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Charlotte, NC - The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA), in
partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), has selected Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department as a finalist for the 2012 National Gold Medal Award for Excellence and Park and Recreation Management. This is the third year in a row the department has been named a finalist for the award.

Founded in 1965, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence
in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental
stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applications are
separated into five classes based on population. This year, the Gold Medal Award is expanding to include a new category for armed forces recreation communities. This category will recognize the contributions of military
recreation providers and the work they do among service members, their families, retirees, reservists, civilian
employees and local communities.

"I'm very proud of the work and professional dedication of our staff and volunteers to earn this recognition," said Jim Garges, Director of Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department.

Agencies are judged on their ability to address the needs of those they serve through the collective energies of citizens, staff and elected officials. Four finalists in each class are chosen to compete for grand honors each

Park and Recreation will compete in the Class I category (population 250,000 and over) against: 

  • City of Henderson (NV) Parks and Recreation Department
  • Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Riverdale, MD
  • Plano (TX) Parks and Recreation

Winners will be announced live during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Anaheim, CA., Oct. 16-18, 2012.

The American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration is a non-profit 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

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 20,000 recreation and park professionals and citizens, NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy
lifestyles, recreation initiatives, and conservation of natural and cultural resources. For more information, visit For digital access to NRPA’s flagship publication, Parks & Recreation, visit