The City of Westerville Parks & Recreation Department was awarded the National Gold Medal at the 2019 National Recreation & Parks Association (NRPA) Congress in Baltimore, Maryland. Westerville is now a five-time Gold Medal winner, and the first city to win the award four times consecutively since 1996.
Westerville was announced as a finalist for the Class IV National Gold Medal in May after an extensive application process involving staff, community members and volunteers. The City previously won the Gold Medal in 1974, 2001, 2007 and 2013. Communities are eligible to apply for the award every five years.
The Gold Medal Award honors communities throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management and agency recognition. Each agency is judged on its ability to address the needs of those it serves through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.
Westerville competed against three other finalists in its category: Coppell Parks and Recreation in Coppell, Texas; Glenview Park District in Glenview, Illinois; and Lombard Park District in Lombard, Illinois.
“This is like winning the Superbowl in the Parks & Recreation world,” said Westerville Parks & Recreation Director Randy Auler. “This is a legacy we work hard to protect for our residents and park visitors, and we are thrilled to bring the Gold back to Westerville.”
Auler said the award is especially meaningful because it recognizes achievement on behalf of the residents and workforce who support the community parks system.
“The funding that supports the parks system’s master plan was approved six years early so that we could keep our momentum with new projects and the expansion of the Westerville Community Center,” said Auler. “It has been a partnership to keep Westerville ‘a city within a park,’ and this fully represents the commitment of the staff, the residents and all those who make Westerville a national leader in parks and recreation.”
See why Westerville is a Gold Medal community.
What is the Gold Medal?
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. Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.
To learn more about the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/awards.
From www.nrpa.org: National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) is the leading advocacy organization dedicated to the advancement of public parks, recreation and conservation. Our work draws national focus to the far-reaching impact of successes generated at the local level. Leveraging their role in conservation, health and wellness, and social equity to improve their communities NRPA’s members of park and recreation professionals and citizen advocates are more than 40,000 strong and represent public spaces in urban communities, rural settings and everything in between.