Park District awarded national gold medal of excellence, public celebration Oct. 23
Online Staff Report
The Rockford Park District has accepted the 2012 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).
Rockford Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke, Rockford Park District Board of Commissioners President Jack Armstrong and Park Board commissioners Doug Brooks and Tyler Smith accepted the Gold Medal Grand Plaque Oct. 17 during the opening general session of the NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Anaheim, Calif.
“This is a major accomplishment, not just for the Rockford Park District, but for the entire community,” said Park District Executive Director Tim Dimke. “The Rockford Park District is now known as the best park district in the nation. Our citizens deserve the best, and it is one of our highest priorities that residents have exceptional parks and recreation facilities, services and programs at a reasonable cost.
“This achievement is a testament to the great leadership by the park board, commitment of the district’s team members, valuable partners, and involved citizens that believe in the impact that parks and recreation has in their lives,” Dimke added. “I am thrilled to bring back the gold medal and thank the community for their support of the Rockford Park District.”
The Gold Medal Award honors park and recreation agencies throughout the United States that demonstrate excellence in long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development 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.
A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviews and judges all application materials, and judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both local and national levels.
It has been 23 years since the Rockford Park District brought home the National Gold Medal Award from the NRPA. The Rockford Park District last achieved this honor in 1989, and was selected as a finalist in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988 and 2011. The district was awarded a second National Gold Medal for Special Recreation in 1995.
In May, the NRPA notified the Rockford Park District of the distinction of being chosen as one of four national finalists for the 2012 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for the population category of 100,000 to 250,000. The other finalists for the Class II population category were City of Round Rock Parks and Recreation Department, Texas; Conejo Recreation and Park District, California; and South Suburban Park and Recreation District, Colorado.
Being a finalist meant the Rockford Park District was required to submit a video entry. The Rockford Park District worked with local videographer Pablo Korona to create a video that featured various recreation programs, partnerships and people. In July, the 12-minute DVD highlighting the resources and accomplishments of the Rockford Park District was submitted. The Rockford Park District’s Gold Medal video entry can be viewed on the district’s website, www.rockfordparkdistrict.org.
Board President Jack Armstrong remarked: “It was an exciting moment to hear our name called. Winning the NRPA’s National Gold Medal Award just means more opportunities to showcase the many wonderful programs, facilities and people within the Rockford Park District. The award means other agencies look to us as a leader, knowing that we have excellent park and recreation programs and premier facilities.”
A community-wide celebration will take place at 5 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 23, in the lobby of the Webbs Norman Center, 401 S. Main St., Rockford.
Posted Oct. 18, 2012
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