John J. Hoscheit could count numerous achievements after nearly 20 years on the Forest Preserve Commission, and to that list, he can now add statewide recognition for his conservation efforts.
Hoscheit was recognized with the Illinois Association of Park District’s highest honor, the Commissioner of the Year Award, at the organization’s annual awards luncheon, Jan. 23 in Chicago. More than 4,000 park and recreation staff and officials from across Illinois attended the event. The IAPD is a statewide association that serves park districts, forest preserves, conservation and recreation agencies. The Forest Preserve District of Kane County is a member of the association.
The IAPD Commissioner of the Year Award is presented annually to someone who has displayed outstanding leadership, service and advocacy in support of conservation, recreation, parks and open space, throughout their community and the state. The Forest Preserve District along with District counsel Patrick Kinnally of Kinnally, Flaherty, Krentz & Loran, nominated Hoscheit, based on his accomplishments during 19 years as a commissioner and 12 as president of the Forest Preserve District.
Upon receiving the award, Hoscheit noted that cooperation and dedication have been key components of the district’s success.
“One thing I’m most proud of is our relationship with our park districts,” he said. “I think we’re the leader in the state. The Forest Preserve District probably has more intergovernmental agreements than any other agency. If you start at the north end of the county — Algonquin, Dundee, Elgin, South Elgin, St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, the Fox Valley Park District — we have multiple agreements with those agencies. We’ve been able to take our money and invest it, leverage it with their resources and expertise, and create great facilities for the community. When a community member goes to one of our facilities, they don’t care if it’s owned by St. Charles Park District or the Forest Preserve District — they know that they’ve invested in it. They want a quality facility, and we’ve been able to provide that.
“I also want to thank our board, this is really a team award. We have 24 board members, which sometimes creates a challenge politically, but with respect to our board on Forest Preserve issues, we’ve stayed unanimous. I think the public sees that, and that’s why we’ve been so successful in accomplishing things. When we started this process, we had roughly 7,000 acres of open space. Now we have roughly 21,000 acres.
“The most important part, and the key to our success, has been the wonderful staff that we have … Just think about this. We increased our holdings by over 300 percent in the last 15 years, and if you look at our staff, we’ve increased that only nominally. They’ve taken that work on with the help of over 500 volunteers in the community who’ve done tireless service. And I’m proud. I think our forest preserves and our properties stand up to any in the state. I just want to thank them,” Hoscheit said.
Executive Director Monica Meyers said that Hoscheit’s efforts on behalf of the District are more than deserving of recognition.
“The Forest Preserve District manages more than 20,000 acres of open space for conservation, education and recreation — and John’s a key reason for our success. It’s amazing to think we held just 7,000 acres 15 years ago. We’ve come a long way with the strong support of Kane County residents and John’s leadership. We’re thrilled that both John and the Forest Preserve District are being acknowledged on a statewide level,” Meyers said.
SOURCE: Kane County Forest Preserve District press release