A commitment to the highest level of service in parks and recreation has paid off for the Arlington Parks and Recreation department. They have been awarded the 2018 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), awarded this honor to Arlington during the Opening General Session at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff and elected officials.
"What an achievement for the parks and recreation staff, park board, numerous advisory and volunteer groups, and City as a whole," Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams said. "Our parks system is often the gateway into Arlington for many residents and visitors alike, and I'm thrilled to see our parks department receive this well-deserved recognition for the outstanding work they do on a daily basis."
Arlington Parks and Recreation won the Grand Plaque in the Class II category (population 150,001–400,000). The department was also named a finalist for the prestigious honor in 2014, 2016 and 2017.
The other three finalists in Class II were Arlington County Department of Parks and Recreation (Arlington, Va.), Tampa Parks and Recreation Department (Tampa, Fla.) and Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District (Beaverton, Ore).
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 2018 gold medal application to the public, which can be viewed at gold.naturallyfun.org/.
"This award is significant in terms of the recognition it provides the agency on an International scale, but more importantly, it highlights the collective will of our residents, City Council and city staff in providing the highest quality of life for our citizens," said Director of Parks and Recreation Lemuel Randolph.
For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/goldmedal.