SPRINGFIELD – Celebrating the vibrant role parks play in enhancing our communities, State Senator Willie Preston welcomed the Oak Lawn Park District to the Capitol for Parks Day this week.

“It’s always a pleasure to welcome constituents from the Sweet 16th District to the Capitol,” said Preston (D-Chicago). “The parks in our district play a huge role in community engagement, giving youth and their families a place to come together to socialize in a safe and accessible place.”

Illinois Parks Day is an annual celebration of the green spaces that form the heart of our neighborhoods across Illinois. Over 50 organizations across the state gathered in the Capitol on Tuesday, giving visitors the opportunity to learn about park services, including park districts, forest preserves, and conservation and recreation agencies.

Deirdre White, general manager at Oak Lawn Racquet Center, set up Oak Lawn’s display in the rotunda where she had the opportunity to engage directly with state legislators and other park district representatives, fostering collaboration about the innovative programs and services parks offer.

“Our park district has a long and proud history of offering a myriad of recreational programs to meet the needs of our community,” said White. “I work inside at the Racquet, Fitness and Gymnastics Center and year-round we serve over 2,000 kids alone, so you can just imagine what we’re ramping up for this summer.”

Oak Lawn Park District manages a combination of 34 parks and facilities, which cover over 280 acres. They also manage a Special Recreation Cooperative that offers recreational programs and services to individuals with disabilities in nine municipalities.

“Last summer, we hosted Movies in the Park, a Juneteenth celebration and so much more. I’m looking forward to bringing that back and expanding these efforts with parks across the community,” said Preston. “Our parks really are the heart of our community. It was nice to showcase the amazing park districts across Illinois and offer them our continued support from Springfield.”

For a list of Illinois parks and recreation areas, visit the IDNR website.