The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce Coppell Parks & Recreation as a finalist for the 2021 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC is proud to continue its 20+ years of sponsoring the National Gold Medal Awards program.
Founded in 1965, the National Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the United States 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 six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces.
AAPRA Executive Director Jane H. Adams shared, “Each Finalist is congratulated for this prestigious award. We know local communities, state park systems, and military installations worldwide met the challenge of being responsive to the changing demands of delivering services during the COVID 19 pandemic. Park visitors and program participants have come to rely upon their service provider for physical, mental, and emotional support during this pandemic. The Academy congratulates each Finalist for their management excellence during this unprecedented time.”
Coppell Parks & Recreation is a finalist in the Class IV (population 30,001 – 75,000) category. The department manages and maintains 544 acres of park land, nature preserves, cemetery, and all city grounds. Facilities include the CORE, Wagon Wheel Tennis Center, the Coppell Senior and Community Center at Grapevine Springs, the Biodiversity Education Center, Rolling Oaks Memorial Center, and the Coppell Arts Center.
The department is an integral part of maintaining a small town feel in a large metro area, and staff takes pride creating unique experiences and a special look and feel in the community’s parks and facilities. Community partnerships have resulted in three community gardens, a dog park, a healthy living initiative, and public art in the park.
Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of community members, staff members and elected officials. Coppell Parks & Recreation joins three other finalists in their class that will compete for Grand Plaque which will be awarded in September. This year’s nomination is even more significant due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ways the department has addressed challenges faced throughout the past year.
“We are honored to be named as a Gold Medal Finalist this year," said Jessica Carpenter, Director of Coppell Parks & Recreation. "The continuous support we receive from our elected officials and our community, in collaboration with passionate, creative, and dedicated staff have allowed us to become one of the top Parks and Recreation departments in the country. We would like to thank NRPA and the AAPRA for this incredible recognition.”
A panel of five highly qualified park and recreation professionals will review and judge all application materials. Judges are chosen for their considerable experience and knowledge in parks and recreation on both the local and national levels.
This year’s finalists will compete for the Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and seven Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the 2021 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually and in person September 21-23 in Nashville, Tennessee. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming.
For more information on the National Gold Medal Award Program, visit www.aapra.org.