Ashburn, Va., May 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2020 National Gold Medal Awards for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. Musco Lighting, LLC is proud to continue sponsoring the Gold Medal Awards program as it has for more than 20 years.

Founded in 1965, the 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. The 2020 applications are separated into six classes, with five classes based on population and one class for armed forces.

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. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each year.

The 2020 Gold Medal finalists are as follows:

Class I (population 400,001 and over)

  • Dallas Park and Recreation — Dallas, Texas
  • East Baton Rouge Recreation and Park Commission — Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Metroparks Toledo — Toledo, Ohio
  • Mesa Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities — Mesa, Arizona

Class II (population 150,001 to 400,000)

  • Greensboro Parks and Recreation — Greensboro, North Carolina
  • City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department — Tampa, Florida
  • City of Henderson Parks and Recreation — Henderson, Nevada
  • Des Moines Parks and Recreation Department — Des Moines, Iowa

Class III (population 75,001 to 150,000)

  • Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation — Carmel, Indiana
  • City of New Braunfels Parks and Recreation Department — New Braunfels, Texas
  • City of Thornton Community Services — Thornton, Colorado
  • Arlington Heights Park District — Arlington Heights, Illinois

Class IV (population 30,001 to 75,000)

  • Decatur Park District — Decatur, Illinois
  • Coppell Parks and Recreation — Coppell, Texas
  • Centerville-Washington Park District — Centerville, Ohio
  • Evanston Parks, Recreation and Community Services — Evanston, Illinois

Class V (population less than 30,000)    

  • Green River Parks and Recreation Green River, Wyoming
  • East Goshen Township Parks and Recreation West Chester, Pennsylvania
  • Vernon Hills Park District Vernon Hills, Illinois
  • Valley City Parks and Recreation Valley City, North Dakota

Armed Forces Recreation

  • U.S. Army Garrison Fort Riley — Fort Riley, Kansas
  • U.S. Army Garrison RP Kaiserslautern — Kaiserslautern, Germany
  • U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria — Grafenwoehr, Germany
  • U.S. Army Garrison Fort Knox — Fort Knox, Kentucky

“Congratulations to the 2020 Finalists in the National Gold Medal Award Program! AAPRA is proud to administer this national award program which recognizes excellence in park and recreation management,” says Jane Adams, AAPRA executive director. “We thank all the agencies who applied this year, particularly in light of the management demands during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Applying during this challenging time speaks to the importance of this award program to the park and recreation profession and professionals.”

A panel of five 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 Grand Plaque Award honors this summer, and the six Grand Plaque recipients will be announced during the 2020 NRPA Conference, which will be held virtually in October. The presentation of both the Finalist and Grand Plaque recipients is being finalized and details will be forthcoming on the virtual conference website.

For more information on the Gold Medal Awards, visit www.nrpa.org/GoldMedal or www.aapra.org.

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The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a nonprofit organization founded to advance knowledge related to the administration of recreation and parks; to encourage scholarly efforts by both practitioners and educators that would enhance the practice of park and recreation administration; to promote broader public understanding of the importance of parks and recreation to the public good; and, to conduct research, publish scholarly papers and sponsor seminars related to the advancement of park and recreation administration. For more information, visit www.aapra.org.


The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring that all people have access to parks and recreation for health, conservation and social equity. Through its network of 60,000 recreation and park professionals and advocates, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org. For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit www.parksandrecreation.org.

Musco Lighting, LLC is a company that has specialized in lighting systems for sports and large areas for more than 30 years. Musco has pioneered dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and affordable ways to control wasted spill light and glare. Permanent and temporary lighting services range from neighborhood fields to NASCAR super speedways. For more information, visit www.musco.com.

Suzanne Nathan
National Recreation and Park Association
703-858-4748
snathan@nrpa.org