Local parks group an expert in its field

October 28, 2013 by  

This month, the Parks & Recreation Department of the City of Westerville won the National Gold Medal, awarded in Houston, Texas, at the 2013 National Recreation & Parks Association (NFPA) Congress.

This is the fourth time Westerville has won the medal, which means it is the first community to win the honor three times in succession since 1996. Westerville won in 1974, then again in 2001 and 2007.

The Gold Medal is awarded to communities across the nation that exhibit excellence in resource management, agency recognition, and long-range planning. Each nominated department or agency is judged on how well it meets the needs of the people it serves through the work of staff, elected officials, and citizens.

Director of Parks and Recreation Randy Auler was in Houston, along with some of his staff members. Also present were Westerville’s mayor Kathy Cocuzzi, and Larry Jenkins, who is Vice Chair of Westerville’s City Council. Auler said the group was honored to have won the award, noting his staff worked hard to achieve it. He also acknowledged that community support was vital to the win, and pledged to continue the department’s commitment to providing excellent service to Westerville residents.

Westerville’s parks provide well-maintained, clean, safe spaces for people to enjoy many different activities, including hiking, sports, or bird watching. The facilities comprise almost 600 acres of parks and nearly 30 miles of bicycle trails.

Since the department is committed to the citizens, officials could work with brochure printers to create a mailer describing the park system and the amenities it offers, as well as the fact it has been recognized again.