Friends of the Parks honored the best of park awards at its Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon on February 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center

Ernie C. Wong, the founder and principal of Site Design Group gave the keynote address on Exciting Urban Park Designs for the 21st Century: Designing Barthelme, Ping Tom and Stearns Quarry Parks.

Following the keynote address, nine awards were presented to:

Gary Ossewaarde was awarded the 2011 Individual Award for his decades of work and leadership improving Jackson, South Shore Cultural Center, Nichols, Elm and Bixler Parks in the Hyde Park neighborhood

Cubs Care received the 2011 Corporate Award for donating millions of dollars over the last 2 decades for children’s playgrounds, ball fields, park enhancements and sports programs for children in Chicago’s parks

After School Matters received the 2011 Community Award for its successful program of engaging Chicago’s youth in creative and unique environmental after school apprenticeship programs

Edgewater Community Council was awarded the 2011 Advocacy Award for its 2-year community involvement project to develop and produce the Edgewater Environmental Sustainability Project

Lowe Park Advisory Council was presented the 2011 Park Advisory Council Award for their strong advocacy for quality programming and to ensure equity in day camp opportunities for children

Clark Park Advisory Council was awarded the 2011 Park Advisory Council Award for hosting one of the city’s most unique and successful events, the Moonlight Canoe Paddle, as well as for volunteer work days and advocacy to protect Richard Clark Park from a roadway expansion

Alderman Walter Burnett was awarded the 2011 Legislative Award for his commitment to develop new parks, children’s playgrounds and dog parks in the 27th Ward.  Alderman Burnett has allocated both TIF and aldermanic menu dollars to help construct parks in his ward. 

Alderman Rey Colon received the 2011 Legislative Award for his commitment to new park development, public involvement, new green spaces and dog parks in the 35th Ward

The 2011 Leon Despres Lifetime Commitment to Parks Award was awarded to Chicago activist and educator, Timuel Black for his life-long work on parks, including being a founding member of Friends of the Parks, pushing for the equitable distribution of park resources throughout the city, helping to save the South Shore Country Club and teaching about the importance of parks