Parks district is finalist for top national honor
For the second consecutive year, the Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District is a finalist for the National Gold Medal Award.
Awarded for excellence in park and recreation management, the award is presented annually by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration, in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association.
The district is one of four Class II finalists of agencies serving 150,000 to 400,000 residents, nationwide.
"Our mission is to bring high-quality programs, services and facilities to our diverse community every day," Doug Menke, THPRD general manager, said. "Being named a Gold Medal finalist for the second straight year is one more measurement of success, and we are honored to be recognized in this way."
In the last 12 months, THPRD's accomplishments include bringing Davis Cup tennis to Beaverton, earning a $3.7 million grant to fund a new trail segment, saving taxpayers $31 million through bond measure refinancing, and concluding an unprecedented $1.5 million fundraising campaign to support a new park that will offer amenities for people experiencing disability.
Joining THPRD as Class II finalists: Arlington, Tex. Parks and Recreation, City of Grand Prairie, Tex. and Metro Parks Tacoma, Wash.
Finalists must submit a short video supporting their nomination by June 5. A panel of five park and recreation professionals review the video and all previously submitted materials. The winner will be announced at NRPA's 2017 annual conference in New Orleans, La., Sept. 26 to 28. The Gold Medal program honors communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applicants are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials.
Only seven agencies nationwide will receive the Gold Medal — five based on population, one for armed forces recreation and the other for state park systems.
THPRD submitted its Gold Medal application in March, providing quantitative data about district resources — miles of trails, park acreage, sports fields, etc. — and answering nine essay questions about accomplishments in key areas, including innovation, health and wellness, conservation and social equity.
"We're ecstatic to again be among the finalists," said Deb Schoen, THPRD's superintendent of Community Programs, who led the nomination process. "The support and recognition from our industry peers is meaningful, but preparing the nomination is its own reward, because it's a reminder of just how many great programs and services we are able to provide for our community."