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Established in 1965, the Gold Medal Award honors U.S. communities that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Applicants are separated into five classes based on population.

"I'm very proud of the work and professional dedication of our staff and volunteers to earn this recognition," said Jim Garges, director of the 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 year.

As part of the application process, finalists are asked to submit a 12-minute video showcasing their respective departments. View the video submitted by Park and Rec.

Park and Recreation was selected the winner in the Class I category (population 250,000 and over) competing against:
  • City of Henderson (NV) Parks and Recreation Department
  • Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Riverdale, MD
  • Plano (TX) Parks and Recreation
Learn more about the award here.