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Chicago Park District is the oldest and (financially) largest park district in the U.S.A, with a $385 million annual budget. It has the distinction of spending the most per capita on its parks, even more than Bostonmarker in terms of park expenses per capita. The district is an independent taxing authority as defined by Illinois State Statute and is considered a separate (or "sister") agency of the city of Chicagomarker. The CEO of the Park District is appointed by the Board of Commissioners. The Chicago Park District's Headquarters are located in the Time-Life Building.marker


The Chicago Park District oversees 552 parks with over 7,300 acres (30 kmĀ²) of municipal parkland as well as 33 beaches, nine museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons and 10 bird and wildlife gardens that are found with the city limits. A number of these are tourist destinations, most notably Lincoln Parkmarker, Chicago's largest park which has over 20 million visitors each year, second only to Central Parkmarker in New York Citymarker. Thanks to nine lakefront harbors located within a number of parks along the lakefront the Chicago Park District is also the nation's largest municipal harbor system.

A number of Chicago Park District parks are located in the vicinity of or even adjacent to a number of Chicago Public Schools. This design was done in order to make it easier for public school students and faculty to incorporate school assignments or physical activities into the learning experience. Additionally, a number of Chicago Public Library locations are located within Chicago Park District facilities.


The agency was long considered a dumping ground for political appointees; most famously, it was run by Ed Kelly, one of the "Eddies" who frustrated Mayor Harold Washington in the 1980s. The size and personnel of the park district was dramatically pared down during the reform administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley-appointed CEO Forrest Claypool in the mid-1990s. Until 1983 it was District policy to underfund parks in minority neighborhoods[199378].

The district has been run by Tim Mitchell since 2004. During his tenure, the park district has initiated a program of renovating and beautifying existing parks and initiating the building of a number of new parks in recent years such as Ping Tom Memorial Parkmarker, DuSable Parkmarker and most notably Millennium Parkmarker. The Chicago Park District has also made an effort to return programming to the neighborhoods through the parks and created a lakefront concert venue on Northerly Island on the site of the former Meigs Fieldmarker airport.

Image gallery

Image:BuckinghamFountain ChicagoIL.jpg|Buckingham Fountain, Grant ParkImage:Portage Park Chicago flagstone steps.JPG|Flagstone steps in Portage ParkmarkerImage:460955874 0a5c225232 o.jpg|Osaka Japanese Garden in Jackson ParkImage:Lincolnzoo fg01.jpg|Lincoln Park ZooImage:Lincoln Park Chicago 040124.jpg|Lincoln Park in winterImage:2005-10-13 2880x1920 chicago above millennium park.jpg|Millennium ParkImage:Montrose Beach Chicago 060820.jpg|Montrose BeachImage:Parkpagoda.jpg|The riverfront pavilion in Ping Tom Memorial Parkmarker

See also


  1. Chicago Park District Code,, retrieved 9/13/2009

External links

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