Gordon Goodman Recognized as Outstanding Citizen Volunteer

Mon November 4, 2019

For over 25 years, Dr. Gordon L. Goodman has worked to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of Downers Grove through his partnership with the Downers Grove Park District. His knowledge, expertise and advocacy has helped to secure significant land acquisitions, ensured long-term preservation efforts, and evolved educational opportunities at Lyman Woods Nature Preserve and the Downers Grove Museum. It is for this dedication and support that Dr. Goodman has been named a 2019 Outstanding Citizen Volunteer of the Year by the Illinois Association of Park Districts (IAPD).

Presented to Gordon Goodman at the IAPD’s Best of the Best Awards Gala on Friday, Nov. 1, at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Wheeling, Illinois, this award recognizes citizens' volunteer efforts to enhance a park district, forest preserve, conservation, recreation or special recreation agency program, service, parkland, open space or facility. The Downers Grove Park District nominated Dr. Goodman for his long-term, outstanding contributions in securing and safeguarding the Lyman Woods Nature Preserve and the 1846 Blodgett House at the Downers Grove Museum.

Bill McAdam, Executive Director for the Downers Grove Park District, is thrilled that the IAPD selected Dr. Goodman as an Outstanding Citizen Volunteer.

“Gordon’s dedication, support and foresight in preserving natural areas and historic landmarks has provided our community with significant treasures to appreciate and enjoy for generations to come,” said McAdam.

Dr. Goodman is a founding member of the Pierce Downer’s Heritage Alliance (PDHA), which formed in 1995 to protect the ecosystem surrounding Lyman Woods. Through determined efforts over the years, he helped to acquire an additional 50 acres at Lyman Woods, which is cooperatively owned by the Village of Downers Grove, the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, the Downers Grove Park District.

Dr. Goodman has remained heavily involved with the partnership between the PDHA and the Park District. For 16 years, the PDHA has provided an annual donation to the Lyman Woods Little Sprouts Program, an environmental education program for all District 58 first grade students. In 2013, Dr. Goodman encouraged the PDHA to provide financial support to install five beehives at Lyman Woods. The beekeeping program was developed to provide historical relevance to Lyman Woods and offer intergenerational environmental education opportunities. Today, the apiary is home to 15 beehives with beekeeping classes serving as a core program area.

Dr. Goodman’s impact is not limited to natural area preservation. He also has a passion for historic preservation. In 2007, Dr. Goodman helped to establish the Downers Grove Heritage Preservation Corporation, a non-profit with the mission to save and restore the historic 1846 Blodgett House. This property has architectural significance as one of the oldest homes in the community and has great cultural significance as an active stopover point on the Underground Railroad.

In 2007, the Corporation developed the “1846 Blodgett House on the Move” fundraising campaign to garner community support for the project. That year, the Corporation acquired the house on behalf of the Park District and moved it to the Downers Grove Museum Campus where it could be restored for educational purposes. After extensive fundraising and volunteer work spearheaded by the Heritage Preservation Corporation, an exterior restoration of the 1846 House was completed in 2010 and interior restoration plans were completed in 2015.

In 2018, with the help of Dr. Goodman, the District was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Timken Foundation and a $135,000 Public Museum Fund Grant from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This recent funding has revitalized the project and provided the much-needed funding to complete interior renovations in order to provide public access to the home. Dr. Goodman has provided guidance and direction throughout the entire project to see the restoration come to fruition. The interior renovation of the 1846 Blodgett House will be completed in 2019 and the home will open its doors to the community for the first time in 10 years.

“Dr. Goodman’s dedication to natural area and historic preservation in the Downers Grove community is so deserving of this honor. We congratulate Dr. Goodman and thank him for his service,” said Downers Grove Park District Board President, Cathy Mahoney.