The Fox Valley Park District’s first female executive director, Nancy McCaul, will retire at the end of 2015, ending nearly three decades in the park and recreation industry.
McCaul has served in the position since 2010, having worked as Fox Valley’s director of finance and administration for five years prior. Her park district career began in 1988 at the Homewood-Flossmoor Park District as the business manager, and she also served as director of finance and administration at the Naperville Park District and Bartlett Park District.
“This was a difficult decision because the Fox Valley Park District has been such a warm and welcoming place to work,” said McCaul. “I have enjoyed working with the board members, staff and others who have served as mentors to me during my career. I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and exploring new hobbies.”
As executive director, McCaul negotiated an intergovernmental agreement with the village of Montgomery for the development of the 135-acre southern section of Stuart Sports Complex, which is hosting a grand opening on June 17.
Other district accomplishments during her tenure include grant awards totaling nearly $5 million, completion of the $3.2 million renovation at Blackberry Farm, completion of the Gilman Trail Bridge over Galena Avenue, construction of the new Copley Boxing and Training Center, renovation of Red Oak Nature Center and construction of Lippold Park.
“Nancy has been a strong advocate for public agencies collaborating and working together, because ultimately, that is in the best interests of their residents,” said Fox Valley Park District Board President Bob Vaughan. “She always looked at the big picture in terms of teamwork, which has been to the benefit of Aurora, North Aurora and Montgomery.”
Fox Valley was recently named a finalist for the prestigious National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal Award in its first year of eligibility since winning the honor in 2009.
Earlier this year, Fox Valley received the Illinois Association of Park Districts and Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Distinguished Accredited Agency Award which evaluates agencies on best management practices. Fox Valley also became a Park District Risk Management Agency accredited agency for its Loss Control Program.
Resident satisfaction has continually ranked high during McCaul’s tenure. In 2013, the District completed a Comprehensive Community Needs Assessment Survey in which residents responded with a 94 percent approval rating for the quality of district programs and the condition of the district’s parks. Also, participation in outdoor nature programs was increased, and use of the district’s scholarship program has expanded each year.
McCaul also was instrumental in Fox Valley receiving the Government Finance Officers Association Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the first time, and she helped improve the district’s bond rating with Standard & Poor’s and refinanced bonds saving the taxpayers over $2.1 million in interest expense.
“Nancy has done a remarkable job leading Fox Valley through the fiscal challenges of the recession and declining property values while successfully implementing the 2008 referendum projects and holding property taxes flat for four years in a row,” Board Treasurer Rachel Ossyra said. “She has set the standard for fiscal responsibility in public service while improving customer satisfaction for our residents.”
McCaul, a certified park and recreation professional, received the Illinois Park and Recreation Association’s Administration and Finance Section’s Distinguished Service Award in 2011 and the 2012 Professional of the Year Award, and the 2014 IPRA Chairman’s Award.
Locally, McCaul is a member of the Aurora Noon Rotary Club and serves on the Board for Communities in Schools as well as The First Tee of Aurora and Fox River Valley.
“I am proud to have had the opportunity to lead the second largest park district in the state of Illinois,” McCaul concluded. “Our dedicated employees are committed to providing the highest quality of park and recreation services to our residents. During the past four years we have held the tax levy flat and continued to meet and exceed the expectations of our guests.
“The staff continues to implement innovative ideas for cost containment and non-tax revenue enhancement to maintain our fiscal integrity. It is a pleasure serving the residents of Aurora, North Aurora and Montgomery.”
About the Fox Valley Park District
The Fox Valley Park District serves a diverse population of more than 233,000 people. Recognized as an Illinois Distinguished Agency, Fox Valley holds the nation’s highest honor as a two-time Gold Medal Award winner for excellence in park and recreation management. Serving the communities of Aurora, Montgomery and North Aurora, the district maintains 165 parks and 48 miles of interconnected regional trails amid 2,500 acres of parkland.
SOURCE: Fox Valley Park District press release