ASHBURN, Va., May 20, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and The Walt Disney Company, including Disney Citizenship, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN, today announced the winners of the national Parks Build Community campaign. The initiative helps to revitalize and restore local parks and park programs. Throughout Earth Month in April, the public cast their votes to direct grant funding for park improvement projects that provide kids and families with more opportunities to get outdoors, be active and have fun.

Fifteen park projects were selected and each received a $20,000 grant to help make improvements or expand programs. Winning projects include community gardens, nature trail enhancements, basketball court refurbishments and a "living lab" solar-powered outdoor classroom for children. Pennypack Environmental Center in Philadelphia, PA, was the write-in winner and will also receive a $20,000 grant to enhance its communal family space.

"The tremendous support shown by the public through their daily votes during Earth Month confirms what we truly believe: that parks have immense power to make our lives and the places we live better," said Barbara Tulipane, president and CEO of NRPA. "These grants will give parks the funds they need to create thriving gathering places where youth, families and adults can connect with nature and get active. This wouldn't be possible without the support of The Walt Disney Company."

"I am excited and appreciative of our citizen's support of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation during the Parks Build Community Earth Month campaign," said Michael DiBerardinis deputy mayor for environmental and community resources in the city of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation. "Their votes will allow us to improve the quality of not just one but two award winning sites. I am deeply grateful to The Walt Disney Company and NRPA for their support of public parks and recreation facilities within Philadelphia."

The 15 winning parks and projects—as determined by public vote—are:

  • Austin, TX: Battle Bend Park Basketball Court
  • Brevard County, FL: Nature Pavilion at Pine Island Conservation Area
  • Charlotte, NC: Druid Hills Park Community Garden
  • Chicago, IL: Community Roots Demonstration Garden
  • Durham, NC: Holt School Road Park Playground and Trail
  • Fresno, CA: Fresno Life and Environmental Science Program
  • Hartford, CT: Keney Park Basketball Courts
  • Houston, TX: Northshore Nature Walk
  • Los Angeles, CA: Sylmar Recreation Center Splash Pad
  • Miami, FL: Goulds Park Community Garden
  • New York, NY: Mott Hall Bridges Living Laboratory
  • Orlando, FL: Bill Frederick Park Trail Improvements
  • Philadelphia, PA: Glavin Playground
  • San Francisco, CA: Bernal Heights Community Garden
  • Seattle, WA: Rainier Vista Youth Environmental Leadership Institute

Winning projects will begin this summer, and volunteers from Disney, Disney|ABC Television Group and ESPN will lend their time and talent to help each project come to life.

Visit to learn more about Parks Build Community and the winning projects. Follow the progress of each project by connecting with NRPA on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, or search hashtags #ParksBuildCommunity, #BeInspired and #MeetMeAtThePark.

About The National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. Through its network of 50,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA's flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit

Lauren Hoffmann,