Saturday, November 29, 2008

Environmental Awareness Field, City Parks Category

Emcee: Debra Poneman

Our next inductee to the Environmental Hall of Fame is the Chicago Park District and Mr. Tim Mitchell, Superintendent and CEO. Representing Superintendent Mitchell is Brendan Daley, Executive Assistant for Green Initiatives. We’re very happy to have him here to help us inaugurate our green teams, but first let me tell you a little about what Tim Mitchell and the Chicago Park District have been up to…

Named General Superintendent and CEO by Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2004, Mitchell has implemented new programming, committees and playground standards to provide an inclusive park system for patrons, ensuring that every Chicagoan, regardless of physical or cognitive abilities, can participate in park programs and events throughout the city. This effort has lead to the removal of architectural barriers that obstruct access to park programs and facilities.

In his efforts to provide affordable recreational opportunities and promote a healthier lifestyle through physical activity, Mitchell and his administration have greatly improved numerous playground facilities, fitness centers, athletic fields and recreation programs across the city.

Northerly Island, the site of a former airport, is now a 78-acre nature park that offers Chicago residents and visitors winding paths amid native plantings, close encounters with birds and other wildlife and spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the city’s skyline.

Other examples of Mitchell’s innovation can be found at the former USX Steel Mill site which will soon become an 85 acre park, a proposed elevated bike path along abandoned train tracks, and the new skate park to be constructed under Chicago’s Kennedy expressway.

Also this year, Mitchell successfully spearheaded a campaign to save Lake Michigan from the potential threat of toxins that would be dumped due to the BP Whiting Refinery proposed expansion. More than 75,000 signatures were collected by Chicago Park District’s petition drive and were presented to Indiana State legislators. Combined with other organization’s efforts as well, Mitchell’s campaign resulted in BP Amoco altering their plans and pledging not to increase dumping in Lake Michigan.

It is our honor to induct the Chkcago Park District and Mr Tim Mitchell. I would like to invite Mr. Brenden Daley to come forward.