DECATUR-- At the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) “Soaring to New Heights” Conference in Chicago on January 24 - 26, Park Board President Chris Riley was honored as Commissioner of the Year.
Recipients of this distinguished award have shown outstanding qualities to support and promote parks, recreation, and conservation in their communities. Riley was selected from among 2,100 elected board members at 460 park districts, forest preserves, and conservation districts across the state of Illinois.
Commissioner Riley’s involvement with the Decatur Park District began in the 1970s, when he first took part in musical theatre programs. Over the years, he became a distinguished performer for the Decatur Park Singers and the Greater Decatur Chorale. A tireless supporter of the arts, Riley helped Decatur earn the 2001 IAPD Dottie Mullen Award for the Arts & Humanities and the 2010 Arts in the Park Award. In 2011, he founded an Arts Scholarship Program in honor of his parks & recreation mentor, Jerry Menz. With a $10,000 personal gift, Riley confirmed his commitment to the development of young artists in our community.
In his 2nd term as Park Board President, Chris Riley champions fiscal responsibility and promotes the many benefits of the Decatur Park District in a weekly “Parks at 5” radio show, which he has hosted for nearly 5 years. A significant accomplishment during his 11-year tenure was passage of a referendum leading to the construction of a Raymond Floyd signature golf course and improvements at several neighborhood parks.
For his ongoing, significant contributions to the Decatur Park District, IAPD, and the field of parks and recreation, Chris Riley was named 2012 Commissioner of the Year.