Cleveland Metroparks "Best in Nation" for Parks & Recreation Management

Photo: Cleveland Metroparks

Cleveland, OH - Cleveland Metroparks, on Tuesday, was awarded the 2021 National Gold Medal “Best in Nation” Award for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. The award, which was announced at the 2021 National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, is the highest national honor in the parks and recreation field.

The Gold Medal Awards program is managed and governed by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration in partnership with NRPA. Founded in 1965, the program honors public park and recreation agencies and state park systems 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.

"We’re thrilled to be recognized among our national peers as the top park system in the country and bring the Gold Medal home to our communities in Northeast Ohio,” said Cleveland Metroparks CEO Brian M. Zimmerman. “I want to thank Judge Anthony J. Russo, our Board of Park Commissioners, all of our dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as our passionate community for the tremendous support it takes to be recognized at the highest level. All of Northeast Ohio should be proud of our Emerald Necklace and what we have accomplished together for the betterment of our region.”

The national recognition follows several recent significant accomplishments by Cleveland Metroparks including a record-breaking 19.7 million recreational visitors in 2020, the addition of over 700 acres and nearly 30 miles of trails across the Emerald Necklace, and the completion of the Re-Connecting Cleveland TIGER trails project that links more than 66,000 Cleveland residents to the region’s vast trail network, lakefront and Cleveland’s urban core. A 2018 Trust for Public Land study revealed that Cleveland Metroparks generates an annual regional economic impact of $873 million by enhancing property values, reducing stormwater runoff, improving local health and wellness, and generating tourism.

This is the fifth Gold Medal Cleveland Metroparks has been awarded in the program’s history and the second awarded under the leadership of Zimmerman. Park systems are only eligible to win the award once every five years.

(Copyright, iHeartMedia, 2021)

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