The Park District is a separate taxing entity governed by a five-member elected Board of Park Commissioners. Members serve without compensation and are directly responsible to the electorate. Daily operations are handled by a professional staff led by the Executive Director.
Approximately 6% of the total resident property tax is paid to the Park District of Highland Park. Taxes provide about 50% of the Park District’s annual operating budget of approximately $20 million. The balance of income is derived from user fees, admissions, rentals, sales and so forth. Grants, donations and endowments for special projects provide another source of revenue. The Park District currently holds a Aaa rating from Moody’s.
The Park District serves over 30,000 residents in the City of Highland Park, Illinois and a small portion of the Village of Deerfield and is located 25 miles north of Chicago. The Park District operates and manages over 800 acres of land in 44 park areas, eleven facilities (Recreation Center of Highland Park, Heller Nature Center, Centennial Ice Arena, West Ridge Center, Deer Creek Racquet Club, Sunset Valley Golf Club, Hidden Creek AquaPark, Park Avenue Boating Facility, Rosewood Beach Interpretive Center, Highland Park Golf Learning Center, River’s Edge Mini Golf), and 3,500 recreational programs.
The parks offer a variety of amenities including playgrounds (39), walking and biking paths (15 miles), indoor/outdoor tennis courts (32), pickleball courts (8), basketball courts (16), disc golf courses (2), off-leash dog parks (3), and sports fields (29). More than 250 areas of the Park District’s property are considered natural areas of prairie, woodlands, and ravines. Integral to Highland Park are the beaches. Ten percent of all of Illinois’ Lake Michigan shoreline is within Highland Park. The District maintains four public park beaches that offer public access to this magnificent shoreline.
The Park District is a member of the Northern Suburban Special Recreation Association (NSSRA) – providing recreational activities for residents with special needs, the National Recreation and Parks Association (NRPA), Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA), and the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD)
The success of any governmental agency can only be accomplished with ongoing conversations and input with the community it serves. The Park District of Highland Park utilizes a number of means to give our residents a voice in their Park District
In addition, the Park District has cooperative relationships with a variety of organizations, including affiliations or reciprocal sponsorships with different groups.