Congratulations to the town of Cary for winning top honors for its parks, recreation and cultural arts programs.
The town took home the National Gold Medal Grand Plaque Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management for a municipality sized 150,000 to 400,000 (say that three times fast). The award came at the National Recreation and park Association's annual conference this month.
Other finalists for the award were Arlington, Texas; Grand Prairie, Texas; and Beaverton, Ore.
"This is the highest honor a community can receive in this field. It speaks volumes to our innovative approach to delivering superb park and recreation services with fiscally sound business practices,” said Town Manager Sean Stegall in a press release. ”I want to thank everyone in the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Department as well as congratulate the staff in other departments that make these programs what they are. This truly is a town-wide effort.”
I've long been a fan of Cary's parks, which were among the first in the region to lay down the poured-in-place safety surfacing and to incorporate more innovative playground equipment, including Kids Together, a ground-breaking playground designed for kids of all abilities. Recently, they've also sought to create shadier playgrounds by installing sunshades at some locations.
Of course, the department doesn't just do playgrounds. The town also has 82 miles of greenways and a network of more than 2,600 acres of parks and open space; four sports facilities; three community centers; three cultural arts centers; two performance venues; a nature center and a senior center.
Congratulations, town of Cary!