Stewardship Excellence Awards: Richard M. Daley
The Honorable Richard M. Daley has been the Mayor of Chicago since 1989. When he first took office the state of many of the parks was like many other American cities—what was once a celebrated collection of natural, cultural and scenic assets had become a collection of open spaces that were deteriorating and at times perceived as unsafe. Ever since the discovery of a cache of drawings at the Chicago Park District two decades ago, Mayor Daley has reversed that trend. Today the city boasts a system that has been preserved, restored, interpreted and celebrated. Today, Chicago's extraordinary legacy of historic parks from the Washington and Jackson parks in the South Park system designed by Olmsted and Vaux to the Columbus, Garfield, Douglas and Humboldt Parks that comprise the West Park system designed by Jens Jensen, these historic designed landscapes are not only recognized, but appreciated and highly used by Chicagoans and visitors. In addition to now serving their neighborhoods as engines for economic revitalization, this unparalleled legacy of parks and boulevards are finding their ways on the National Register and even becoming National Historic Landmarks.