By Raymond Mo
Carmel Clay Parks & Recreation was recently announced as one of four finalists for the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management, which recognizes distinguished park and recreation programs throughout the United States.
Competing in the Class III category, CCPR was chosen amongst cities with populations between 75,001 and 150,000. Following a 6-year mandatory sit-out period after winning the same award in 2014, CCPR’s nomination marks the second time that it has been selected as a finalist.
“To be named a finalist takes the creativity, innovation, hard work and dedication of a tremendous team. What makes me most proud is that CCPR has a culture that does not settle for the status quo,” CCPR Director Michael Klitzing stated in a press release. “We recognize that we can and should continually innovate and improve.”
During the application process, CCPR showcased its continuous efforts toward a culture of sustainability.
“When we look at sustainability, we look at environmental sustainability as well as financial sustainability,” Klitzing said. “The majority of our revenue comes from user fees as opposed to tax dollars. That has allowed us to be able to provide high-quality services and leverage the tax dollars to ensure environmental sustainability, such as going after invasive species, enhancing the wildlife within our parks and refocusing our volunteer efforts on park stewardship efforts.”
Klitzing said all levels of the community and organization were instrumental in CCPR’s success.
“Without our front-line employees that are greeting our visitors every day at the Monon Community or providing the services in our before- and after-school programs, we wouldn’t have the support that we do,” Klitzing said.
Winners will be announced in October during a virtual nationwide conference. For more, visit nrpa.org/our-work/awards/goldmedal.