Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2018 Annual Awards of Excellence winners and a number of local agencies have been recognized.
Locally, the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department won a 2nd place award in the Capital Improvement Projects - $1 Million to $2.5 Million categories for the Whitehall Community Park Revitalization Plan.
This ambitious project flipped a neglected 65-acre park into a true urban oasis. The plan included a grand new entrance, park roadway, and parking lot which opened access to a previously underused portion of the park. New play features were added, including the city’s first unitary surface, inclusive playground. 7 acres of vacant ball diamonds were re-meadowed with native wildflowers creating an urban pollinator habitat. Additionally, a paved multi-use trail, two open-air picnic shelters, and sledding hill were built.
“The city’s reinvestment in Whitehall Community Park embodies the progress we are seeing in the entire city,” said Parks and Recreation Director Shannon Sorrell. “The park’s transformation has been incredible and the citizen response has been overwhelmingly positive.”
The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on February 5, 2019, at the Kalahari Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. One first place award winner will be presented with the 2018 Governor’s Award for Parks and Recreation, a “best-in-show” award which includes a $500 contribution to the parks and recreation foundation of the agency winner.
“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”
The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio.
Incorporated in 1963, OPRA is a non-profit, public interest organization representing over 1400 professionals and citizen board members striving to provide quality parks and recreation facilities and opportunities for all Ohioans while protecting and preserving Ohio's natural resources, positively impacting local economies and health and wellness of its citizens.