Arlington earns finalist recognition for the industry's most prestigious honor for the third time in four years.
The Arlington Parks and Recreation department (APRD) has been named a finalist for the 2017 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, announced by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), on Wednesday.
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation and one class for state park systems awarded on odd numbered years.
"I'm incredibly proud of the hard-working Arlington Parks and Recreation staff, leadership and the numerous volunteer groups that help us provide these outstanding services and amenities for our residents," said Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams. "Being a finalist for the 2017 National Gold Medal Awards is another dream come true for Arlington and confirms what we already knew, that our parks system is one of the best in the country."
Arlington Parks and Recreation is a finalist in the Class II category (population 150,001–400,000). The department was also named a finalist for the prestigious honor in 2014 and 2016. Arlington joins three other finalists in its class for the Grand Plaque Award, which will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2017 NRPA Annual Conference in New Orleans, Sept. 26-28, 2017.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.
"I am proud of the entire parks and recreation staff, park board, numerous advisory and volunteer groups, city management and the City Council for their tremendous support for the provision of parks and recreation services in our city", said Lemuel Randolph, director of parks and recreation. "The almost 400,000 citizens of Arlington directly benefit from the department's mission to provide quality facilities and services that are responsive to a diverse community and sustained with a focus on partnerships, innovation and environmental leadership. This NRPA Gold Medal Finalist designation is a true reflection of the critical alliance between City Council, department staff and our citizens."
A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels. Arlington released its 2017 gold medal application to the public, which can be viewed at gold.naturallyfun.org/.
For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal.