Robert L. Johnson, long-time member of The Peoria Park District Board of Trustees, was installed as President At-Large, for a 4-year term, on Wednesday, April 24. He is the first African-American to ever serve in this capacity, after being voted to the post in the April 2 city-wide election. He had served as representative of the Southern District for 23 years.
Mr. Johnson has lived in Peoria, his entire life. A Manual High School graduate, he began his record of public service with neighborhood associations and school advisory groups. He has been married to his wife, Gail, for 42 years. He has worked as a railroad brakeman, printing pressman, hotel auditor, and continues to work part-time in the hotel service industry.
His love and dedication to the Peoria Park District have inspired him to work hard to make the parks and its programming accessible to all. He successfully presented grant requests to Illinois Department of Natural Resources for nearly $1,000,000 in funds to support Mossville Soccer, Logan Park, Proctor Recreation Center, and the baseball fields at Carver/John H. Gwynn Jr, Park. He actively supported facility creations or improvements at the following parks: Northern District: Singing Woods Nature preserve and development of Tawny Oaks Field Station at Singing Woods, Golf Learning Center, Donovan Golf Course, Rock Island Greenway; plus Detweiller, Robinson, Sommer, and Northtrail Parks. Central District: Creation of the Rock Island Greenway and Stadium Park; improvements at Bradley, Glen Oak, Lakeview, Rocky Glen and Riverfront Parks; and the Peoria Zoo. Southern District: Improvements at John H. Gwynn, Logan, Martin L. King, and Trewyn Parks.
In addition, Mr. Johnson has served on the state of Illinois Association of Park District’s Joint Publication Committee and Program Committee.
As he assumes this leadership role on the board, Mr. Johnson pledged during his campaign to work to ensure that the Peoria Park District remains committed to providing high quality, diverse experiences to everyone; and to see that The Park District is fiscally cautious, but will always be open to citizens’ requests for new opportunities in programming and facilities.
Other members sworn in were long-term member Jackie Petty, Joyce Harant, and new member Joe Cassidy as Central District Trustees. The swearing-in ceremony marked the end of service for Tim Cassidy, who served as Park Board President for the past 27 years. He did not seek re-election in 2019. Neither did Central District Trustee Warren Rayford, who served one term.
The Peoria Park District is governed by a volunteer, elected Board of Trustees. Six trustees from three separate voting districts are elected for 4-year terms. The Park Board President is elected at large for a 4-year term. Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.
As a result of Mr. Johnson’s election, a vacancy has been created for the Southern District Trustee position. Peoria Park District is now accepting applications for those interested in serving the remainder of his term. Applicants must reside within the Southern District.
To view the Peoria Park District Voting Districts/Representation Map, you may visit https://peoriaparks.aaimtrack.com/jobs/. Applications must be submitted to the Board Secretary, 1125 W. Lake Avenue, Peoria, IL 61614, no later than Noon on Friday, May 31, 2019.