf Report named the clubhouse at Sunset Valley Golf Club one of the top ten best for public courses in the Chicago area.  Sunset Valley came in at number six on the list.  The list was compiled and ranked based on the importance and benefits of clubhouses to the everyday golfers— before, during, and after a round of golf.

The publication gave high marks for the clubhouse at Sunset Valley’s cozy atmosphere, stunning views of the course, trendy bar, the 1920s inspired menu, outdoor veranda and patio, and the expanded pro shop.    View the article, here