Gold Medal 2017

JCPRD Wins Prestigious National Gold Medal Award

Posted: September 26, 2017

It’s official: the Johnson County Park and Recreation District is one of the top park and recreation agencies in the nation!

JCPRD Winner NRPA 2017 National Gold Medal Award

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This was confirmed on September 26 when the agency was selected for the National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for agencies serving a population over 400,000. The honor was announced during the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Annual Conference in New Orleans.

“We’re absolutely thrilled about this terrific accomplishment,” said JCPRD Executive Director Jill Geller. “This award is not about a single park or a single program. It’s about teamwork, collaboration, and an outstanding commitment to public service. It’s clear that - collectively, as an organization - we can do anything! It truly took all of us working together for JCPRD to achieve this monumental goal. What a proud and historic day for our agency!”

“Today is a very proud day for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District and our community,” added JCPRD Deputy Director Jeff Stewart. “We’re very proud of all of our staff, volunteers, board, board of county commissioners, and patrons. We hope that they all can celebrate being recognized as the best in the country.”

About the Award

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Award honors communities in the U.S. which 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, and one class for state park systems awarded on odd-numbered years.

The National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management are presented by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the NRPA. The award’s Class I, which is for agencies serving a population over 400,000, is the largest of the five population-based categories. JCPRD was previously a finalist in 1991, 1993, 1994, and 2016. The agency won the Gold Medal Award in 1995.

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. Other 2017 finalists for Class I were: BREC, Baton Rouge, La., Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, Minneapolis, Minn., and Palm Beach County Parks and Recreation Department, Lake Worth, Fla.

A panel of five park and recreation professionals reviewed and judged the application materials, including five-minute videos from each of the finalist organizations. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.

Economic Impact

JCPRD offers more than 4,000 programs and activities each year, and it manages over 9,900 acres of parkland, more than 90 miles of trails, and multiple recreational facilities. A recent study by The Trust for Public Land, found that JCPRD parks, trails, and programs are key economic drivers which contribute more than $97 million annually in economic benefits to the community. Last year alone there were over 2.7 million participations in the programs presented by JCPRD, and nearly 8 million visitations to the district’s parks.

Additional Information

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit NRPA's gold medal webpage or AAPRA's website.