The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce the St. Charles Park District as a finalist for the 2013 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. This honor was presented to Director of Parks & Recreation Holly Cabel and Superintendent of Parks & Planning Laura Rudow on Tuesday, October 8 during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Houston, Texas. This year’s proud sponsor of the Gold Medal Awards program is Musco Lighting LLC.
Upon receiving the finalist award, Cabel remarked, “The Park District is honored to be a Gold Medal finalist for the second consecutive year and to be viewed nationally as a leader in the park and recreation field. Our agency won in 1998 and has been an eight-time finalist over the years.”
Park Board President Karrsten Goettel added, “Being named the best in the nation is truly an honor for the St. Charles community. Receiving this prestigious award is a testament to the St. Charles Park District, in particular its staff, and its mission to enrich the quality of life for its residents through excellence in programs, parks, facilities and services.”
In 36-square miles, St. Charles boasts a winning combination of the arts, theatre, dining, retail, affordable housing, nationally-ranked schools and diverse green spaces. Residents enjoy nearly 33 acres of park land per 1,000 persons. The Fox River, a focal point for boating, biking and festivals, is a major natural asset winding through 181 park acres including two State-designated nature preserves, a 9-hole golf course, boat launches, fishing piers and more.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. In the category of park districts serving populations of 25,001-50,000 residents, the St. Charles Park District competed against three other finalists: the parks and recreation departments of Doral, Texas; Westerville, Ohio; and Winter Park, Florida.
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.
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. Applications are separated into seven classes, with five classes based on population, one class for armed forces recreation communities and the State Park System Class awarded every other year. This year, AAPRA and NRPA will award the prestigious and highly sought State Park System Class Gold Medal award.