Evanston Named National Parks & Rec Gold Medal Finalist
The City of Evanston's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department has been named a finalist for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for the second consecutive year. The honor was announced by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
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.
The City of Evanston’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department joins three other finalists in the Class III category for cities with populations of 75,001 to 150,000 that will compete for grand honors this year. Other finalists include Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department (Bloomington, IN), Greeley Culture, Parks and Recreation (Greeley, CO), and Lawrence Parks and Recreation (Lawrence, KS).
“From summer camps to summer jobs, preschool programs to senior services, Evanston's Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department strives to meet the needs of our entire community,” said Mayor Stephen Hagerty. “Being named a national Gold Medal finalist two years running is a testament to the department’s continued commitment to excellence, innovation and community service. Congratulations to the entire department on this outstanding recognition."
Highlighted in Evanston’s award application were the department’s efforts to positively impact all members of the community through services, events and programming, including Mayor Hagerty’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP), long-term care ombudsman services, summer camp reading program in collaboration with the Evanston Public Library, and others. Also included were new department initiatives, such as the “Let’s Play” mobile engagement trailer, which brings recreation opportunities to neighborhood events, and installation of the Ecology Center’s apiary and pollinator garden, which facilitates educational programming. The City also noted its wide variety of cultural events, such as the World Arts & Music Festival, as well as its diverse, skilled staff, which includes Olympian figure skating coaches, a member of the Screen Actors Guild, certified Kingian non-violence trainers, and many others.
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.
The 2018 finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer. Winners will be announced live during the NRPA General Session at the 2018 NRPA Annual Conference in Indianapolis, September 25-27, 2018.