Gov. Pritzker underscores commitment to parks and recreation at IAPD Conference

information provided by the Office of the Governor

CHICAGO, Ill. (January 27, 2019) — Governor JB Pritzker addressed the Illinois Association of Park Districts at their annual conference on January 25, highlighting the important role the parks and recreation centers play in contributing to our state’s economy and improving the quality of life of people in every corner of the state.

The following is an excerpt of the governor’s remarks:

Here in Illinois, there’s no question in my mind that we have the greatest parks, forest preserves, and outdoor recreational opportunities in the world, and that’s because of the dedication, energy, and passion of everyone in this room. You make Illinois the best place in the nation to raise a family and for kids and adults to get outstanding recreational opportunities. That deserves a big round of applause.

I’m so honored to be with you all today and to celebrate the important role our park districts play in making people’s lives better in every corner of this state.

You all provide programs, facilities, and opportunities for people of all ages and abilities — from programming to keep our seniors active, to after-school and summer programs to educate and engage our young people, to opportunities for people with disabilities.

You build community and help working families thrive. Aside from the obvious reasons, let me tell you how important your role is in building a bright future for our state.

You know I spent my career in the tech world working alongside entrepreneurs building new and innovative companies. Beyond the fact that we’ve created a great new tech ecosystem in Illinois, the number one reason young millennial engineers and entrepreneurs choose to come to Illinois or stay in Illinois to build their new businesses is their ability to raise a family in a great environment that’s livable and affordable. Our parks, our forest preserves, our conservation lands, and our indoor and outdoor family recreational opportunities are an enormous attraction for those young entrepreneurial families.

So you’re not only making your communities family friendly, you’re also good for our economy.

Look, I know the past few years have been challenging, but I’m here to tell you we have an opportunity to make a new start for Illinois. We have real challenges to overcome in terms of our state’s fiscal condition, but we have so many great assets in our state — and you are among our most important.

I want to be your partner in the work to provide the best facilities and services we can to the people of Illinois.

That mission crosses party lines and is shared by public servants all across our state.

There’s real potential to work across the aisle when it comes to securing federal grants, attracting foundation support, and prioritizing park improvement projects in our state budget.

Illinois has gone far too long without a capital plan. My administration will work with lawmakers and communities in every part of our state on a 21st-century capital plan to invest in the infrastructure our economy and our families rely on.

There’s nothing partisan about that. It’s just good government, and it’s good for Illinois.

Thank you all for your hard work and service to the people of our great state. I look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead to make Illinois an even better place to live.

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