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Best Workplace for CommutersBest Workplace for Commuters Logo

Deerfield Park District has been named one of the 2023 Best Workplaces for Commuters for offering exceptional employee commuter benefits. Deerfield Park District is among a select group of workplaces in the United States that have achieved the Best Workplaces for Commuters National Standard of Excellence by providing exceptional commuter benefits. Deerfield Park District offers employees several commuter benefits, including:

  • a Telework or Compressed Workweek Program of which 20% of our full-time staff participate in. By not commuting to work an average of 1 day per week, less Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is being emitted into the environment. That amounts to approximately 300 pounds of CO2 EACH WEEK! As a reference, 19.4 pounds of CO2 is emitted per every gallon of gasoline of a single occupancy vehicle (per US EPA).
  • encouraging carpooling, taking mass transit, and walking or biking to work. This mileage is tracked through a commuter program tracking form and every month a raffle is held for everyone who participates in this option.
  • access to a free ride home in case of an emergency.
  • the Deerfield Park District also has an Employee Transportation Coordinator to provide assistance with commuter program questions and to investigate future program options and opportunities to increase commuter benefits.

“Deerfield Park District is one of the top employers in the nation offering high-level commuter benefits to their employees,” said Julie Bond, Program Manager, Best Workplaces for Commuters. They give their employees the support they need to get to work and be at their best before, during, and after their workday.”

“We are extremely proud about our progressive commuter benefit program that saves employees time, money, and stress,” said Jeff Nehila, Executive Director of the Deerfield Park District. “Our benefits give us a competitive edge in employee recruitment and retention while helping reduce traffic congestion and negative environmental impact.”

The Best Workplaces for Commuters program offers designated organizations access to a range of support services to assess and promote non-driving commuting of employees, including organizational assessment and implementation tool-kits, web-based tools and webinars, staff training and information exchange.


National Gold Medal Finalist


American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) Gold Medal Finalists

Deerfield Park District Staff and Board Members at Brickyards Park
2022 Deerfield Park District Staff and Board of Commissioners with Gold Medal Finalist Plaque
Deerfield Park District Staff at Kenny Rudin Playground
2021 Deerfield Park District Staff at Kenny Rudin Playground with Gold Medal Finalist Plaque

Deerfield Park District was honored to be selected as a finalist in 2021 and again in 2022 for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The National Gold Medal Award is administered in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

The National Gold Medal Award is the most coveted award in the park and recreation profession honoring agencies and communities throughout the United States that exceed industry standards and establish a higher standard for delivering Public Park and recreation services. Gold Medal Finalist winners measure the impact and benefit of their services while addressing the community needs through the involvement of citizens, staff and elected officials into all planning processes.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, the governing organization for the National Gold Medal Award, consists of 125 distinguished practitioners and scholars in the field who are committed to the advancement of the park and recreation field. Rooted in the desire to advance knowledge, encourage scholarly efforts and provide services to advance the profession, the Academy embraces the opportunities to “raise the bar” and enhance the quality of park and recreation services to the local community through the National Gold Medal Awards Program.

Since the awards inception in 1965 there has only been a little over 275 agencies named a Gold Medal Finalist. Deerfield Park District is now in the upper echelon of 8000 plus park & recreation agencies across the nation!

Deerfield Park District was a finalist in the Class V for those with a population of 30,000 or less category. Our application described the unique and fulfilling projects, partnerships and pride stewarded by the staff at Deerfield Park District making Deerfield an exemplary community. All of the families and friends of the district, while enjoying the Deerfield Golf Club, Deerspring or Mitchell Pool, Sachs Recreation Center, Patty Turner Center, Jewett Park Community Center and our numerous parks, fields and playgrounds, are who make Deerfield a wonderful place to live and recreate.

As a finalist, we showcased the Deerfield Park District community in a 5 minute video highlighting our district’s programs and services to give the judges an overview of our agency and a visual depiction of what was articulated in our application. In this video we highlighted unique partnerships with our Patty Turner Senior Center Council Members, Kenny Rudin Playground supporters, WNBA Champions Chicago Sky, Northshore Rhythmic Gymnastics and our Bee Keeping Program.

Deerfield Park District thanks the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, Musco Lighting and the National Recreation and Park Association for this coveted recognition.

For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit


 Doctors Test Center Award Night
David Shamrock, Facility Manager at the Patty Turner Center, Jennifer Onsager and Adam Swartz from Doctors Test Center


The Deerfield Park District received recognition with an Illinois Association of Park District’s Best of the Best Award. Deerfield was selected for the partnership with the Doctors Test Centers. We are honored to have worked alongside the Doctors Test Centers during the pandemic and are grateful for the opportunity to help reduce the effects of a pandemic and provide direct assistance through vaccine distribution.

Details included in the award submission are below:
The Deerfield Park District and the Village of Deerfield have enjoyed a longstanding and successful intergovernmental agreement in constructing and then operating the Patty Turner Center, a center for active adults. Both agencies share in the financial support to operate the center, offer programs and services and provide necessary improvements and updates to the facility with capital projects and purchases. The Park District is responsible for the day-to-day operations at the Center. The COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic effect on the Patty Turner Center as it was essentially forced to close for nearly a year for full on-site programming and services.

In early 2021, the Village of Deerfield had started dialogue with a medical firm, the Doctors Test Centers, to explore developing a COVID-19 testing site. As the COVID-19 vaccines became available, the firm quickly switched gears and began looking for a location to host a COVID-19 Regional Vaccine Center.

By late February 2021, the Village, the Park District, Doctors Test Centers and Lake County Health Department began exploring the possibility of holding the clinic at the Patty Turner Center. As the park district is responsible for the operations of the facility, park district staff immediately began developing a Facility Use Agreement for the Park Board of Commissioners to consider. The Park Board was very receptive to the idea and quickly established a Special Board Meeting on March 10, 2021, to review the agreement. The Park Board unanimously approved the agreement that same night.

Doctors Test Centers quickly finalized their coordination of vaccine allotments with Lake County Health Department and started receiving and administering vaccines the week of March 22, 2021. Essential workers including police, fire and first responders were the first group of eligible persons who received the vaccine. Other groups, such as seniors, vulnerable populations and then other essential worker groups followed. The Deerfield, Bannockburn and Riverwoods Chamber of Commerce worked closely with restaurant and hospitality workers to schedule and receive their vaccines.

Continued coordination with Lake County Health Department led the Doctors Test Centers to be able to receive vaccinations appropriate for ages 12 and up. That population, including many area summer student workforces, were also able to receive vaccines. The clinic operated 5 days a week and Doctors Test Centers also offered remote site vaccinations on weekends throughout the region using the Patty Turner Center as their equipment and vaccine storage site.

The on-site COVID-19 Regional Vaccine Clinic operated through mid-July and provided over 12,000 vaccines and administered another 8,000 vaccines at off-site locations throughout the summer. The 20,000 vaccines provided to the region was well above what anyone thought the total would be and certainly helped contribute to Illinois moving to its Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan in June 2021.

This partnership with Doctors Test Centers epitomizes how a public agency can quickly and effectively work with a private firm, partnering to provide an invaluable health and safety benefit to thousands of eligible residents. We can’t think of a more worthy partnership as we continue to navigate through a global pandemic.

Illinois Distinguished AgencyIllinois Distinguished Accredited Agency Logo

The Deerfield Park District has been recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Accredited Agency by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD) and the Illinois Park and Recreation Association (IPRA). The two statewide associations administer the Illinois Distinguished Accreditation program with the goal of improving the delivery of park and recreation services to Illinois residents. A park district or recreation agency interested in applying for Distinguished Accredited Agency recognition undergoes a detailed, lengthy process of application and evaluation. A Joint Distinguished Park and Recreation Accreditation Committee comprised of members from IAPD and IPRA coordinates the process. The team reviews general management procedures, finance and business operations, facilities and parks, personnel, recreation services, legal documentation and other materials including mission statements, goals, and safety manuals.



This award is intended to recognize non-governmental organizations (churches, YMCAs, foundations, associations, not-for-profits, corporations, etc.) that have collaborated with a park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency in a significant manner, thereby enabling the public agency to initiate a major capital improvement program, or pursue a campaign, initiative or project that enhanced residents quality of life and would not have been achievable without this partnership.

In Deerfield Park District’s Sachs Recreation Center, little kids aspire to grow up to earn the title as some of the best rhythmic gymnasts in the world. The Best of the Best. Sachs Recreation Center has been the official training facility for North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center for the past 12 years. The North Shore Rhythmic Gymnastics Center is home to 150-170 gymnasts that range from beginning gymnasts as young as 4 years old to USA Olympic Team athletes and USA National Team athletes. Thank you IAPD for this prestigious award and NSRGC for this amazing partnership.



Lifeguards in front of pool
Our guards and management team, showing five fingers to represent their five-star success!

StarGuard Elite, our aquatic risk prevention agency, performed an audit at the pool last week and the Mitchell Pool guards received a five-star rating (the highest score possible).

Criteria: The auditor watches our guards ensuring they are focused, keeping the 30-second scan standard and following other strict StarGuard rules. Auditors also watch to make sure there is a strong management presence on the pool deck, ensuring the guards are following proper procedures and protocols taught during their Lifeguard Training and also watch to ensure guards are answering patron questions in a timely and courteous fashion.

During the second part of the audit, the auditor announces themselves to the staff. They then have the guards run realistic scenarios to ensure their skills are top-notch. Guards were tested on first aid, solo CPR, a spinal removal from the pool and a full-on unconscious water scenario.

We are so grateful for our top-notch Lifeguards and Managers.



Chicago Sky Team practice
A WNBA Chicago Sky Team practice at Sachs Recreation Center gym

This award is intended to recognize non-governmental organizations (churches, YMCAs, foundations, associations, not-for-profits, corporations, etc.) that have collaborated with a park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency in a significant manner, thereby enabling the public agency to initiate a major capital improvement program, or pursue a campaign, initiative or project that enhanced residents quality of life and would not have been achievable without this partnership.

The unique partnership between the WNBA Chicago Sky and the Deerfield Park District began in 2011 when a portion of the 100,000 square foot Sachs Recreation Center became the Sky’s practice facility. This relationship has created numerous benefits for the park district and the community including rental of space from SRC by the Chicago Sky, event attendance by Chicago Sky representatives promoting healthy and active lifestyles, public speaking and specialty workshops, media exposure and athletic inspiration. We are thankful and proud of the time, talent and resources shared by the Chicago Sky and look forward to continuing this vital partnership.


Association of Illinois Senior Centers MIND, BODY AND SPIRIT AWARDstaff receiving award

Each year, the AISC Association of Illinois Senior Centers recognizes two centers in Illinois that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to helping seniors maintain and improve their physical, mental and emotional health. In 2018, Patty Turner Center was selected as one of AISC’s Mind, Body, and Spirit recipients!

Flourishing with 865 members, services and activities are provided for adults age 50 and above Our staff creates a friendly, welcoming, inviting facility for the members and guests. The center offers over 40 recreation programs each month to encourage healthy lifestyles. Additionally, support groups are offered for caregivers, those with low vision and Alzheimers. PTC also houses a lending closet to assist the physical well-being of the members.

Social theme dinners, 25 clubs and drop-in recreation for billiards and ping-pong provide patrons with activities that continue to stimulate their minds, offer dexterity and provide recreation and social outlets. Our staff work as a cohesive team to provide a balance of options to enhance the mind, body and spirit of all who enter the Patty Turner Center.


Art in the Park event
A family participating in our “Art in the Park” event, highlighted in the award nomination.

Illinois Association of Park district’s Helen Doria Arts In the Park Award

The Arts in the Park Award recognizes agencies (park districts, forest preserves, conservation, recreation, and special recreation agencies) that support the arts and partner with artists and arts organizations to enhance the quality of life in their communities. Applications are evaluated according to criteria including equity of access to arts programming among all citizens, variety of artistic opportunities and experiences across multiple disciplines, evidence of collaboration with a broad range of partners including teaching artists and organizations, integration of the arts in non-arts programs, diversity of ethnic and cultural programming represented, long-term commitment to arts in the community, development of new relationships with arts providers and experimentation with innovative program offerings, sustained relationships with existing arts partners, community impact and engagement and press coverage highlighting the importance of the arts in the community.

The Deerfield Community is crazy about the arts! From public/private partnerships to offering 168 fine arts, theater and dance programs each year to playing a vital role in the Village of Deerfield’s Fine Arts Commission, one can visit Deerfield at any time and see how the efforts of providing a wide range of cultural art programs at all levels is truly a community effort. We are thrilled to have received the 2017 Helen Doria Arts in the Park Award.