Peoria Park District

1125 W. Lake Avenue
Peoria, IL 61614

309-682-1200

A Brief History

The Pleasure Driveway and Park District of Peoria, organized in 1894, was the first park system formed in Illinois. Seventy years later in 1963, the City of Peoria Playground and Recreation Department merged with the Park District, thus expanding the potential program and facility responsibilities of the Park District.

Today the Peoria Park District’s boundaries encompass approximately 60 square miles in Peoria County. Our park and open space holdings total more than 9,000 acres in the City of Peoria, West Peoria, Peoria Heights and outlying townships.Much of the land was acquired through matching grants from the federal Land-Water-Conservation Fund, the Illinois Open Space Lands Acquisition and Development program and many generous gifts and donations. The Peoria Park District ranks first in the state and is one of the top public park systems in the nation based on its ratio of open-space holdings to population.

Besides being one of the oldest and largest park districts in the state, the Peoria Park District has also been recognized as an outstanding example of what parks and recreation is all about. In 2010, the Peoria Park District received the National Recreation and Park Association’s Gold Medal Award. We are also one of first Illinois park districts to be accredited as a Distinguished Park District.

Our mission remains clear: To enrich life in our community through stewardship of the environment and through provision of quality recreation and leisure opportunities.

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