Two James City County Parks and Recreation programs received the highest honors from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society, presented during its 60th Annual Conference held last month. The renovations to Mid County Park and Kidsburg and the public outreach efforts of RECn’ It Out took top honors in their respective categories in the population category of 50,000 to 100,000.
Mid County Park was selected as Best New Facility – Parks, Playgrounds, Blueways, Greenways and Trails. To comply with the approved Master Plan for Mid County Park, Phase I renovations were completed in August 2013 and included demolition of the aging park office and wooden playground structure. New construction included a new park office with meeting space and restrooms, a renovated 30,000 square foot fully accessible Kidsburg playground, open space, a rain garden, storm water improvements and improvements to parking area and picnic shelters. These enhancements resulted in a 124 percent increase in park revenue and a 120 percent rise in attendance over the previous year.
By breaking down financial, transportation and cultural barriers, the Society paid tribute to the REC’n It Out! Neighborhood Outreach Program, voted Best New Program. In response to a County community needs assessment, this unique, collaborative-based, community-wide outreach program was created to serve citizens living in low-income James City County neighborhoods. The two primary goals of the program were to take recreational, health and wellness, self-esteem building and cultural enrichment programs into the neighborhoods, and secondly, to bring program participants out of their neighborhoods and introduce them to our local community by transporting them on fieldtrips to our existing parks and recreation programs and facilities and other community venues. To off-set the cost of this neighborhood outreach program, ten program partners supported this intuitive by covering offering 81 percent of all expenses through grants, partnerships and donations.
The prestigious Virginia Recreation and Park Society program honors individuals, agencies and organizations throughout the state who have demonstrated excellence in any of several areas. Over ninety applications were received vying for awards in 13 different categories. The mission of the Society is to unite all professionals, students, and interested lay persons engaged in the field of recreation, parks, and other leisure services in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The conference is education focused and provides an opportunity for recreation and park professionals to discuss areas of common interest as well as receive continuing education units. For more information on the Society contact the state office at 804-730-9447 or visit them on the web at vrps.com.
To learn more about the efforts and initiatives of James City County Parks and Recreation, please check out the department’s Annual Report – FY14, accessible at jamescitycountyva.gov/recreation or call 757-259-5415.
Media Contact: Veda McMullen, Senior Communications Specialist