Johnson County park district named finalist in national competition
The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association, today announced that the Johnson County Park & Recreation District (JCPRD) is a finalist for the 2016 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management.
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.
JCPRD, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2015, is a finalist in Class I, the largest of the five population-based categories. The district was previously a finalist in 1991, 1993 and 1994, and won the Gold Medal Award in 1995.
The district offers more than 4,000 programs and activities each year, and it manages over 9,700 acres of parkland, 90+ miles of trail, and multiple recreational facilities, including the following facilities in Shawnee: Shawnee Mission Park, the Mid-America Sports Complex, the Mill Creek Activity Center, the Mill Creek Streamway Park/Gary Haller Trail and Tomahawk Golf Course.
In a recent study by The Trust for Public Land, JCPRD parks, trails and programs were identified as key economic drivers that contribute over $97 million annually in economic benefits to the community. Last year alone there were 2.5 million participations in the programs presented by JCPRD, and 7 million visitations to the district’s parks.
"Our board and staff are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Johnson County by providing high-quality parks, services, and recreation programs, and for our efforts and accomplishments to be acknowledged nationally in such a prestigious way is very gratifying,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller in a news release.
For the Gold Medal Awards, agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. The other finalists in Class I are Cleveland Metroparks, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, and BREC in Baton Rouge, La.
The finalists will compete for Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the Grand Plaque recipient in each of the categories will be announced in October at the 2016 NRPA Annual Conference in St. Louis.